You can hardly turn a web page these days without seeing a story that describes how people are using social networks, whether it is Twitter, Facebook or some other service to develop and build their personal communities. In business, we increasingly see blogs and wikis demonstrating utility in problem solving and communications but the real time nature of business process problem solving largely remains untouched by social networking tools. Existing services, while attractive do not scale well and have proven unreliable. This is unacceptable to business which must be 'Always On' and able to support people in their daily working lives. Such applications must therefore be scalable and reliable but also provide a lot more.
When solving problems, how good might it be if a user was able to tap into the collective knowledge of her peers or surrounding groupsof people with whom she might naturally network in the workplace setting? How much quicker and with greater precision might she be able to solve daily problems? What if there was a communications mechanism that takes the best of what services like Twitter offers and co-mingled that with readily recognizable SAP business processes? That solution is ESME.
Enterprise Social Media Experiment (ESME) is a Web 2.0 application that permits social network-based communication among, between, and outside organizational boundaries. ESME draws its development team from the SAP Community and includes both BPX'ers and business people with an interest in learning how social networks, the media they generate and business processes can be usefully co-mingled to deliver innovative solutions to old world problems.
SAP offers a reliable, scalable platform -NetWeaver- which is a natural foundation on which to build such an enterprise application. Not only would there be real-time "microblogging" / conversations, this tool could be controlled by existing security mechanisms (UME) permitting logging & auditing as well as being content-searchable (TREX) in a secure manner.
This tool uses a Scala/Lift server-framework and a Adobe Flex/Air client. Cloud-based hosting is being examined along with a widget that can be included in Collaboration Workspace.
It started with this conversationon Plurk (RSS Feed).
The ESME architecture has been devised to meet the business requirements associated with reliability and scalability. The foundation of the architecture in SAP's NetWeaverplatform - via its Application Server technology - provides a solid foundation (cluster, monitoring, etc.) to build such an environment with an enterprise focus. Not only would there be real-time "microblogging" and conversations, but this could be controlled by existing security mechanisms (role & group filtering) through the use of NetWeaver's UME as the foundation for ESME's group functionality. The use of the Scala programming language and the Lift Framework on the server provides rapid development capability as well a standard push functionality which assures scalability. The open architecture on the server side allows various other messaging environments - internal (Alerts, Enterprise Services, etc.) as well as public (Twitter, external web-services, etc.) - to be used as messaging sources.
The use of Adobe / Flex air on the client assures that business users are given a user interface that meets their needs regarding functionality without clutter. The open architecture of ESME enables the possibility of other client technologies (mobile, web-dynpro, iPhone) as well.
Using cloud-based hosting environments, business requirements regarding scalability and quick ROI can also be met.
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