2007: The Year of Enterprise 2.0?

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

4Confluence 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.

7Harvard 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.

What else do you see happening in 2007? I’d love to hear from Rod Boothby, Jeff Nolan, Euan Semple, Ross, Stowe and Dave.

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23 thoughts on “2007: The Year of Enterprise 2.0?

  1. I definitely think you are on the money with no.6. The big consulting firms are circling this stuff at the moment but as I said to someone on IM recently they would need personality transplants. I don’t mean that rudely but most of them just don;t get this stuff.

    I have also had loads of conversations with others involved in this field and we all agree that there is the possibility for a new model of consulting. In fact I don’t even like calling it consulting as I’d rather put a space between the way we do things with the way they were done in the past.

    In the same way as managers are going to have to move from command and control to the much subtler art of influencing so too those involved in helping organisations from the outside need to be much subtler in their approaches and a million miles away from the learned dependency of traditional consulting.

    Lastly the myth of there being a single solution is unsustainable in a web environment. There are many possible paths and what matters more than the destination is the state of mind of the travelers!

  2. Good post and hi, Jevon. Seems to me that beginning to bring all the interactivity and two-wayness more tangibly into enterprise dynamics around getting things done will create a fundamental resurgence of more process driven *consulting* (let’s called it facilitation infused with experience-based expertise) .. which may eventually come to be called e-OD or OD 2.0 ?

    The rapidly-growing mass customization of work enabled or necessitated by social software being used for more practical day-to-day collaboration and the offering of standardized solutions that support big-consulting-firm business models are fundamentally dissonant. But many enterprises have established buying channels for consulting solutions, and so will spend and waste a lot of time and money.

  3. Will enterprise wake up? I think so – and I think you’re right about the loose collaborative consultancy model. We’re experts at the tools that can free us from the office and the commute, why would we not employ them to keep overhead minimal and employees happy?

  4. I do think that IBM and Microsoft will jump on the enterprise 2.0 bandwagon in a big way, but unfortunately for users this will be delivered in very much the enterprise 1.0 fashion – bloated software that works great for IT but not so well for users.

    The wiki market will, IMO, hit some turbulence this year when people realize that it’s not really a swiss army knife, it does require some structure and moderation in order to be useful. Products like Confluence and Socialtext are the leaders in this space because they have gone well beyond being “just wikis” and offer a lot of functionality that fits well within enterprises. I don’t think either vendor can claim a huge lead, or even small one at this point, over the other. It’s very much a horse race and the end result is that users will benefit.

    I think your prediction #5 is an interesting one but also is one that is backwards. Small companies don’t have the same needs for collaboration that large companies do, therefore SaaS delivered products are more likely to be transaction focused, which for this market is great because they have been ignored by packaged app vendors. Anything that helps small business achieve real productivity gains and drive revenue will be a success.

  5. Jevon:

    Happy Holidays…

    Good stuff… First hand I’ve seen how challenging it it to move organizations in this new inclusive direction. I’ve also been testing both Social Text and Confluence and see advantages in each… although the internal and external flexibility that comes with Confluence makes it a true winner.

    I look forward to seeing how outside consultants will help move organizations forward in this new culture … as it is something that, in many ways, has to be driven from the inside out and from the bottom (or at least middle) and then up.

    Other barriers also include to this change also include corporate communications who worry about being able to control the message.

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  7. You are right on the money with #6. This is something i’ve been wanting to build this for a while. I’ve got a built in group of target clients interested, just no consultants to take on the jobs.

    When are you launching Firestoker? I’d like to learn more about it – will you launch before our Under the Radar conference in March?

  8. Look to Japan circa 1998 to forecast technology trends? DTT Docomo was launched close to ten years ago, ramped to 25 million users in 2 years. The Iphone just hit the U.S and surpassed 1M. Flexible software that improves communication, collaboration and productivity will continue to be developed and continue to help fast companies build value. The question becomes can large corporations look outward when they have yet to really get a handle on the inside. One promising sign is that P&G will rely on outside researchers, inventors and scientists to develop next gen products. Is anyone working on the tools that support this iniative at P&G? Email gsmith@caswellsmith.com if you any intel.

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