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.

No comments: