There are interesting community driven enterprise developments around SAP's 'Netweaver' SOA ('service-oriented application') and integration platform, with a sophisticated Twitter - style tool created by a diverse group of international users taking shape.
Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows users to send updates (otherwise known as tweets) which are text-based posts of up to 140 characters in length.
'ESME' ('Enterprise Social Messaging Experiment') is essentially a behind the firewall version of Twitter, designed to run on top of Netweaver. In some ways ESME is more advanced than Twitter since it features user groups and tag clouds, enabling project based contextual messaging. The demo above outlines a use case scenario (and is also actually a pretty good general business use overview for those baffled by the concept of micro blogging). This is a YouTube video - if the above is too small to see screenshots, open in a new youtube window.
Twitter is a free for all once you start building up a body of people you 'follow'. Company usage is growing rapidly: Cisco Systems, Whole Foods Market, Dell, Zappos.com, Comcast and many other large companies use Twitter to both provide updates to customers and to monitor and contribute to conversations about themselves on this platform. There are also various news and other update services available.
However, like a busy bar the conversation can become overwhelming at times, particularly if some of the people you follow are particularly 'noisy'. (Posting their every action on Twitter for example or jamming bandwidth with endless 'broadcasts'...). Formal business usage would in some cases be easier within dedicated channels and this is where ESME is particularly intriguing.
Developed within a publically accessible Confluence wiki space over a short timeframe, ESME was conceived for SAP's 'Demo Jam' by an intriguing internationally distributed community of 24, including people from Siemens IT Solutions and Services, Adobe, SAP insiders and consultants, and fellow ZDNet blogger Dennis Howlett.
Twitter has famously had serious scaling issues which have tested the limits of the Ruby on Rails platform it was constructed on. The core team around ESME were using Plurk while Twitter was down and began bouncing around the idea of an enterprise Twitter on that platform.
Written in Scala on Lift with an Air interface within the space of a few days (and with Lift originator David Pollock and Adobe's Matthias Zeller involved), intriguingly Twitter is now being re architected using the same basic foundations.
As the demo above outlines, the business proposition is for connectivity for collaboration. Another example could be SAP insiders 'following' an influential architect in order to see what he thinks and shares, a common use of Twitter.
Twitter is a tool with multiple uses: ESME is currently unique in the SOA enterprise space, but it is surely only a matter of time before other community driven tools are developed as powerful collaboration components which can be integrated into team workflows for SAP and other platforms.
In the meantime the community around ESME should be congratulated for pushing the envelope. This is a valuable differentiator for the enterprise focused, which is helpful in cutting out some of the Twitter inanity and focusing on powerful business case uses of social networking.