Microsoft is currently testing internally a Microsoft Office Labs prototype dubbed OfficeTalk, which, according to the company, is an experiment designed to explore the impact of social networking in the Enterprise. With OfficeTalk, the Redmond company is dogfooding the equivalent of a Twitter-like service aimed at corporate customers. The purpose of the test concept is to deliver a new communication channel within the enterprise, which would streamline the process of sharing information broadly. More importantly, a microblogging service can also act as an important source of information, for companies that need to feel the pulse of their organization.
“OfficeTalk is a concept test to explore the value of microblogging in the enterprise. OfficeTalk is deployed internally at Microsoft and has seen over 10,000 visitors and hundreds of messages posted daily. We're now making OfficeTalk available to a few customers in a small pilot test. Because this is an early-stage concept, the OfficeTalk microblogging experience itself looks very similar to other well-known services. The key difference is that the enterprise owns the data since the OfficeTalk server is hosted in the customer’s organization. We will be releasing updates periodically to test more of the ideas we're thinking about,” Microsoft revealed.
The software giant is emphasizing that, as all Microsoft Office Labs projects, OfficeTalk is nothing more than a private pilot. The company is currently running it for research purposes, and there’s no actual guarantee that a commercial product will ever be put together and offered to customers. At this point in time, the company even notes that it is accepting third-parties in the limited testing program.
OfficeTalk “applies the base capabilities of microblogging to a business environment, enabling employees to post their thoughts, activities, and potentially valuable information to anyone who might be interested. Like any good researcher, we have tested this concept on ourselves first and insights surfaced quickly. In fact, it was one of the most popular internal concept tests to date. Not only was the obvious demonstrated, that people don’t limit microblogging activity to the purely social, but that even an IT managed implementation focused on business productivity can spread quickly across informal networks and create unique collaboration efficiencies and experiences,” the company noted.