In a typical "anything Google" fashion, the recently launched Google Plus is drawing enormous buzz from media and early adopters alike. The positive reviews for Google Plus as a social network is especially critical for the search company Google which despite its path breaking products has been a failure at launching a good social platform.
A lot has already been written about how good Google Plus is and where it trumps Facebook etc. and I am not going to go into that. Arun earlier discussed if businesses/brand will adopt Google+ as part of their social media strategy which makes sense. Brands need to be where their target audience is, so if people are going to spend more time on Google Plus, brands need to be there. Period.
But this post is to discuss a whole new use-case for Google Plus which might have been overlooked.
Google Plus As An Out-Of-The Box Enterprise Social Network?
Let’s face it. It is now no surprise that Enterprises need to adopt Social Media but a lot of companies are lagging behind in their social media efforts. Indian IT companies have drawn flack in the past for their below average social media efforts. Business is getting social both internally and externally and I personally feel that companies that facilitate internal social networking could be placed better to leverage external social media also.
As far as internal social network platforms / tools go, the usage of mainstream platforms like Twitter, Facebook is to a large extent restricted for majority of employees in an organization. Firms like Kinetic Glue and Salesforce with its Chatter tool are currently facilitating the provision of a enterprise specific social platform for employees to communicate and collaborate.
However, these platforms despite being plug-and-play must involve some learning curve and ensuring adoption of the platform can be a herculean task for organizations.
Enter Google Plus and you have a social network that all the employees can take to without any learning curve at all. The friendly interface, rich features and being a GOOGLE product makes Google Plus the no-nonsense, no investment enterprise social network. What if the open to public Google Plus is also blocked under corporate internet access policies? In all likelihood it will be and a public network anyway inhibits enterprise adoption of such a tool
Google Plus + Google Apps Could Be The Answer!
As of now, Google is not allowing users to sign-in with their Google apps account. However, imagine if the Google eventually whitelists Google apps accounts to register on Google Plus. Extend that to an enterprise setting and Google could well offer enterprises to create a company-specific Google plus account where only accounts from a certain domain are allowed to register.
There you have it, the perfect Enterprise Social Network where the employees need not learn to use a new social network and organizations don’t have to buy third-party software or build a network from scratch.
Again, not every company is going to move their mail to Google Apps but if a Motorola can migrate to Google Apps, I won’t rule out the possibility of the same happening. The launch of Google Plus and adding a enterprise positioning to it could also help Google upsell its Google Apps mail services (Here Google, a free marketing strategy for Google Apps :-) )
The possibilities of networking and collaboration with Google Plus are immense. Create circles of project teams, video conference with colleagues (hangout), use technology / domain specific circles for knowledge sharing etc. With some tweaks, even Sparks could be used for facilitating interest driven knowledge sharing.
I can imagine Google Plus becoming an all encompassing feature-rich enterprise social network. Do you think it has the potential to become the same or Enterprises will continue to overlook mainstream social networks?