Recently Talent and Learning Management vendor SumTotal Systems announced a set of new integrations meant to present information from the system, "where employees live most, applications like Microsoft Outlook and Facebook". In Facebook, for example, and employee could see updates and alerts from the SumTotal system, and connect with their internal colleagues without leaving the Facebook site.
While most would not argue that corporate workers spend ridiculous amounts of time in Outlook, the idea that enterprise Talent Management systems should be connected with Facebook and LinkedIn is certainly an interesting and new development.
Heck, pretty much every day I see a new article or study on organizations that block access to Facebook and LinkedIn. But that is not really the 'core' issue as I see it.
I think the important message is not really about social networks and their use in the workplace, but rather a signal that the 'enterprise' platform as a required destination for employees and managers will erode in importance. More and more the 'official' home page or portals are going to be supplanted by interactions with the 'enterprise' information and processes via external networks (LinkedIn, Facebook), other internal enterprise tools (Outlook, intranets), and mobile (iPhone, Blackberry). If employees and line managers only have to visit a tool or system to accomplish one specific task, and that task is not somehow incorporated into their 'normal' workflow, the likelihood of adoption and effective utilization is far lower.
You may have a fantastic system, full of incredible content, but if no one goes there to leverage that content then it may as well be not there at all.
Additionally, as the definitions of work shift, and the relationships that talent maintains with organizations become more fluid, much more versatile and agile tools for talent management will be needed. Certainly part of the versatility will derive from embedded integration with Facebook and LinkedIn, but the larger work that remains is to convince organizations and vendors that their fancy home pages and dashboards, while interesting and exciting to look at, might not matter one bit to the employee and manager that never wants to visit them.
For some time it has been fashionable in marketing circles to declare that the corporate web site is 'dead' and that no one really cares what is on there, I wonder if one day enterprise systems home pages will 'die' as well and be replaced with a collection of widgets, add-ons, browser toolbars, and mobile applications.