It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that Enterprise 2.0 is a hot topic these days and organizations across the globe are scrambling to implement some aspect of it — when they can actually figure out what it means.
Forrester analysts could now be adding to that frenzy with their newest report that states that Enterprise 2.0 will become a $US 4.6 billion dollar industry by 2013.
The ReadWriteWeb gives us a good overview of the report's contents, so we are interested in reviewing the highlights of the report in relation to the new applications that are coming out and the studies completed by AIIM.
What's this $US 4.6 million being spent on? According to Forrester it's going to things like social networking tools, mashups and RSS.
Defining Enterprise 2.0
Defining Enterprise 2.0 seems like a straightforward thing — it's simply the enterprise version of tools like social networking, blogs, wikis, mashups, RSS and other Web 2.0 technologies.
Enterprise 2.0 products and services come from vendors like Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, BEA and smaller vendors like Awareness, NewsGator Technologies, Socialtext, and Jive.
In addition, according to Forrester it includes enterprise marketing tools like Facebook apps and web site/social network widgets.
So if defining Enterprise 2.0 is that easy, why do so many organizations still have trouble explaining what it is and how to implement it in their organizations. A recent study by the AIIM Market Intelligence group found that 74% of organizations still don't have a clear picture of what Enterprise 2.0 even though many acknowledge it's importance for their goals and objectives.
How Will Enterprise 2.0 Be Implemented?
It may help that both Jive Software and Socialtext have introduced new versions of their software that have given them the title “Facebook for the Enterprise”.
After social networking, spending will be done on RSS, blogs and wikis and mashups respectively.
Forrester also says that Web 2.0 tools will “fade into the fabric of enterprise collaboration suites” and that Web 2.0 will be a feature and not a product. Does this prediction speak to the end of standalone products like the social networking products mentioned above?
It certainly speaks well to enterprise vendors like Microsoft and IBM, both of whom have these types of technologies built into their suites. We talked recently about Microsoft's improvements to their blogging in SharePoint and of IBM's Smashup technology.
Challenges of Enterprise 2.0
In their report, Forrester outlines three main challenges for vendors to become successful in this industry:
- Getting past IT shops who view this type of technology as “consumer-grade” and therefore not secure
- The ability to get a hold of free versions or open source versions of the technology before investing money
- Competition with current investments in legacy enterprise software
Probably one of the most interesting and talked about challenges for organizations is that the baby boomer generation is moving on and the Gen Y crowd is coming in expecting to have these tools available to them.
Even more interesting is that we live in a time where we find at least three generations in the workforce who all have different values and expectations for their jobs. Implementing Enterprise 2.0 in this environment will be challenging to put it mildly.
While it's impossible to discount the findings of the Forrester report, a couple of points need to be carefully considered before taking it as gospel. The first is that Forrester reports are generally funded by enterprise vendors like Microsoft and IBM, which can lead to encouraging organizations to look to these vendors first for product selection — examine all your possibilities before assuming that an “enterprise suite” is truly the best option for your needs.
The second is that just because Forrester says Enterprise 2.0 is the near future for organizations, if you don't clearly understand what it is or why you are implementing this technology, you shouldn't be doing it. Technology for technology's sake is a waste of time and money.
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