Gold Systems wanted to combine social network information with the power of enterprise communication and collaboration tools. The company used core technology in Microsoft® Office Communications Server 2007 R2 to build a new application called Social Center. The software helps people to work with the rich context provided through social networks and the seamless communications provided by Office Communications Server.
Gold Systems is a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner that specializes in unified communications and IP-based telephony solutions. The company provides voice-driven software products and IT solutions to companies in a range of industries, including financial services, healthcare, retail, utilities, and government.
||With the technology in Office Communications Server 2007 R2, we were able to innovate quickly and easily in response to changing market needs.
Chief Executive Officer
Gold Systems is always looking for ways to use emerging technologies to help its customers. One idea came up as a result of a snowstorm in Boulder, Colorado, where the company is based. “We were experiencing heavy weather on a day in March 2009 that forced many of our employees to work from home,” says Terry Gold, Chief Executive Officer of Gold Systems. To hold its weekly management meeting, the company turned to Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2 and the Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 R2 client.
“It was great for conducting our meeting, but it occurred to me that I had no sense of what was going on with people throughout the company,” Gold says. The presence technology in Office Communications Server 2007 R2—which indicates if people are available and how best to reach them—worked fine. “But there was no sense of how people were dealing with the storm, or how it was affecting their day.” Gold knew that most of the company’s employees use social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to provide details about their lives—information that would be valuable to have inside Office Communications Server 2007 R2. “We wanted to bring context to the presence technology to show not just someone’s availability, but what they are up to,” Gold says.
Gold Systems used core technology in Office Communications Server 2007 R2 to create a customizable application called Social Center that
|Gold Systems Social Center integrates Office |
Communications Server 2007 R2
with social networking sites.
runs with Office Communications Server 2007 R2 and Office Communicator 2007 R2. Using application programming interfaces (APIs) from Office Communications Server, Gold Systems created a “microblogging” application that appears as a Notes feature in Office Communicator. The company’s developers used the APIs so that the Social Center application can connect to Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Users control the public visibility of their Notes through Access Levels in Office Communicator, choosing levels such as “Team,” “Public,” or “Blocked.”
With Social Center, users can “follow” other people’s activities much as they would, for example, on the Twitter network, with Twitter “tweets” showing up in the Office Communicator window. Similarly, entries made in Facebook and LinkedIn can be added to the Social Center application. The individual social networking sites appear as clickable icons at the bottom of the Office Communicator client.
Users working outside the corporate network can view the social networking communications that originate inside their company from any browser. To enter content, users log on to their network by authenticating their identity through a PC. The Social Center application can also be modified by organizations for specific needs, including security concerns. “Companies can apply business rules that, for example, filter posts for inappropriate language or for content that could create legal or compliance issues,” Gold says.
With Office Communications Server 2007 R2, Gold Systems had a comprehensive development environment for easily creating Social Center. The application makes it possible for employees to stay connected to their social network both inside and outside the workplace. The flexibility of the Microsoft tools helps Gold Systems modify the application to suit the business requirements of its customers. The process also helped Gold Systems to quickly develop solutions that can benefit users.
- Rich environment assists development efforts. Gold Systems innovated quickly on a good idea with the rich tools and open development environment provided by Office Communications Server 2007 R2. “The Microsoft tools and development platform let us quickly build interesting and innovative communications-related solutions in response to emerging market needs,” says Gold.
- Standards help meet enterprise requirements. Because Office Communications Server 2007 R2 interoperates with other Microsoft products, Gold Systems can respond to important customer requirements. “Our customers can take advantage of the capabilities of a new application like this but still impose important business rules, such as authenticating users, to protect important information,” Gold says.
- Demonstrates ability to deliver innovative software. The development of Social Center shows how Office Communications Server 2007 R2 can be used to create innovative software. “Social networking is growing in enterprises,” says Gold. “It can lead to better-informed employees and richer information for making decisions. With the technology in Office Communications Server 2007 R2, we were able to innovate quickly and easily in response to changing market needs.”
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Document published January 2010