Enterprises are hamstrung by regulations and governance policies. It's just a fact of life. As enterprises struggle with the need to remain compliant, the exploding popularity of web 2.0 tools and social applications are forcing conversations about trying to strike a happy compromise. Although the notion of "command and control" is unpopular within the 2.0 community, in the Enterprise it's the law. Strict rules govern who has access to what data and which communications must be monitored and archived (in some cases for years). Complicating matters further, compliance regulations vary from country to country.
WorkLight, self-described as a "Web 2.0 for Business Company," is uniquely positioned as a gateway between public access and private responsibility for the Enterprise. The latest WorkLight announcement reveals its sponsorship of the CentraSite Community SOA ecosystem. CentraSite (a sort of ProgrammableWeb for the Enterprise) is the leading industry SOA registry and repository driven by Software AG and Fujitsu. With WorkLight, companies now can use publicly available social media tools for business, yet remain compliant with mandated policies and controls. CentraSite provides infrastructure internally to control which services can be used for which people for which purposes. Now, with WorkLight web 2.0 interfaces, those services are extended outside to consumers, as well as the entire ecosystem of suppliers, partners, and other third-parties.
For example, if a large bank has customer account information, it can enable a consumer or partner to access this information through widgets, Facebook, Google gadgets, RSS feeds, even Twitter. Yet if an external party wants this access, the same enterprise policies that ensure compliance and privacy must apply to those interfaces. "This is the main dilemma that companies encounter, said Shahar Kaminitz, CEO of Worklight. "Companies need to find a way to bridge between what they're required to do on governance and privacy and what they want to do which is open up everything."
A common misconception surrounding the use of social software in the Enterprise is not policing productivity, according to Kaminitz. It's about protecting data. "There is an industry regulation in the banking community, for example, that every communication between bank employees must be audited and retained," he said.
Now, see the same information via a WorkLight-enabled purchase requisition gadget. This specific gadget runs on iGoogle, but could easily run on Facebook, iPhone, etc. It is a task-oriented gadget, allowing managers to easily make a decision via their social media platform of choice (desktop, web-based, mobile). The different requisition requests and all enterprise information is secured, and can only be accessed by an authorized manager. The manager can approve/decline requests directly on the gadget. No information is stored on 3rd party servers such as iGoogle, Facebook, etc. The processed purchase requisitions are entered into the SAP system using WorkLight's Application Platform, ensuring enterprise-grade security, back-end integration and scalability across the enterprise.
WorkLight is a leading light on the consumerization of IT in the enterprise. Miko Matsumura, Vice President and Deputy Chief Technology Officer at Software AG who is actively involved in the CentraSite Community commented, "What's fascinating about what WorkLight has done is they've enabled the layer of policy management to safely mashup and consume broader Internet applications that are traditionally consumer." As corporate IT twists and conforms to a changing demographic coupled with the ubiquity and runaway growth of socialweb computing, enterprising startups like WorkLight will benefit enormously by making that transition easier.