Thanks to Teresa Valdez Klein for using Facebook to provide an interesting link, I was able to read an article written by Dennis Howlett about the use of social networks in a large company like Oracle. He sites an Oracle blog written by Jake Kuramoto in the Oracle organization. They built their own application behind the firewall and launched it in Alpha, emailing only a small number of the 60,000 employees at Oracle. As a result, they reported:
In the first hour of operation we went from 3 users (Jake, Rich, and I) to over 270 users. After 10hrs we were nearing 2,000 users and today we hit 10,000. Just over 1/7th of the entire company in under 3 business days. No marketing. No master plan. This was an experiment, remember. We were dumbstruck.
Is social networking contagious? Is it something that should be adopted by all companies? I think it may be in the future of many companies. Right now, companies are scrambling to keep out the use of applications like MySpace, Facebook, Live journal and all the other applications where people can be a part of a network. They would rather have people being productive, rather than networking with friends and family. That is certainly understandable.
What makes me very curious is the outcome this will have on the company as a whole. Once Oracle sees the popularity of the social network in house, will they then adopt the ability for others to join in the network from outside the firewall, like customers or others. Then will they take it even further by having the company itself join in networks outside the firewall? These are all very exciting times in social media for corporations and I for one am glad to see companies like Oracle adopt these ideas and experiment with them.
I wonder how many other companies will adopt the social networking behind the firewall idea? If you know about other companies using this application, please let me know. Perhaps we can take a chapter from Jeremiah Owyang’s book and make a list of Enterprise Social Networks.