Social Networking for the Workforce: On the Ground or in the Cloud?
Two dramatic shifts in enterprise technology have emerged with transformative power: business social softwareand cloud computing.Business social software refers to the suite of internet-based, Web 2.0 tools – including social networking, wikisand blogs – that fundamentally change the way we interact and collaborate with employees, customers andpartners. Initially popularized in the consumer marketplace, and embraced by younger generations, this shift hasnow firmly entered the business world helping to closely replicate our natural processes for creating secure andmeaningful connections with people, processes and information.As companies evaluate business social software and the relative merits of adoption, total cost of ownership(TCO) is often top of mind. And, with two-thirds of IT executives planning to undertake structural cost reductionsin the next 12 to 18 months
, it’s the cloud computing value proposition that will help move the enterprise intothis new reality.Cloud computing is primarily about cost reduction and elasticity in the allocation of resources. In essence, it’sabout running software and accessing data outside of the centrally-managed IT department and into the “cloud”of the internet. The computing systems and the infrastructure necessary to support your business applicationscan be scaled according to demand. There’s no need for upfront capital investments or the ongoing costsassociated with power, facilities, maintenance, backup and administration.There is no question that cloud computing is changing the way companies view their investment in software,technology and IT infrastructures. After all, the Digital Universe is expected to double in size every 18 months,placing significant pressure on the IT department to manage this cost.
This paper explores the differencesbetween open source and Software as a Service (SaaS), and the impact of cloud computing, on the total cost of ownership of business social software. Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT), an organization funded in part by theCisco Systems Foundation, is also profiled as they migrate from an open source online business community to aSaaS-driven model.
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