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Social business software makers extend IT olive branch

By integrating their applications more closely with legacy software applications, social business software developers help companies preserve existing IT investments.
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Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor on

Plenty of companies are excited about the social collaboration and community feedback promised by social business software, but that doesn't mean they are going to ditch their so-called legacy IT systems to use them.

That's why you have been hearing -- and will continue to hear more -- about relationships and development pacts designed to more closely integrate social enterprise applications with traditional enterprise resource planning systems, content management systems, email and customer relationship management databases.

This week, for example, Moxie Software plans to announce a module that will integrate its chat, email and community knowledgebase modules with the Salesforce.com Service cloud.

The integration will allow customer service agents, for example, to use a single sign-on to enter the Moxie Chat and Email Spaces and Service Cloud information. This will give them access to contacts and case histories across both platforms. The integration between Salesforce.com Service Cloud and Moxie Software Knowledge Spaces -- social communities where employees can interact and share information -- will allow employees to push detailed information between the two applications, allowing employees to pull relevant information that might help customers

"Integration with back-office applications is critical to driving a superior customer experience," said Nikhil Govindaraj, vice president of products at Moxie Software, in a statement about the new features.

A similar integration was announced last week between the Bazaarvoice Social Platform, a customer feedback platform used by many large retailers, and enterprise software from SAP. Again, the focus is on harnessing existing customer intelligence in order to help with support, sales and marketing.

Closer integration between social and legacy applications was also the impetus for Yammer's acquisition of oneDrum in early April.

Yammer provides corporate social networking tools. oneDrum provides file sharing and collaboration capabilities that integrate with Microsoft Office applications. In a nutshell, oneDrum's software allow multiple people to work on Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents.

Yammer CEO David Sack's statement about the acquisition sum's up the motivation for the deal:

"Employees spend a huge amount of time working with files, especially in Microsoft Office. Through oneDrum, Yammer will incorporate all of that content into the enterprise software graph, making it discoverable and collaborative. Our mission is to create a social layer across the enterprise, bringing together people, content and conversations across all business applications."

Developments such as these are proof positive that it will be a long time before all the applications people need to do their job will live in the cloud. They underscore the need for companies to closely examine legacy integration implications if they are thinking about taking their business social. Watch this space.

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This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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