Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Enterprise 2.0 : the next wave ?

As mentioned in numerous blogs and more and more conferences, Enterprise 2.0 is clearly one of the hotest topics of the moment i.e. how the new Web 2.0 services, tools and life style behaviours mostly based on UGC (User Generated Content) and social networks will enter (and exit) the walls of the Enterprise. Productivity gains and value creation are expected within the enterprise through use of advanced collaborative tools among the employees and also through new ways to connect with the customers, from marketing and sales to customer care.

Considering the investment trends in 'cloud computing' infrastructure to develop online based ‘Solutions As A Services’ (SAAS) by major players such as Microsoft, Google or Amazon’s EC2 (Elastic Cloud Computing) platform, hosting issues are on their way to be solved once clear SLAs (Service Level Agreements) are offered to third parties. The growing number of Open Source solutions and APIs available from an increasing number of players contribute to enrich the required ecosystem and favour development synergies based on mash-ups. Given this context, I would expect a high proportion of Enterprise 2.0 start-ups to be acquired in 2008 to complete the 2.0 Suites provided by bigger software providers.
Before discussing the ‘how’ and ‘what’, I do believe it is no longer a question of ‘if’ but rather one of ‘when exactly’ this shift will happen, certainly there will be a strong acceleration in 2008. Corporations are facing the irresistible human resource wave of a self trained (and for free) generation thanks to the very low barriers to try, learn and early-adopt most of the new 2.0 services. This next generation of users will, at the very least, expect to use the same tools at work that they do at home or while on the move with their mobile and wireless devices. They may also expect to experiment with even more innovative ones (also as customers) within a dynamic ecosystem of commercial (PRM) and innovative partners proactively managed by their company. This all presents an opportunity for a company to empower their employees with a strong culture of leadership and loyalty through daily innovation. The ‘Orange Start-Up Program’ and the Bluenove ‘Lab Innovation Partnership Platform’ are also about that within Orange.

Todays standard wikis,blogs and RSS feeds are often presented as the main examples of the 2.0 tools to be used at work, with solution providers such as Netcipia or Bluekiwi. A more emerging model is the use of Social Networks in the business environment, 'Business Social Networking' (BSN). I already mentioned a few months ago my perception on my Facebook profile as the Ultimate Multimedia and Real Time resume from a recruitment standpoint. The sub trends to be faced by the CIOs under this BSN umbrella are the long tail business model, the UGC management and the need for identity management in the spirit of the Open ID initiative.
Bear in mind also the new trends from start-ups such as H-Care (an OSUP partner) aimed at bringing a 3D digital assistant interface for customer care and support. Or Netineo, also a partner of the OSUP, which enables you to create your own Live and collaborative TV within your intranet. This rapidly evolving environment is confirmed by cases such as the free ERP/CRM solutions provided by Dolibarr.

It will not be easy for the CIOs to manage the three following streams : 1) the pace of change of these new ‘working styles’, 2) the dilemma between integration of new creative collaborative tools and data leak prevention, and 3) the temptation to keep contracting with major software suppliers rather than directly engaging with a wider number of innovative start-ups thus risking not to play a direct role in the development of their own innovative ecosystem.

The new Orange group web site: definitely 2.0...
Simpler, more dynamic and interactive, and you can personalize it too...check it out!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

"The smartest people work for someone else"

The principles of Distributed Innovation.
Joy's Law, attributed to Sun Microsystems co-founder Bill Joy, emphasizes the essential knowledge problem that faces many enterprises today, that is, that in any given sphere of activity most of the pertinent knowledge will reside outside the boundaries of any one organization, and the central challenge of those charged with the innovation mission is to find ways to access that knowledge.
'No matter who you are, most of the smartest people work for someone else.'Say again?

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Légère embellie dans les relations entre start-up innovantes et grands comptes

Article Les Echos

'Selon une enquête menée par l'IE Club, malgré des améliorations, la méfiance prévaut toujours...'

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Video: Orange Lab by...Orange Lab !

Orange lance sa télévision sur l'Innovation

Feeback and trends from LeWeb 3, Dec.2007 edition

LeWeb3 event succeded for 2 days to make Paris the wordwide capital of the Web 2.0 trends.
Orange sponsored the event, and it has been a great opportunity to demonstrate the services (Pikeo, Soundtribes, BubbleTop, Whose Game as well as the Orange Island in Second Life) through a nicely set booth. In addition, i participated to the Start-Up Contest jury. Beyond the winners (Goojet #1, PlyMedia #2, #3, Erepublik and SplitGames both as #4), i noticed the following trends.
Definitely convergence again between Web and Mobile. Through Goojet of course which allows easy and fast creation of widget application on the web and transfer to the mobile. I still prefer though the 'mob-it' approach from NPTV we are supporting in the 'Orange Start-Up Program (OSUP)' since it enables web contents to be sent to a much broader existing handset base thanks to a Java based application approach. Also a convergence going from mobile to web with Zyb allowing you to transfer your phone contacts, your 'real' friends meaning your friends in real life, back to the web to start developing a social network dynamics on top of your real friends and not the opposite way i.e. trying to end up becoming real friends with virtual ones collected over time from your different web communities and social network services .
Still the confirmation of video as the emerging 2.0 format. In addition to the presence of Seesmic, Loic Lemeur's new start-up, interesting to note that PlyMedia was given the #2 position for its platform allowing publishers to add multi-function layers on top of a video content such as text, or ads or even interactivity through IM or Chats elements. I was also pleased to meet again Netineo (not part of the competition) who developed a great Live TV platform. Not mentioning the presence of among the sponsors and exhibitors.
The virtual words and 3D platforms were also very much present. Both Erepublik and SpiltGames came in the top 5 of the contest thus enhancing the importance of games as a key market place. On our side WhoseGame got some good feedback on the booth. I am also looking forward to follow in 2008 what SongSong, member of the OSUP, and its new team, headed by Nicolas Gaume as CEO, will launch in the area of community based virtual universes. Finally with a different approach to Second Life (go and visit our Orange Island), the start-up Yoowalk presented a great way to 'Walk around the Web' in a 3D city where I, my avatar, walks along or inside the YouTube or Myspace buildings and therefore meet also people (visitors of the site at this moment) and then goes back home to further personalize its house with different contents appearing on the walls such as videos for instance.
Overall it was still quite striking that a majority of the 30 start-ups pitches were poorly presented. Presentation skills are still an issue and most of the jury members recognized that the entrepreneurs are not preparing this exercice well enough. It is probably not yet obvious to the young CEOs to choose between the Demo and sales driven approach or the 10 questions flow requested by the jury in an exhaustive and well ordered manner. The presenter has to face a different set of audiences with different expectations, the other visitors at the conference, its pairs and sometimes competitors, the VCs, the possible corporate and business partners and the jury, often made of a mix of the formers. There is definitely room for improvement in this area.
Regarding feedback, we were quite pleased to see that BubbleTop is more and more mentioned versus Netvibes by some bloggers who analyzed and compared the evolution of both products.
On the conference side I was very impressed by the presentation from JP Rangaswami, CIO Global Services at BT which describes the challenges and opportunities for existing corporations and their current organizations to welcome and embrace the next generation of workers who will be super 'trained' with these news ways of communicating, collaborating and sharing. Definitely to me one of the key dimension of what Web 3.0 might mean i.e. how this Web 2.0 wave will impact the Enterprise and which companies will create competitive advantage out of it while others will suffer from it ?