SharePoint gets Social
The Enterprise 2.0 conference has kicked into full swing and Microsoft seems to plan on taking center stage. They have already laid out a number of new announcements that give it's flagship content management system SharePoint an overflow of social networking options.SharePoint does already have some social networking capabilities built into it's core platform. But in comparison to many of the "pure" social networking platforms on the market today, the built-in features really do pale in comparison. So Microsoft, in their infinite wisdom, has been smart enough to collaborate very closely with many of these vendors to integrate advanced social networking with SharePoint. In addition, they have been working on some of their own initiatives to ensure that SharePoint is considered the social networking platform of 2008.

Microsoft Provides a Podcasting Kit for SharePoint

In addition to all these vendor integration announcements, Microsoft is assuring us they are not totally relying on vendors for SharePoint's social media functionality -- although it does seem most of it. They have announced the creation of a Podcasting Kit for SharePoint available on CodePlex and as such -- an open source initiative. The kit provides organizations with the ability to create, manage and distribute podcasts via SharePoint. Considering how popular online video is these days, it's not surprising they have produced a toolkit of this kind.The kit is built on Silverlight and SharePoint and is compatible with Zune (of course), Windows mobile devices, PCs, and other devices that play podcasts. Some features include:* Sharing content via personal podcasts that are published on PKS* Connect podcasters with instant-messaging programs* Rating system, tag clouds and search capabilities* RSS subscription to podcasts* Play podcasts in real time with SilverlightConsulting firm, Accenture participated in the PKS pilot and liked it enough to start extending it to Web 2.0-based learning and collaboration solutions. Even Microsoft has implemented the technology within its sales organization.To get the Podcasting Kit for SharePoint, download it from CodePlex now.

Partner Integration News

TelligentTelligent announced a while ago that it was working with Microsoft to integrate its Community Server with SharePoint. In fact, Community Server has been integrated with SharePoint already via Microsoft Partners like SharePoint Solutions -- but not to this degree. This integration requires Community Server 2008 and relies heavily on Telligent's development of a number of REST APIs and includes shared authentication and single sign-on.AwarenessAwareness is a provider of social media technologies that support organizations who deal with people outside the enterprise on a regular basis. The integration of their software into SharePoint provides organizations who use SharePoint as their primary tool to engage with outside partners and customers and other Web 2.0 communities. We will cover this integration in more detail in a later article as this internal/external community integration is essential to many organizations today.AtlassianAtlassian is a provider of wiki capabilities. They are now offering a wiki for SharePoint via a connector called the SharePoint Connector for Confluence. This integration will provide bi-directional content embedding and linking, single-sign on and more. We'll take a closer look at this integration in a separate review.blueKiwi SoftwareAnother enterprise social software provider, although one we've never heard of before, has provided a SharePoint connector and OfficeAssistant. This integration enables expertise identification, a visual view of the social network and an aggregated conversation view. This functionality sounds similar to that provided by Clearspace and SocialText.ConnectbeamSomeone now provides tagging and bookmarking functionality in SharePoint via an integration known as "Spotlight Connect for SharePoint". You can view a demo of this add-on module.NewsGatorNewsGator has upped the anti with an updated version of it's SocialSites 2.0 for SharePoint. We brought this news to you in early March. The new version includes ad hoc communities and a visual representation of ones social network (similar to blueKiwi above).WorklightWorklight brings an interesting set of features to SharePoint including the ability to securely view and update SharePoint-based information through external tools and sites like Vista gadgets and Facebook applications. The product is called Worklight for SharePoint.Leverage SoftwareAnother integration that enables organizations using SharePoint to work more closely with external partners and customers while maintaining security and privacy. These communities are of course all powered by Leverage's SaaS based community solution.

Microsoft a Leader in Social Computing Tools and Technologies?

Microsoft claims to be a leader in social computing tools and technologies but maybe they are more a leader in recognizing that others understand the market well and they need to work closely with these vendors. Hence all the partnership news on day one of the Enterprise 2.0 conference.The fact that all these integrations are with SharePoint clearly demonstrates that Microsoft is committed to riding this billion dollar SharePoint wave. It also demonstrates they understand how SharePoint is best used within an organization and probably most lacking (we'll leaving the web content management debate for another day).If you are hanging out at the Enterprise 2.0 conference and are getting the opportunity to see some these vendor integrations in person, let us know how "integrated" they truly are. And if it makes you want to implement SharePoint that much deeper into your organization.