Enterprise Social Software is Mainstream


24 March 2007

Enterprise Social Software has gone mainstream. I say this based on the fact that the analysts are now releasing stacks of research on this area. Forrester is a good example (and one of the better companies out there):

Efficiency Gains And Competitive Pressures Drive Enterprise Web 2.0 Adoption. The article is clear: Web 2.0 technologies are hitting the mainstream both in consumer and business contexts. […] Almost all of the CIOs that we surveyed recognized Web 2.0 as more than a passing fad. Any questions?

CIOs Want Suites For Web 2.0. The people responsible for technology in the enterprise have strong desire to purchase Web 2.0 technologies — blogs, wikis, podcasts, RSS, social networking, and content tagging — as a suite, as well as an equally strong desire to purchase these technologies from large, incumbent software vendors. This resonates with what I hear elsewhere: I spent Thursday with Oracle in their Redwood Shores headquarters. They traditionally have a good relationship with the CIO/CTO community and their focus is on integration over innovation That is not to say that they do not innovate, but that where a choice has to be made the focus is squarely on solving the integration challenges. (That this suits their aggressive acquisition strategy well is another, not altogether unrelated, matter.)

The message to startup companies in the Enterprise Social Software / Web 2.0 space is very clear: your exit is a trade sale. VCs and entrepreneurs take note.

Social Computing: How Networks Erode Institutional Power, And What to Do About It, is typical of the crop of Web 2.0 “what does it mean” articles. Individuals increasingly take cues from one another rather than from institutional sources like corporations, media outlets, religions, and political bodies, argues the authors, and companies must react by making social computing a strategic asset and by listening more and talking less.

The ROI Of Blogging: The “Why” And “How” Of External Blogging Accountability, suggests that by following a three-step process, marketers can create a concrete picture of the key benefits, costs, and risks that blogging presents and understand how they are likely to impact business goals. It doesn’t get any more mainstream than this.

And in case you think it is only Forrester that are on to this, have a look at How businesses are using Web 2.0 (2023 update: it is available from Finextra) from McKinsey. Yes, that’s right, Web 2.0 is now a strategic management issue. They even provide a handy nine-point reference to what constitutes Web 2.0, though it seems designed to show the confusion at McKinsey rather than to really help anybody:

You get the picture, I’m sure. Web 2.0 is mainstream; old hat. See you at ETech next week to look at the new stuff?

Man! I miss the O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conferences….