Chatter, Tweet and Connect With Your Actual Network – A Customer Q&A with Enterasys

June 8, 2011 Appirio

By Sara Campbell

We’re always looking to tell the world how our customers have made use of Chatter. Many companies see social media as a way for people to communicate better with each other. But what if you could use that same social media to communicate with your IT infrastructure? We already know one of the great benefits of Chatter is that “things”, not just people can chatter but Enterasys Networks has taken this concept to a whole new level. They have integrated their network technology with Salesforce Chatter, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to humanize the enterprise and open up network communication beyond the language of machines.

Today, I’m eager to share an interview with Vala Afshar, chief customer officer for Enterasys Networks, a Siemens Enterprise Communications Company and Appirio customer, about what they’re doing with Chatter and other social tools.

Q: What is Enterasys doing with social media?
Enterasys is a global provider of wired and wireless network infrastructure and security solutions. Today we’re extending our managed capability offerings to include social media. Our customers can now communicate with all of their IP networks via Chatter, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. We’ve named this new invention isaac (Intelligent Socially Aware Automated Communication).

Q: How is this innovation going to change the way network administration is done?
Historically, bi-directional communication has been privy to trained network administrators, lending little creativity for IP network use. With social media extensibility, nearly anyone can talk to an IP network in “human” language. Enabling IP products to be socially aware allows for administrators to simplify commands, spend less time on training and remotely control networks. For example, you can immediately control any network from the cloud, or your network can chatter or tweet issues back to you and your administrators which can be accessed on any mobile device. The new communication capabilities we’re offering will be in every language that Chatter, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn support – more than 70 in total.

Q: What makes social the most appropriate form of communication for network administrators?
More than one sixth of humanity is leveraging social media to connect with each other. Most are using mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. In fact, today, mobile devices are the number one method of connecting to the Internet. On top of that, the growth of cloud computing is delivering flexible consumption models with unparallelled scale and user adoption trajectories. Social technology is infiltrating the enterprise because it’s easy. People know how to use it because social media humanizes IT communication. However, many companies aren’t making the best use of social technology using issues like security as an excuse. What many people forget is that applications such as Chatter are as secure as the vendor that created it. Salesforce is a trusted enterprise vendor and Chatter is a private collaboration tool.

Q: You’ve talked a lot about humanizing the enterprise – why is that important?
Gartner recently noted that by 2014, more effort will go into redesigning existing applications to make them social than deploying social software products. Can we ‘friend’ our communications network’? Can we tweet to our enterprise IP infrastructure and have the machines tweet us back? Can we chat via enterprise-class social media using Salesforce.com? The answer to all of these questions is yes. Making the enterprise human provides more ubiquitous communication. No longer do we need to train ourselves to “speak machine” when we can instead train a machine to interact similarly to a human.

Q: Prior to this announcement, you had a few pilot tests. Can you share what you learned?
Our pilot tests, for the most part, paralleled our expectations – they went extremely well. We did see some unexpected use cases throughout the pilot that made us even more excited about what we’ve created. For example, a smaller school used Chatter to give faculty the ability to turn off the student Internet during exam periods. Another use case is where network administrators are alerted via Chatter when a building security alarm goes off. The administrators then have the option of remotely talking to the network (via social media) and can tell it to take surveillance pictures and send them to their mobile device. Anecdotes like these have made us even more excited about the future implications of humanizing IP networks.

Q: What are you most excited about with the announcement of isaac?
This is a generational game changer. The IT administrators of tomorrow won’t know a world without social media interfaces and mobile devices. It is second-nature for them to tweet from their iPhone during the business day or respond to colleagues via Chatter in the evening.
What we’re announcing is a critical enabler to work / life balance and will allow IT administrators and CIOs alike to communicate with machines on a human-level.

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