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How can social networking and unified communications work together in the enterprise?

Social networking is increasingly seen as a key complement to unified communications. How can these two important technologies work together to provide value to the enterprise?

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Social networking and unified communications (UC) are very complementary, in the sense that they both seek to enhance productivity and collaboration within and between enterprises. Social networking provides a good deal of non-real-time functional capabilities through tools like wikis, blogs, workspaces, social graphs, microblogging and other attributes. Unified communications can add real-time functions to social computing, allowing for more efficient and immediate communications to take place.

For example, say you're searching through a wiki on your company's social computing platform and you have a question about a response provided by one of your colleagues. By adding him to your buddy list, you can get real-time status of his availability. By adding click-to-call capability, you can reach out to him in real time, regardless of what device he is using, and communicate immediately to resolve your question -- and you can do all this without leaving your wiki page or social computing application. The analogy would be communicating from within a application. Generally, embedding UC attributes into social networks speeds up communication, adds additional communication channels and enhances collaboration capabilities.

This was first published in April 2010

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