Socialtext Connect a Missing Link for Enterprise Apps?

Latest feature to the social media platform aims to surface content from other enterprise apps.

Hoping to expand the enterprise appeal of its social media platform, Socialtext has released a beta of a new feature called Socialtext Connect. Socialtext already brings companies popular social media features like blogs, wikis and real-time chat in an enterprise-friendly layer that addresses compliance and security.

With Connect, the company said it can make corporate information tied to enterprise applications like CRM, ERP and document management more available to Socialtext's social media applications.

"Our social software platform creates a social layer that spans departments, geographies and, now, systems," Socialtext CEO Eugene Lee said in a statement. "With Socialtext Connect, events and streams from enterprise applications can be syndicated and fully leveraged, in real time, across the organization."

The news comes amid growing enterprise interest in social media as companies look to attract a younger workforce and improve collaboration. But the popular consumer services like Facebook and Twitter have had security and privacy issues that have kept many IT departments wary of even approving their use at all, much less promoting it.

Socialtext Connect includes three core components.

Connectors serve a kind of bridge between Socialtext and either an on-premises and cloud-based enterprise application. The company already has pre-built Connectors to SharePoint and Lotus Connections available, and IT developers, system integrators and other developers can use Socialtext's ReST API to build new Connectors.

Connect also offers Signals Annotations, which are designed to supplement the company's Twitter-like microblogging feature, Signals. Socialtext said Annotations can augment Signals' stream of information with enterprise metadata, adding context and relevance. Socialtext also said Signal Annotations comply with the emerging Twitter Annotations standard.

The new Socialtext Connect also features software agents called App Bots. "App Bots listen to the activity on the system and react to things that happen," Socialtext's cofounder and chairman, Ross Mayfield, told For example, Socialtext created an App Bot called Bug Bot that tracks and updates the status of bugs in a software project as the project develops.

"What we're trying to establish is that there should be a social layer in every enterprise architecture rather than a social application silo," Mayfield said. "By spanning across multiple enterprise systems and sharing events that come out of them, there's a bigger incentive for adoption and achieving a deeper business value."

Socialtext, Socialcast and the recently introduced Clearvale are among several social media companies that have designed social network services aimed at enterprise customers.

Google also said it planned to release an enterprise version of its Google Buzz service, which originated as an adjunct to Gmail. But no news on that front has surfaced since Google had to redesign the consumer-oriented Buzz in light of privacy concerns.

David Needle is the West Coast bureau chief at, the news service of, the network for technology professionals.

Tags: blogs, ERP, social media, enterprise apps, enterprise applications

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