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Financial Software Must Provide Social Networking Functionality


October 29, 2009

Don’t be fooled – Web 2.0 will go deep into financial software

Social networking is revolutionizing transactional systems like Government Resource Planning (GRP). Many observers recognize that Web 2.0 will affect the content and collaboration product space in business and government. Some see applicability within the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Human Resource Management (HRM) product spaces. But not transactional systems. Surely not financial management!

I’m not talking about a superficial use of Web 2.0 user interface concepts. Or widgets. I’m talking about fundamental deep integration between transactional and social networking software. At the core. Not an interface or a portal. Core. From the basic design.

We looked at public financial management trends in 2005. We found an increased interest in integrating financial and records management systems. We analyzed our feature requests. Over half of these requests covered content or collaboration. The ability to attach documents at points in a transaction cycle. The ability to narrate decisions made in the budget cycle. We realized that an effective 21st Century GRP system required integrating transactional, collaboration and content systems. To improve government results. We built some use cases as part of the design for the FreeBalance Accountability Platform.

Tim O’Rielly had just defined Web 2.0. We realized that traditional financial applications did not integrate well with content and collaboration. It was, and remains, difficult for someone to decypher a government story. Yet, it was easy to follow the history of discussions in a blog.

This realization – that Web 2.0 was going to fundamentally change our business – enabled us to design a Government 2.0 / Government Resource Planning platform. It’s true that the first software applications delivered on this platform focus on functional transactional completeness. Stay tuned. We plan to leverage this fundamental architecture more and more.

I still encounter financial and technical experts who question how Web 2.0 can apply to GRP. Or why GRP needs Web 2.0. With all the excitement about collaboration in government through social networking, it is possible to lose sight of the end game.

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Doug Hadden

Doug Hadden

Executive Vice President, Innovation at FreeBalance
Doug is responsible for identifying new global markets, new technologies and trends, and new and enhanced internal processes. Doug leads a cross-functional international team that is responsible for developing product prototypes and innovative go-to-market strategies.

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