Is Microsoft Serious About Social Computing?

by Rob Koplowitz.

I’ve already blogged here about how much I enjoy using Office 2007. Today I wanted to blog about wikis and blogs. I opened up Word 2007 since I generally like to create things locally and then push them up to the network when I’m ready.  I opened Word and clicked on “New” and found two choices; “Blank document” and “New blog post”. Well, that’s kind of cool. Microsoft has already integrated Word and blogging. Might even be able to use Office Live for that...

This brings me to a question that I’ve been hearing a lot from clients lately: Is Microsoft serious about wikis, blogs and other emerging aspects of social computing? The answer is a resounding YES. Wikis and blog are tools for creating content and collaborating. These are markets that Microsoft takes very seriously.

If you haven’t had a chance to familiarize yourself with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 yet, take a look at the social computing functionality. SharePoint now has the ability to generate wikis and blogs as template types. While SharePoint’s implementation may not be as elegant and full featured as some of the new pure-plays, it is completely and seamlessly integrated into their flagship collaboration product. (Apologies to the folks in Exchange, but let’s face it, you’re email, SharePoint is collaboration) What does this mean? Well here are just a few examples:

Every blog and wiki can be real-time enabled with presence, IM etc. if you are running Office Communication Server

Wiki and blog templates can be augmented through the addition of web parts

Templates can be customized and extended through the use of SharePoint development tools

Content generated in blog and wiki templates can be managed using policy management tools that are part of SharePoint

While pure-play vendors will be more nimble and faster to deliver new functionality, Microsoft will do what they do best; integrate with the rest of their technology stack and continue to invest. 

STAY TUNED: Research on the topic of social computing in the enterprise is in progress.

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Comments

re: Is Microsoft Serious About Social Computing?

OK, Rob, help me out here. Social computing is inherently Internet-scale. It makes no sense to have blogs, Wikis, and communities that only apply to a particular workgroup or department.Therefore, how does Microsoft fit exactly into this world? Not only are their products, such as SharePoint, not architected to provide enterprise-wide or Internet-wide services, but the underlying technology isn't what's in vogue for the people building these sorts of applications.

re: Is Microsoft Serious About Social Computing?

Ah, I feel like I'm back in the 500 Building! I would argue that while social computing is internet scale, enterprise 2.0 is all about applying the lessons learned to enterprise scale. Is SharePoint enterprise scale? We shall see!