Oliver Marks takes a detailed look at GE's new SupportCentral collaboration backbone. It's pretty impressive and a strong hint at where collaboration is going in the enterprise:
The numbers are huge: 400,000 global users in 6,000+ locations around world, all working within a 100% web interface available in 20 languages (your user interface language is defined by your sign in permissions). The system gets over 25 million web hits a day, greater than employee usage of Google and Yahoo combined. Users have created over 50,000 communities with over 100,000 experts signed up to answer questions and manage information; experts are GE workers with full-time jobs who use the system because it helps them do their job better.
Everything is behind the firewall except for 'pinholes' to external destinations which allow external vendors, suppliers and customers to collaborate on specific projects . There are 30,000 external users who come in through the firewall pinholes to participate in specific communities. The system is so large that GE have their own internal cloud, with hosting costs lower than Amazon's S3.
One detail is missing, however: How much of this was built with open source? I followed up with Oliver to ask, and he didn't know beyond the fact that it's comprised of Java and .Net. GE uses a lot of JBoss, as well as a range of other open-source technologies, including one with which I'm very familiar. :-)
How much of this technology made it into SupportCentral? I'd be intrigued with the answer, and the reasons why (or why not) GE chose to use them.