The explosion in open source computing and cloud computing options has created a new level of thinking in the design of enterprise process execution and how these processes use -- or simply integrate with-- traditional and proprietary software. So-called Tier 2 computing, which combines the on-premises applications traditionally used to execute business processes with cloud-based applications, is also gaining acceptance, particularly where formal operations are temporarily needed (such as mergers and acquisitions) or user levels have not achieved critical mass to deploy a full instance of an application. Enterprise social business tools sit at the crossroads of these trends.
With enterprise social business tools, organizations can leverage the collaborative effects of having processes executed within their “four walls” or throughout their value chain in either a cloud-based or on-premises environment, using either a proprietary or open source platform. Key organizational functions such as purchasing, supplier management and product development appear to be good candidates for enterprise social business. Early results look promising.
Open source computing options for collaboration
I recently had the opportunity to drop in on the DrupalCon 2012 event in Denver. Drupal is an open source computing platform that allows for a number of enterprise-wide activities to be executed in a secure and structured environment. To date, larger traditional platforms that are widely used for program microsites and collaboration--such as Microsoft SharePoint--and enterprise data management (EDM) platforms, such as Oracle mySQL, provide ready-to-use application program interfaces (APIs) to Drupal and other components of a Linux application management process commonly referred to as LAMP.