Now that Jake has exposed our next venture, I thought I’d flesh out some more details on what we hope to accomplish by building our own OpenSocial container. When OpenSocial came out, it all took us AppsLab’ers by surprise that Oracle was a founding member. It wasn’t really a surprise that Google was building something to compete with the Facebook’s social apps model… it was only a matter of time before someone did it — I’m glad that Google ultimately decided to make it happen.
Our vision for OpenSocial is different from all the consumer based social networks that are currently using it to catch up to Facebook. One of the first things we learned here at the AppsLab is that there is large pent-up demand for social applications within an enterprise. A large organization like Oracle can be more productive when the social aspect to day-to-day business is made available to employees. We saw this demand first hand when we built Connect and IdeaFactory last Summer.
For those who don’t know much about OpenSocial, all you need to know is that it’s a big deal for enterprises, but most people don’t know it yet. Here’s why it’s not on the radar of most enterprises:
- OpenSocial was built to satisfy the need of existing social networks who need a way to allow users to plugin applications into their network — it’s not being built with enterprise requirements in mind (i.e., “enterprise class” security and provisioning, and other “enterprise” technology jargon) — and to me, that’s a blessing. The biggest thing that slows down IT projects inside an enterprise is the loads of crap that developers have to follow. In most cases, all of that is overkill.
- OpenSocial participation (right now) is mainly by those thinking about the consumer market — with the exception of SalesForce.com (another founding member).
- OpenSocial is in early adoption mode.
I like to think that we’re a forward thinking bunch at the Lab. Paul and I have extensive experience with enterprise portal since we spent many years before this gig dealing with portals. From my perspective, OpenSocial is what enterprise portals should have been. OpenSocial will make it easy for employees within an enterprise to build and deploy their apps in a decentralized fashion. Death to IT.
As we move closer to upgrading Connect with OpenSocial apps enabled, we’ll blog about it here to give you a glimpse of this vision. We think it’s a big deal and hopefully once we have something to share, you will too.