Social networks are growing like weeds. This creates a difficult weeding problem for enterprises, who fear adverse impact from employees spending time and sharing company info in Facebook groups, which aren't protected by corporate firewalls.
WorkLight is addressing both issues with WorkBook, a Facebook application that allows employees to use the social network to communicate securely.
"When you log into Facebook there is a WorkBook application you install, just like FunWall or SuperPoke or other Facebook applications. It appears in your apps list and when you click on it, you go to an area where you are authenticated through your organization's identity services," David Lavenda, vice president and marketing strategy at WorkLight, told me. "It uses the Facebook social graph, and you can have the Facebook profile augmented with company information, but it is only visible in the WorkBook application."
User can search colleagues in the WorkBook Facebook application by name, location, department, project, area of expertise and status, as well as receive activity streams from the Facebook news feed.
General release of WorkBook is expected in February, but the company is testing out the application with three customers. "The companies we have engaged with have flip-lopped on where they stand on Facebook. In the financial services industry they have outlawed use of Facebook and other social networks internally for lack of controls and auditing, but they get a lot of pushback," Lavenda said. "We are working with a global retail bank that has 70,000 employees (and about 10 percent on Facebook) is focused on communication among remote users and surfacing expertise among the group members. An investment bank had tried SharePoint as a collaboration solution, but employees didn't adopt it. Now they are using WorkBook to create interaction among investment bankers and employees, as well as clients and equity fund managers in the future. A high tech company is leverage the ability to tap Facebook users in the company to solve problems more quickly around the world."
WorkBook is included as part of the WorkLight 2.0 software platform, which starts at $10 per user per month. WorkLight also provides secure containers for delivering enterprise data to consumer services such as iGoogle, Netvibes and MyYahoo.
See also: Andy McAfee comments on WorkBook