Consumerization hit the enterprise heavy this year, reflecting the massive adoption of popular platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Veterans were skeptical at first, but as we close out 2010, the horizon is social for as far as the eye can see. Here's a look back at the struggle and the themes that got us to this point.
1. Collaboration is Destroying the Enterprise
Bad news first: This year we struggled with inefficiency caused by the very technologies intended to help us get more work done. Employees of the enterprise were promised flexibility and convenience via the integration of tools like e-mail, instant messaging, status updates and the numerous communication platforms that have influenced workflow, but many claimed that this seemingly infinite access to information was nothing but a really, really big distraction.
Moreover, many wondered whether or not our new found love for social software was even safe. "Every bit of information exchange within the organization and with outside stakeholders must be auditable," said Poul J. Hebsgaard of cBrain. "There must be an audit trail and the kitchen sink approach to archiving of all information exchange and subsequent use of fancy search tools to retrieve information deemed to be material in a lawsuit will not work or at least be very, very expensive. Enterprise 2.0 tools emerging as 'social media tools for the enterprise' are as far as I can see not addressing these issues."
- Enterprise 2.0 Can Make Us Inefficient: Use in Moderation
- Social Computing is Destroying the Enterprise, Yet Solutions Arrive in Waves
- Social Computing is Eating Corporate
- Social Software Has No Regard for Privacy and Compliance
2. Collaboration is Building the Enterprise
If there were an award for Most Dedicated Cheerleader of Social Business Solutions, surely it would go to Marc Benioff. Right from the start, the Salesforce's CEO was a huge supporter of workplace tools going the Facebook route, and proved it with the release of the Chatter application. Several other big names fought for their piece of the same pie, including Yammer, SocialText and MangoSpring.
Meanwhile, Cisco stepped into the ring with Quad, looking to challenge both Microsoft and Google on a platform level, and Jive grew to be one of the most sought-after social software providers in the market.
- Cisco Quad: A New Collaboration Platform for the Enterprise
- What's Trending in Enterprise Microblogging?
- Yammer to Become Fully Loaded Enterprise Social Network
- Salesforce Chatter: Business Collaboration App and Development Platform
- 7+ Social Software Platforms for Enterprise Collaboration
- Consumer vs. Enterprise Tech: Bridging the Innovation Gap
3. Everything in the Cloud
The push for cloud computing this year was epic. Google's torch came in the form of a marketplace for business apps and several updates to Google Docs, among other things, while Microsoft released its own online versions of Office programs to stay in the game.
Team Salesforce touted that the coming of the next iteration of cloud computing (Cloud 2) would be characterized by the addition of social networking and real-time access to information in cloud applications. The company also announced Database.com, a hardware and software-free database alternative for storing the next wave of enterprise applications. Meanwhile, Amazon kicked out one full year of free cloud services for new AWS members.
- Google’s Marketplace Puts Everything in the Cloud
- Cloud Computing is Everything
- Salesforce Challenges Oracle, Changes Future of the Cloud
- Amazon to Offer One Full Year of Free Cloud Services
4. Mobile Mayhem
The world population is closing in on 7 billion and, according to Microsoft partner architect Marc Davis, there are 5 ½ billion mobile devices in existence. Needless to say, working on the go is kind of a big deal. In fact, a survey from market research firm IDC found that smartphones, tablets and other app-enabled devices will overtake shipment of PCs in the next 18 months.
Here's a breakdown: In 2011, mobile manufacturers are expected to ship 377 million of these devices, and in 2012, the number is likely to reach 462 million, exceeding the PC, whose shipments are predicted to reach 356 million this year, 402 million in 2011 and 448 million by 2012.
Vendors are behaving accordingly:
- Edit your Google Docs on Android, iPhone and iPad
- 5 Tips to Improve Your Customer's Mobile Experience
- Mobile Enterprise: Mobile Devices to Surpass PCs
- Intranets: Smartphones Have Radically Shifted Expectations
5. E-mail Powers Through
There was a lot of talk early this year about the death of e-mail, but many changed their tune back to the original melody when Wave was put to rest.
On the contrary, the inbox became the de facto portal for enterprise communication and collaboration by going social. Clients such as Gmail, Outlook and Lotus Notes have embraced an extensible architecture, enabling third-parties to develop and distribute their own add-ons, and there's been plenty of activity with popular platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.