Enterprise 2.0: my $0.02

Enterprise 2.0: my $0.02

Summary: Enterprise 2.0 is over for another year and despite a poor start, the event turned out well.


Enterprise 2.0 is over for another year and despite a poor start, the event turned out well. I attribute the poor start to the performance of Oracle and Microsoft: two of Jevon MacDonald's 'drag queens.' Both seemed tired, dated and out of touch with the mood of the new generation of technology hungry decision makers. Oracle trying to pitch CRM apps as E2.0 is disingenuous. Sandy Kemsley neatly encapsulates the mood:

After 30+ minutes of lightweight “here’s what Enterprise 2.0 is and why it’s important”, he finally started to talk about what new and exciting things that they’re doing, but I’d mostly nodded off by then...He did talk about their Social CRM application and about what’s happening in their internal AppsLab skunkworks, but it just wasn’t enough to hold my attention and I slipped out early.

I didn't last as long as Sandy and was more scathing. Microsoft completely misread the show and ended up getting its clock cleaned, first by IBM and later by Jive Software. Much of the criticism was leveled in the Twitterverse. Here's a sampling captured by Luis Benitez:

trib: #e20 MS failing dismally at showing off Sharepoint collab tools. IBM totally ate their lunch.

kpearlson: watcihng MS demonstrate SharePoint in an 'out of the box' manner...seems very slow and not as intuitive as Lotus Connections

gialyons: hearing Lotus Connections (Suzanne and Heidi) is winning the E2.0 debate with LLiu and Sharepoint. No surprise here.

eughenes: MS presenting SharePoint's as social computing platform, nice try but not serious at all. It is NOT a SC platform.

jhariani: MS getting pummelled on their SharePoint for SNS demo: http://community.e2conf.com/community/sessions/monday/t1

kreid451: listening to SharePoint demo at E2.0. It's really not in the same ballpark with Lotus Connections, the last demo

This is a biased opinion but one I saw shared over and over again. I later caught up with panel moderator and Burton Group analyst Mike Gotta. He was getting his ear well and truly bent by Microsoft's Lawrence Liu. Liu was of the view that attendees wanted to see 'the SOA stack' while IBM showed functionality. I find that statement extraordinary. As I pointed out to Lui: customers don't care what's under the hood. They want to see stuff that works. It's no surprise to see Sam Lawrence, CMO of Jive and creative marketer of the moment taking potshots at Microsoft, again using the Twitterverse in support of his argument.

Speaking of Twitter, my panel did a great job diving into microblogging. Although it was dominated by discussions in and around Twitter - something which is rapidly becoming a noun and verb - the floor debate was much livelier than I expected. While many think behind the firewall Twitter in one shape or another is a done deal, not everyone's as gung ho. Again, Sandy Kemsley:

I’m not convinced about the value of micro-blogging to me, but I’m not ready to write it off: I likely just haven’t had my a-ha moment yet. That being said, this week is the first time that I met someone who, on hearing my name, told me that they just started following me on Twitter.

As always at these events, the hallway conversations are the best. I enjoyed meeting up with Andrew McAfee, who I hadn't seen in a couple of years. I quipped that Enterprise 20 is still emerging, suggesting that industry is possibly at the 'peek over the parapet' level. He smiled wryly and we engaged in a discussion about what it takes to make these new technologies stick. I suggested that I'm not hearing enough about the need to engage with social scientists and not the pseudo scientists I see pontificating on this topic. He agrees but says that in academia, social scientists tend to be anti-technology and are often characterized as closet Marxists and/or anarchists. That's a view with which I sympathize. It plays to my theory that talking about 'social' applications in business is about as welcome as a trades union organizer in the boardroom. How this use of language problem and perceptive void works out is as yet unknown but I was encouraged to learn that Pfizer engaged organizational psychologists in figuring out how they'd introduce social computing into its business.

Culture figured heavily in the unconference sessions that Ross Mayfield kicked off. These for me were the best sessions of the whole event. They stimulated the most engaging conversations as delegates grappled with the real problems of implementing change. Again, this is a topic I believe is seriously under represented by those who believe that opening a blog or wiki and then anticipating spontaneous bottom up growth is all there it to it. I can say from experience that view is a recipe for failure.

I sense that change is in the air. At conferences like this, you'll always find plenty of what Stowe Boyd calls 'edglings' and he's right. Even so, in hearing how organizations like Lockheed Martin and the CIA are enjoying success, there is genuine hope that the age old nut of releasing value through collaborative networks will finally gain significant traction in the coming year or so.

Update: Ross Mayfield's analysis provides further insights into the unconference part of the event.

Topics: IBM, Collaboration, Enterprise Software, Microsoft, Software, Social Enterprise

Dennis Howlett

About Dennis Howlett

Dennis Howlett is a 40 year veteran in enterprise IT, working with companies large and small across many industries. He endeavors to inform buyers in a no-nonsense manner and spares no vendor that comes under his microscope.

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  • Don't care what's under the hood?

    I my experience not caring about what's under the hood is
    about the fastest way possible to end up with a steaming
    pile of crap that will be both be a nightmare to maintain
    and will have constant errors that will severely detract from

    Maybe someday the software industry will be able to
    deliver full enterprise applications that just work, play
    nicely with your existing infrastructure, and can be
    integrated with other applications; but I don't see it
    happening any time soon. Today vendors are more
    interested in selling consulting as support.
    Erik Engbrecht
    • They Have To!

      Just take a look see at ALL the securiy holes that happen with simplified "integrated with other applications".

      And NO it's not a open/closed source issue. It's a real live software issue. Why? Because developers look to much at codeing and to little at securing.

      Mediocrity, It takes less time and most people Won't notice the difference Until it's Too Late.
      • So what do you say to...

        ...the CIA and Lockheed Martin, 2 of the most secure conscious organizations on the planet? Do you honestly think they simply ignored this aspect in their efforts?
  • RE: Enterprise 2.0: my $0.02

    Fire the "new generation of technology hungry decision makers".

    Get some experenced staff on board.

    Clearly Enterprise 2.0 is not ready for prime time.
  • There comes a point where IT....

    loses its efficiency and starts costing the company instead of adding to the bottom line. Enterprise 2.0, SOA and a host of other ethereal ideas is that point. CEO's are getting sick hearing about something they can't touch and only drains the bank account.

    As far as MS getting their clock cleaned, they have two things - Windows and Office. Everything else they touch is turning to dung. And now Windows and Office both are being called to show their real advantages to the business world. And it's simply not there.
  • MS infrastructure heavy

    as much as i like MS systems and office i find their current development products extremely complicated (convoluted) and very, very expensive. It would cost me over $5,000 (VStudio, Office, Sharepoint, etc.) plus $2,500/year just to "start" a reasonable share-point site. The time it takes to learn MS protocol (dotNet, aspX, etc...) is usually longer than developing an entire web site using many open source offerings.

    It appears that MS is attempting to make the -desktop as the web- rather than the desktop as an -interface to the web-.

    Sometimes, with MS, i feel like i am driving a 10-speed semi to go to the corner store.