New research we've carried out among our customers shows that businesses are very concerned about attracting and retaining young talent into their companies.

I wonder if companies felt that way when I graduated college. As I remember it, back in the late 80s, businesses had the attitude that I was lucky that I had a job with them and could care less if I didn't like my PC or that email and other critical systems weren't accessible via my cell phone (probably because the only model you could get back then had an LED screen and cost $2,000). However, they did throw money at us if they wanted to get us on board, so, perhaps we were better off.

By now you probably have images in your head of me screaming, "Get off my lawn!" It's not that bad. I don't harbour ill will toward new market entrants because business is taking into account that this group has expectations and embedded behaviour about how they will be able to communicate and collaborate. In fact, I believe that by taking into account how ingrained technology is in the lives of the Generation-Y, businesses may actually be able to save millions on developing their next generation applications.

At Burton Group, we're initiating coverage in the Application Platform Service of Social Network Application Platforms or SNAP and I will be heading up this research area. As part of this coverage area we will help businesses to understand how they can leverage Gen-Ys' (and to some degree Gen-Xs') experience, adoption and participation in social network platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to create modern collaborative applications and take advantage of lower training costs, the existing network connections and reduced application maintenance costs.

When Instant Messaging first became popular, companies attempted to take advantage of that infrastructure by deploying company owned IM platforms. However, users didn't log into those platforms, but instead continued to use their personal IM platform. This is just one example that illustrates how businesses saw the value of enabling collaboration and communication across the business and with other businesses, but are unsuccessful in getting their users to adopt the internal platform.

With SNAP, businesses can leverage users' adoption and connectivity with these platform. They can distribute non-confidential alerts and updates through the network, which will show up on user's cell phones in minutes.

For the stodgy old IT'ers screaming to me to get off their lawn now because I don't have a clue of enterprise needs for confidentiality and security, all I have to say is "Wake Up!" I wasn't were you are when first considering this concept, but I definitely expressed enterprise hesitations and concerns. Ultimately, my peers convinced me that our customers' executives are very much aware of the pain of attracting solid Gen-Y talent and how current corporate cultures toward SNAPs could impair their ability to compete.

I'm a firm believer that SNAPs will play a significant role in the creation of next generation corporate applications. I believe that there's great opportunities for these SNAPs to approach businesses now and talk to them about their unique needs to maintain some security and confidentiality in return for fee-based use enabling SNAPs to create a secondary revenue stream on top of the advertising revenue stream they are currently relying on.