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IVR - Actiance VP to Discuss Social Media Developments at ITEXPO West 2011
August 18, 2011

Actiance VP to Discuss Social Media Developments at ITEXPO West 2011

By Juliana Kenny, TMCnet Managing Editor

Those who will be gathering at ITEXPO (News - Alert) West 2011 in Austin, Texas from Sept. 13-15, will become privy to the latest developments and progressions in the IP communications industry over the last several months; and with renowned speakers taking the stand at the many busy sessions, the discussions will surely be informative and forward-thinking.

One of the speakers comes to ITEXPO’s halls from Actiance, Inc., an organization that provides security, management, and compliance solutions for instant messaging and unified communications platforms. Actiance manages and secures Web 2.0 and real-time communications for businesses looking to streamline their analytics and reporting solutions.

Sarah Carter, vice president of Actiance, will be speaking during a session on Sept. 13, entitled “Securing Social Media for Compliant Collaboration.” She recently spoke to Rich Tehrani, CEO of TMC, to offer some insight on how she sees social media progressing over the next few years. Check out the full interview below:

RT: How has your market segment evolved over the past year and what trends have fueled those changes?

SC: The question of how to ban social media and use of Web 2.0 tools at work has changed to “how do we enable it and remain compliant and secure.” As enterprises see the huge benefits early adopters have achieved so they want to enable their employees to do the same. However, many industries particularly those in heavily regulated such as financial services are doing so with caution, being careful to ensure that compliance and regulatory requirements are not overlooked. But there has definitely been a fundamental shift from banning to enabling these last twelve months.

RT: What do you see as the next disruptive force in technology and how will it impact your market or business?

SC: The growth of smartphones and use of apps in the business marketplace. We are already seeing organizations taking steps to ban corporate use of particular smartphones that cannot be controlled or regulated sufficiently to comply with industry regulation. However, remember organizations tried to ban social networking and real-time communications until they realized that the user demand was almost was almost impossible to hold back and that their might actually be productivity gains too. I think the same will happen with smartphones – users will start to demand access to the ones that provide the greatest work benefit, and it will up to the organization to figure out how to enable it use and remain complaint.

RT: How has the acceptance and adoption of the cloud model influenced your development cycle and process?

SC: In response to the demand to comply with industry regulations that require organizations to control employee social media use regardless of location, we introduced a SaaS (News - Alert) based model of Socialite Enable last year alongside the more traditional on-premises installation. For companies such as NetSpend, the SaaS option provides a fast route to securely enable social media.

RT: What is the most common request you are seeing from your customers? How is your company addressing these demands?

SC: Our customers are demanding a tool to help address the need for content management, distribution and analytics across the social media channels they are embracing. Socialite Engage, which we announced in June, is the missing link for these individuals, integrating ease of use with rigorous social media compliance for distributed teams providing both actionable results and a return on engagement.

RT: How is the continued growth of social media changing service and product development strategies?

SC: I think we’re going to see much more integration between social media and enterprise-based systems as companies look to leverage their data held on internal systems with the information they are gaining from social interactions. 

RT: Will Google+ become bigger than Facebook and Twitter (News - Alert)? Why or why not?

SC: Who knows and more importantly, why worry? It’s still in beta, its adoption has slowed down already and look at the forgotten social networks already such as Myspace and Bebo. Fixating on whether one network will be bigger than another is folly; after all, who knows what’s around the corner. It’s more important to build strategies around the social concept and then go to whichever network the demographic for your customer is on.

RT: As businesses continue their move toward virtual workforces, how are you meeting the need for increased mobility?  What barriers are keeping others from adopting mobile strategies?

SC: Mobility has become an important part of our lives, but it has also added a complexity to the IT aspect of controlling data. A couple of years ago most enterprises standardized on PCs, laptops and mobiles. Today, users want to be able to choose not just the device that helps them do their job the best, but also the one they feel most comfortable using. Some prefer proper keyboards on their mobile, others like electronic; iPads are really popular with sales guys doing a lot of presentations, hated by others for their lack of true multi-tasking. Users even consider the personal aspects of their devices – can they continue reading the latest thriller on the commute to work, video conference with their family when away from home.

The end result for the beleaguered IT guy is that he has to control and record information coming in and going out of the network through a myriad of devices. It’s one of the reasons we developed our technology to focus on the data stream to the social media application, not the method of communication.

RT: How do you see the mobile operating system war (iPhone (News - Alert) vs. Android vs. RIM vs. WM7) playing out?

SC: To the Mac fans then there is probably only one choice, but to most people the operating system of their phone is fairly immaterial. Looks, functionality, price and peer pressure are of far more interest to users when choosing a device. In an enterprise situation where compliance and good governance is a concern RIM is still king, but employees are already clamoring at the IT department’s door wanting to use other manufacturer’s smartphones. And again why we focus on the data stream of the social media application so, for instance, we allow organizations to archive and monitor Facebook (News - Alert) Group, Fan and Personal pages, regardless of the device used to post the content.

RT: Is HTML5 the game changer many predict it will be?

SC: I think it has the potential, particularly in the mobile environment. With so many key players in the social media market embracing HTML5 it’s difficult to see that it won’t be.

RT: What are you most looking forward to at ITEXPO West  in Austin? What do you see as being the biggest trends at the show?

SC: I’m really looking forward to hearing Mike McCarthy from IBM’s Cloud Computing Services speak. Actiance and IBM already work closely together, our latest solution delivers archiving and compliance capabilities to IBM's social software for businesses, Connections. With so much moving toward the cloud these days, it will be fascinating to find out how he sees the market developing.

RT: What issues will you be addressing during your ITEXPO session and why should attendees be sure to attend?

SC: Social media’s rapid uptake by end users, often against written policies, has left many enterprises inadequately prepared from both a data leakage and a compliance perspective. Combine this with the growth of UC and collaboration within organizations and it’s easy to see the boundaries between corporate communication tools and social media becoming increasingly blurred.

We’re going to be looking at why neither UC nor social media natively provide the security and compliance required by most companies, placing many enterprises at risk from data leakage and libelous comments to record retention, costly eDiscovery and market abuse. Attendees will discover how one multi-national company manages employee use of social media, alongside the use of real-time apps such as IM, web conferencing and UC, whilst still maintaining compliance.

To find out more about Carter and Actiance, visit the company at ITEXPO West 2011. To be held Sept. 13-15 in Austin, TX, ITEXPO is the world’s premier IP communications event. Carter is speaking during “Securing Social Media for Compliant Collaboration.” Don’t wait. Register now.

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Juliana Kenny graduated from the University of Connecticut with a double degree in English and French. After managing a small company for two years, she joined TMC as a Web Editor for TMCnet. Juliana currently focuses on the call center and CRM industries, but she also writes about cloud telephony and network gear including softswitches.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

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