March 31, 2011
By Drew Barrows
Lockheed Martin, the nation's largest defense contractor, has launched a new open-source project for enterprise social networking called Eureka Streams.
The Eureka Streams technology, which looks and behaves much like existing commercial social networking software, is aimed at helping what Lockheed Martim refers to as knowledge workers make informed decisions by finding relevant colleagues and groups, following their streams of activity, and engaging in conversation.
Lockheed Martin is making the technology available to developers and inviting their feedback on Eureka Streams. Developers can learn more about the technology at www.eurekastreams.org.
Eureka Streams represents a new communication experience for knowledge workers, empowering them to pick and choose the channels of news, information and conversation that add the most value to their day-to-day work, Lockheed Martin officials said.
"Lockheed Martin drives social media adoption by finding innovative ways to integrate a social dimension into our existing processes and tools," said Monica McManus, vice president and chief information officer for Lockheed Martin Information Systems & Global Solutions, which recently deployed Eureka Streams to more than 36,000 employees.
Indeed, over the past four years, Lockheed Martin has developed and deployed proprietary social media solutions across its own enterprise based on commercial off-the-shelf software, the company said in a July 26 press release about the new project. These solutions have enabled its employees to collaboratively develop and share content through such tools as blogs and wikis. Eureka Streams complements content-focused tools by providing a simple and fast communication experience knowledge workers are accustomed to outside the workplace, Lockheed Martin said. With Eureka Streams, enterprises can provide this experience to their employees in a secure environment.
Lockheed Martin has released Eureka Streams as an open-source project—the Eureka Streams Community Edition is licensed to developers under the Apache 2.0 open-source license. However, in the future, Lockheed Martin plans to offer editions of Eureka Streams for use by enterprise customers, the company said in its release.
According to an independent Forrester Research report titled "Harnessing Social Networking to Drive Transformation" dated November 2009, "Smart organizations are looking to tap into the full power of the enterprise and beyond to drive better and faster decisions and to foster innovation that will keep them at the forefront of the changing economy. One approach that's top of mind for business technology leaders is the use of social networks to drive communities that span traditional organizational structures."
Lockheed Martin initially announced its interest in delivering a social media tool in June 2009 at the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston. Later, in a July 2009 press release, Lockheed Martin further described what became Eureka Streams.
"Lockheed Martin has placed an emphasis on social media adoption by finding innovative ways to integrate a social dimension into our existing process and tools while reducing total cost of ownership," said Linda Gooden, executive vice president for Lockheed Martin's Information Systems & Global Services business area, in a statement from that press release. "We are excited to now share our investment back to the open-source community to help other organizations meet their knowledge sharing challenges."
In a post to a Google group on OpenSocial, also from last July, Steve Terlecki, a Lockheed Martin software engineer based in King of Prussia, Pa., said:
"My team and I at Lockheed Martin Corporation have been working to create a social media framework using the Shindig OpenSocial container. After several months of development we are excited to announce that we have been granted final approval to create an open source project and offer it back to the community [our efforts]. Our framework is written in Java and is based on open source projects such as GWT, Hibernate, Spring, and Lucene, to name a few."
Among the open-source technologies Terlecki mentioned, Apache Shindig is an OpenSocial container that helps developers begin hosting OpenSocial applications quickly by providing the code to render gadgets, proxy requests, and handle Representational State Transfer (REST) and Remote Procedure Call (RPC) requests.
Meanwhile, more evidence of some serious enterprise social media efforts occurring at Lockheed Martin came in the form of an October 2009 blog post by Adina Levin, vice president of products and co-founder of Socialtext. Describing a meeting about Enterprise OpenSocial at Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif., Levin said:
"In a room full of vendors, the most interesting presentation was Shawn Dahlen and Chris Keohane at Lockheed Martin, about how they were actually rolling out OpenSocial as part of Enterprise 2.0 initiatives in their organization."
Eureka Streams provides an open platform to support agile decision making and innovation, Lockheed Martin officials said.