Lockheed develops open source, social media framework

Lockheed Martin has announced the release of a proprietary social media tool, using an open source software license. The platform is one of a growing number of offerings meant to tap the power of collaboration between employees, while creating a secure environment to share content using blogs and wikis.

The new framework, called Eureka Framework, blends different social media tools to facilitate employee interaction and discuss information from internal or external sources.

According to Lockheed Martin’s Social Media Program Manager Shawn Dahlen, “The Eureka Framework is a blend of iGoogle, Facebook, and Twitter.”

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Lockheed has already found a niche to leverage their social media technology towards employees and government agencies in the aerospace and defense industry. But according to Mr. Dahlen, the tool can be easily adopted within the state and local government landscape. “Governments can use the offering to communicate internally with their workers and to set up a public facing site to engage citizens,” he said in an e-mail.

By releasing the tool under an open source license, the company will allow users to customize the tool for employees and enhances their ability to track and share information in an increasingly virtual work environment. “The code will be published under an open source license, so it will be free for anyone to download, use and extend,” Mr. Dahlen said.

Lockheed has already made waves in the Web 2.0 world. Earlier this year, Lockheed’s Information Systems & Global Services group launched Project Unity. Unity integrates Google enterprise search appliance (GSA), Microsoft’s Windows Sharepoint Servicess (WSS) and NewsGator’s Enterprise Server. To view a demonstration of how Newsgator works with Sharepoint, see a YouTube video by clicking here. Unity also sports discussion forums, a social bookmarking tool called uBookmark and weekly activity reporting.

“[Eureka Framework] actually complements [Unity] by aggregating the activity within Unity and publishing it to the employee’s channel,” Mr. Dahlen said.

Lockheed’s open source, social media tool, pits them against similar industry offerings like Booz Allen Hamilton’s SharePoint-based enterprise 2.0 tool, hello.bah.com. Booz Allen’s tool features blogs, podcasts, RSS, and wikis. Its homepage consists of Communities, People, Forums, Blogs, Wikis, and Bookmarks. There are over 300 communities around interests such as Wireless Communications, Emerging Technologies, and Cyber Security, according to the company.

Similarly, Computer Science Corporation (CSC) has a Facebook-like application that is in the testing stages, with a pilot underway with Jive Software. The internal social networking tool enables 91,000 employees to collaborate and share ideas. In a recent interview with Washington Technology CSC’s corporate vice president and chief technology officer John Glowacki said, “I think this is going to be another one of those things that will help define our collaborative environment.”

So far, Booz Allen and CSC have not turned their internal social media gaze outward. But as for Lockheed’s Eureka Framework, the code should be available to enterprise and government-use later this year.

For more on the subject, read:
Social media keeps employees’ heads in the game
A golden age for civil servants: How Generation Y will change government
Study: Crowdsourcing, social networking urged in stimulus oversight
Mobilizing the 21st century workforce

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