Category: DataPortability

Getting your data in and out of the enterprise: Jive joins Data Portability Project

Jive SoftwareMuch has been said about you as a user being able to use your data more intelligently—making your data portable—among Web 2.0 properties and social networks. But what about all of that data you’re creating—and own—on the corporate side of the firewall? How do we make that type of data portable?

Well, Portland-based Jive Software may be well on the path to answering that question with today’s announcement that Jive has joined the Data Portability Project.

“The benefits of data portability are not confined to consumer social networks,” said Matt Tucker, CTO, Jive. “Corporate users maintain profiles behind the firewall as well as in external communities and third party platforms, and the ability to simply and securely migrate that information as necessary will be a boon to the IT organizations of tomorrow.”

I hear you. “Data port-uh-what?” Let’s step back.

What is Data Portability?

According to the Data Portability Project, “Data Portability is the option to use your personal data between trusted applications and vendors.”

Heretofore, those “applications and vendors” have dealt with data that resided in the public space with companies like Digg, Drupal, Facebook, Flickr (and by association Yahoo!), Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Netvibes, Plaxo, Six Apart, Corvallis-based Strands, and Twitter.

Porting the data relies on standardized and publicly accessible means of transferring that data from service to service, which enables one service to “listen” to another service or “scrape” the data from an existing profile.

To accomplish this, a number of open standards, formats, microformats, and protocols have been established. These include APML, FOAF, hCard, OAuth, OpenID, OPML, RDF, RSS, SIOC, the XHTML Friends Network (XFN), XRI, and XDI.

Okay, I can feel your eyes rolling back in your head. Enough alphabet soup.

What’s the big deal about Jive, a corporate-side technology, joining a group of the cool kids on the social networking scene?

So what?

In my opinion, Jive’s decision to become the first corporate-side technology company to adopt this standard is momentous and game changing.

Why? Because it shakes the very foundation of what businesses think they own.

Today, most any of you on the corporate side of the firewall have signed some form of agreement. It could be a “noncompete” or simply a contract for employment. If you’re an exempt employee, it’s generally pretty strict in terms of what the company owns.

And generally, most companies will take the opportunity to cast a wide net over your work—claiming the company owns the intellectual property for anything you create while you’re employed by the company.

Anything.

That means your IM, your email, your time on Facebook, your tweets, your voice mail, your iTunes playlist… All corporate property.

Seems a bit at odds with the way things are going, doesn’t it?

And as more and more of the “Web 2.0-esque” technologies find their way behind the corporate firewall, it’s going to seem even more and more wrong.

Even today, we’re beginning to see glimmers of the data we’re generating in public beginning to mesh with the type of data we’re generating at work. (LinkedIn anyone?)

The burgeoning workforce who lives and breathes in this brave new world will expect that the data they create is data they own and can move. And this is at direct odds with what the old school corporation thinks that the business should own.

It’s not going to be a pretty battle. But with this announcement, Jive is taking a step in the right direction—siding with the future instead of the past.

So what will enterprise data portability entail?

Honestly, it’s going to take a little while to figure that out. But Jive has started the ball rolling.

Jive’s latest high-profile hire, Gia Lyons, a former IBMer, understands the depth of this undertaking:

Think about all the bits and pieces of your worklife, strewn about all those different systems: HR systems, skills databases, LDAP directories, employee whitepages, LinkedIn, etc. Wouldn’t it be great if you could manage all that personal data from a single spot? It can live where it lives – I would call it data transparency, though, not data portability. This can already be accomplished by using data mapping tools in market today, but it takes some serious customization muscles to pull off, not to mention many lunches and cocktails to woo the czars in charge of all of those internal systems so they play nice.

And Jive CMO Sam Lawrence has grand plans for where this enterprise data portability might have the chance to go:

In the meantime, we’re interested in working with the Data Portability group to help contribute to these standards as well as new ones as well. Hopefully, the organization is now at a point in its evolution to proceed with formal and elected leadership, a standards body, voting process and the rest of the stuff that makes organizations successful.

Again, a vast project with which to grapple, but one whose time has potentially come.

It will be interesting to see where this one goes, and to see watch Portland’s role blossom—as the de facto hub of open source and as a growing proponent of open standards—in this new way of thinking about who owns what.

MyStrands joins Data Portability Working Group

Corvallis-based MyStrands, the service that—among other things—lets you share and compare your musical tastes, has announced that they have decided to join the Data Portability Working Group.

A number of folks are putting their hopes in the Data Portability concept. And, to be sure, their recent “skyrocketing into the tech-public consciousness” momentum may have given them the best chance of solving the problems at hand.

As Scott Kveton highlights in the MyStrands post:

We’re really excited about the work that the Data Portability (DP) group is chartered to do. The goal of the group is to build a set of technical and policy blueprints based on existing technologies and concepts that will allow for the free-flow and control of data by users among sites on the web. Taking advantage of the building blocks like OpenID, OAuth and microformats allows the effort to move that much faster….

MyStrands is committed to the Data Portability group because we believe we can really help make things happen and be an integral part of its success.

Coincidentally, another little company you may have heard of—named Microsoft—just announced that they were going to join the Data Portability Working Group, as well. But, I’m not interested in covering that, because a) Last time I checked, they were a bit north of the Silicon Forest, and b) They may have gotten a little bit of press about it already.

In fact, Portland-based blogger Marshall Kirkpatrick has an insightful write-up on the Microsoft news:

Microsoft’s joining the group is an event of sufficiently complex historical meaning that I’m hesitant to try and interpret it here. Microsoft has both been the ultimate example of lock-in and also an important force behind other open standards efforts on the web, including OpenID. Though no fan of Microsoft, I am consistently excited about what the Live team in particular does. I’ll look for analysis of this and future news about implementation at Live from my favorite source on the topic, LiveSide.

Deep breath. Okay, I realize I’ve just thrown around a whole bunch of jibber jabber at you, which probably makes absolutely no sense.

Just what is this “data portability” and why would we want it? Here’s a simple explanation. (Apparently, Vimeo’s embed code doesn’t like WordPress, so I’m linking now instead. Apologies for the extra click.)

For more on MyStrands reasoning behind joining, read Why MyStrands is joining the Data Portability Workgroup. For more on the Data Portability Working Group, visit dataportability.org.

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