For more info, check out my post, The future of enterprise 2.0 is apps
Let’s take a look at how we can integrate enterprise social software with external services for cross-platform awareness, feature piggybacking, and process integration.
1. Customise the CSS to make your own branded skin (look and feel)
The ultimate example I have come across was a project with Bertrand Duperrin of NextModernity where they used the IBM Websphere portal to serve an alternate version of IBM Connections
"…they used the software services through the API. It was made possible by designing the environment in a Websphere Portal and bringing functionalities in with the API"
" I love that Connections can be deployed as a set of social services and consumed from an interface other than the native one. That has always been the case, but IBM has not made a big deal of that, because most of it’s customers weren’t ready to take that approach. Your client’s deployment is a living definition of a "social platform".
Look no further than Podio
Also see Thingamy
3. Export content as apps on external sites
e.g. The latest blogs posts from your social software suite exported as a widget on the Intranet
4. Import apps from the web
e.g. Google Maps widgets
5. Import apps from an ERP system
e.g. Latest projects added to SAP
6. Further to just a read app, would be a widget acting as a portal where you can write back
e.g. Access and action your time sheet within the widget
7. In parallel to a widget, actions in external sites can also be auto-posted into your stream
e.g. Project ABC was just added to SAP (leave a comment)
e.g. Document ABC was just added to the DMS (leave a comment)
Take Socialtext Connect as an example
Here’s what they say about their integration with Salesforce (checkout the screenshots tab):
"The Salesforce.com Connector enables Socialtext customers to choose actions of virtually any type that happen in Salesforce.com, and automatically inject them as events into Socialtext’s activity stream. There, employees across the company — not just in sales — can discuss, collaborate, and take action on those events to serve customers more efficiently."
e.g. @john can you please fill in today’s hours in your time sheet. Rather than send you the link, just fill in the value in the box provided in this message
"…integrate our workflows and tasks directly into the streams, not just read about them. So when John in accounting asks you to fill out a field for an expenses form, you don’t need to launch another application; the fields can right there in front of you to fill in and submit in a short message."
e.g. Enable a comments section for documents in your DMS
Not only does content from a business application flow into the social software activity stream, but you can actually socialise the business application itself; they refer to this as "pinning"…basically the coming together of systems of engagement and systems of record
"Users do not need yet another destination or application. They need their existing applications to be social-enabled.
Social interactions (discussion, documents, anything) can be “pinned” (linked or associated) to any object within your application. For example, in CRM, discussions can be pinned to an account, a specific opportunity, or even an individual contact. This enables users to spawn social interactions right within the applications they already use.By pinning social interactions to the relevant business objects (for example, account, purchase order, support ticket), relevant information is easily recalled at any time within the context where it is useful, instead of being buried deep inside an individual’s email inbox."
Here’s an example of Qontext providing social features to a CRM product, and of course interactions that happen in the business application can flow back into the Qontext activity feed. And not only that, but you can use Qontext in general via a tab in the business application.
Bill Ives has a review
10. Publish content from external apps like MS Outlook and MS Word
e.g. Put the blogs email address in the To: field and publish a post (also include tags), and also reply to email notifications that will publish a comment
e.g. From the MS word menu upload a document (and add a message at the same time), or even browse the site from MS Word to read and edit the document