I have heard from several people that 2007 is going to be the year that social software makes it’s way into the enterprise. Looking back, 2006 was the year of Video, 2005 the year of the blog?, somewhere in there Podcasting changed everything about audio, and social networking has helped a lot of people get laid.
The year for Enterprise 2.0. Powerful idea, and I can see it going a few different ways. The ways I want it to happen, and the way it will happen are probably going to be two different things.
If 2007 is going to be the year of Enterprise 2.0, then chances are that means that web 2.0 is going to be brought into corporate tools. That’s the obvious answer for some, but it’s not where many of us want to see Enterprise 2.0 go.
The ideal Year of Enterprise 2.0 could be more accurately called The Year the Enterprise Woke Up.
In 2007 we are going to see major vendors begin to push new product lines that make use of Ajax, Blogs and Wikis at an entirely new level. We will see some major customers make a shift to using these tools and some great case studies will probably emerge.
1 – I predict that IBM will release a suite of tools that includes internal blogging, social bookmarking, standardized framework for tagging of content across any platform. Reasonably smart companies will pickup this toolkit, but they will also have to be unreasonably wealthy, because IBM will bundle in a hell of a lot of expensive consulting. The consulting will not focus on the social and design issues around adoption and usage, but will focus on integration and marketing of the tool inside the enterprise. This will result in engineering teams and possibly marketing departments using the tools, but executives and front line workers alike will be left confused.
2 – Microsoft will, as announced, bundle a wiki product with Sharepoint. This may be bundled into all of their versions of Sharepoint, or Sharepoint 2007 Gold Wiki Edition(tm) will become the 10th version of the sharepoint product line. This wiki functionality will NOT integrate nicely into other platforms, and when installed will probably languish unused.
3 – At DEMO or other similar announcement-focused conferences, we will see at least a dozen SaaS enterprise toolkits made available who have been funded before they have an actual product. Most will ignore the more human side of enterprise software and will act more as an extension of Office 2.0 rather than a full embrace of Enterprise 2.0
4 – Confluence will most likely emerge as one of the big winners in the Wiki Space. We will probably see Ross Mayfield lash out in frustration, most of us will recognize that he is frustrated but is condemned to being the guy who put the most work into opening this space, only to have the much younger, but much more business savvy Atlassian take more market share. Google will not make any great new plays with Jot and Joe Kraus and the other Jot executives will either be gone from Google or will be distracted with new, fun, googly projects. Ross may surprise us, and I really hope he does, he deserves it.
5 – As the Enterprise market warms to these toolkits, some will start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. A market will get carved out for some of these companies, of which very few will be large enterprises, most will be small companies, 100 employees or less. They will adopt SaaS tools that help them share ideas better, and more often, they will not be as preoccupied with collaborative tools that focus on document creation, or knowledge storage.
6 – An all star team of consultants will form who will be one of the few groups able to lead companies through a process of Adoption, Integration and Normalization of social software toolkits and the re development of corporate org charts to address the new, flattened, world. The major consulting firms will come out with their own consulting “products” around Enterprise 2.0, but they will struggle with it as their best consultants will break off to join looser and more creative consulting groups, now that they have access to the necessary low-cost tools.
7 – Harvard Business Review will publish several Enterprise 2.0 articles, 2 written by Andrew MacAfee and at least one more by someone unexpected. These will be more focused on using new Web 2.0 toolkits to spur innovation, or to do your Knowledge Management.