Historically, we’ve seen that the applicaions that have been popular/successful in the consumer world have been usually successful in the enterprise space. Instant messaging is a great example. What started out as ICQ, has been so immensly valuable and impactful that it made its obvious entry within the enterprise. Microsoft has products like Live Communication Server and Office Communicator, IBM has SameTime and then we have Jabber. On the other hand, successful enterprise concepts have made their way into the consumer space. Take email for instance.
Besides historic trends, there are several semantics that play a role in determining the success of a software within the enterprise. I have been thinking lately about the value that an enterprise setting adds to the successful deployment and use of a particular software. Jeff Clavier made a valid point about the obvious tension between the legacy IT department, which runs on a command/control structure and the open/participation oriented nature of social software. I want to focus on the positive side of an enterprise setting.
What does an enterprise setting offer:
1. Authentication and accountability: Since a user can be traced through Active Directory (good bye annonymous comments and spam!), it can add measurable value to the social aspect of the enterprise. Various aspects of social software can be applied with respect to group policies and Access Control Lists.
2. Accountable uptime. No downtime (see Salesforce.com’s recent experience.)
3. Better integration with existing meaningful application. Enterprises already have a rich set of ERP applications. The social software can add a new layer of UI metaphors that will dramatically increase the value of existing ERP applications.
Some of the thoughts bouncing in my mind include:
How long does it take for a successful consumer application to be adopted within the enterprise? (my guess is two years, from when it became prevalent in the consumer space. Would it be faster/slower with Web 2.0?
Which Web 2.0 concepts make the most sense in the enterprise? (I know Jeff Nolan and Ross Mayfield (SocialText) are very optimistic about Wikis and I totally agree. What is beyond that?) I liked Charlene Li’s report on social computing.
If Jeff (Clavier or Nolan) stumble upon this, I would like to hear your take on this.
Zoli Erdos, has very detailed notes of TiE’s panel discussion on Web 2.0 in the enterprise. I found it extremely useful.
Anshu Sharma, has a list of open questions on the topic on his Wise Zen blog.