Why Oracle or EMC will buy a Social Networking White Label Suite

I’ve been carefully watching the Enterprise Web space, both because of my experience with Intranets (four enterprise Intranets, two enterprise extranets now under my belt) and my focus on Social Media.

Today, it was announced that Sales Force (known as a the company to put an enterprise CRM on the web, data included) purchased ContentExchange, a CMS system with social media features. By reading the reviews from Zoli it gives Sales Force access into new types of enterprise information sources

a decisive step towards our vision of managing all information on demand. With Salesforce Content, we not only manage a company’s traditional structured information, but their unstructured information as well.” –CEO Marc Benioff

I remember in the late 90s the push for many enterprise software companies to purchase Portal systems and then CMS systems. I predict this race for the feature war will start again, but this time, for social software features.

Recently, Cisco made a big push to purchase Five Across, a white label social networking site, as well as tribe online communities. To start with, EMC or Oracle could take a list of this White Label Social Networking index, it’s the only complete list to date that I know of.

Done correctly, these enterprise companies will integrate the social sharing aspect of profiles with their unstructured data repositories, content management systems and build something new.

Additional Resources

If you want to learn more about Koral (now called ContentXchange), see this PodTech (where I work) interview of Scoble and Koral’s CEO.

  • Great topic to discuss!!! What would these companies do with a social media company?

    I agree that social media is at the arms race status….But how does a social media product compliment Oracle or EMC’s strategy?

  • Josh

    Oracle and EMC both have a large footprint in existing enterprise systems with “structured” content around processes, sales, expenses, accounting, and customers information.

    There’s a greater degree of knowledge to be collected, organized from employees and employees/customers using social media software.

    For example, processes can be improved as customers and employees work together to communicate and share information.

    Sales teams across geographies can rate useful content up and down with the addition of social software.

    Not all information is equal and useful to each employee, by connecting ‘birds of a feather’ within an enterprise, you can find patterns.

    One analogy is: Current ERP systems are like linear in process. Adding social software as a feature on top will connect those lines will make information multi-dimensional.

    The structured information process can benefit from the organic efficiency of bottom-up unstructured information of social networks and software.

  • Part 2: As my list of Social networking apps shows, there will be many other players in the enterprise web space, some which will be implemented on intranets and extranets.

    If EMC or Oracle also offers that as a feature set, it gives both companies opportunity to extend sales, service and support opportunities.

    It’s about market share and grab.

  • Interesting, but looking at the real players, Microsoft hasn’t really put themselves into the game yet. They have thrown a hand in with some sharepoint stuff, but haven’t really made a social media push as of yet.

    With Cisco making the move, maybe it will spur some other companies to play….but it may make more sense to keep it at a partner status (e.g. MS & Socialtext).

    True there is a lot of potential data in social media; however, the majority of existing products don’t make that data relevant to most enterprises on a long term basis. The accepted nature of blogs, wikis, etc, is that they are somewhat transient. They are not a repository or even authorative in terms of information origination. They may be used to evangelise, collaborate, etc….but they are not generally used as an authoritive source.

    I’ll admit that I haven’t seen your list yet, but until the accepted use changes, I’m not sure I agree that companies will look to these sources for authoritive information, require any kind of retention/management, etc. I do see it being used frequently as a reference & collaboration point for other things that are authoritive, but not the authoritive source itself.

    Not all unstructured information is valuable.

    From the other perspective….basic information storage….there is an easy win there. Store your information on EMC storage or Oracle’s database, etc. But that doesn’t require purchases. That just requires good partnering/alliances. EMC does that today with a lot of the media industry (disney, etc). So extending that to companies like YouTube isn’t a huge leap….and doesn’t require social content management.

    Do you think we’ll see a change in social media’s use?

  • By suggesting that social media software is not “an authoritative source” is suggesting that your employees are not authoritative sources.

    As a former Enterprise intranet manager, there is tons of un-published employee information (called Tacit) that never hits the intranet for peers in other geographies and even the same team to benefit from.

    Correct me if I’m wrong but I thought EMC and Oracle are not just in the ‘data’ business, but actually in the business of harvesting and gleaning useful business information.

    Please note that the MS example is good, however some companies are also building their own, such as Dell’s “Ideastorm”.

    So in summary, I don’t think the question is: “Do you think we’ll see a change in social media’s use?” but the right question should be:

    “Will enterprises harness the collective intelligence from employees and customers using social software and media”

  • Great summary….but who makes the information relevant today? I haven’t come across any major players who make the information relevant and re-usable for companies. Employees blogging is great, but the conversation is the value, the content is a side effect that is not re-usable and reliable for companies today. The social aspect is what everyone is benefiting from right now. That means there are gains to be made in the future, but there is a difference between the value that exists today and the future potential value that hasn’t been focused on yet.

    An example of this is Microsoft’s Exchange Team blog. There is a ton of real content that is valid there. Can Microsoft effectively use this as the source of the information forever? No, they need to have the information re-usable for localization, other formats, etc. The conversion between the blog entry and the re-usable format is manual….but worth it for the company. The same goes for forums, wikis, etc. All of the real content that is discovered in these places is typically transformed into something that can be re-used, localized, etc…..because that is where the value in the content is.

    yes, EMC is in the business of making information useful to companies….that is the trajectory they have been on for some time.

    Looking at the players in the market though, EMC would be better off building a social media app that makes the content useful or waiting for another company to do just that.