On Beyond Social Tagging: Enterprise Tag Clouds are Coming!

In Get With the Future: It's Tiddly, Jeremy Wagstaff concludes with the idea that "...we should think of tagging not just in terms of social tagging...Tagging will become as useful when it?s applied to personal, or closed, data."

Absolutely! I commented with a pointer to my June 2005 writeup on the intersection between tagging, IT, and enterprise workflow. The fun is just beginning. Do you have an Enterprise Tag Cloud yet?

Think about all the effort people put into fostering communication between groups in a mid to large enterprise. Then think about how many times you've discovered that someone in your own organization is working on a similar project, or that you could have used something invented in-house instead of rolling your own, or that someone two hops away from you at another corporate campus has been contacting other folks at the same potential client, and so on. Once you get up above 200 employees, individual views into the business and its shared goals start becoming extremely narrow. One's vision goes beyond 'my team and my department' only to the 'view from 25K feet company all-hands', and doesn't generally rest the eye anywhere in between.

With support for in-business tag discovery and 'social' tagging in the business sphere, you get a potential view into things of interest happening within a company, with a much finer granularity and lower overhead publishing effort than the old-fashioned 'company newsletter'. Ask any company with a significant engineering and development component how they make sure that the right hand knows what the left is doing, and 8 times out of 10 you will get some kind of handwaving that means 'umm, senior management knows what other senior management thinks'. It's a rare place where direct product-level folks get to collaborate across teams in ways less cumbersome than a high-traffic, generally ignoreable 'engineering' mailing list.

What about each product team publishing tagged entries on their milestones, release dates, toolsets? The IT folks updating groups with information tagged at the particular user community, without maintaining those horribly clunky lists of 'Word 2000 users' vs 'Word 2003 users' or 'Linux desktops' vs 'Windows desktops'. By allowing tagging within a social interest or shared research interests sphere, a savvy enterprise could re-establish that sense of 'the commons' that many people get from research-lab and university-spinoff environments.

And this is exactly why I'm here, at a place like this, at a time like this-- because 'Best Practices' in IT aren't just about how many sysadmins per hundred desktops, or which applications live inside the DMZ vs inside the backnet. The 'new enterprise' is going to look a LOT more like an internet social community than most folks currently realize. In some ways, it's going to HAVE to do that to stay productive and functional, as telecommuting, job-sharing, offshoring, and the like become the norm. As I wrote in Feb 2003, "Will the Real 'Sysadmin of the Future' Please Stand Up?" Chances are that he or she looks as much like a Drupal or MediaWiki sitemaster as a SAGE Level III or a CCIE.

Trackback to BBS'05


Post a Comment

<< Home