What to watch this year when it comes to the enterprise? The ever-wise Dion Hinchcliffe of ZDNet has his money on the growth of SaaS and Social Computing, but he's not holding his breath.
Although, chances are you already know that, considering the constant coverage of solutions such as Yammer, Facebook, FMYI, Zoho, EC2, the powerhouse that is Google—really, I could go on and on and on.
And perhaps it's because I can go on and on and on that some remain apprehensive about accepting these solutions as reliable, or telltale of the future. A quick example: I’ve got this friend that was recently hired at a company that will remain unnamed, but let’s just say they changed the Internet, journalism, social media, the news, etc. with 140 characters or less.
For me, and likely you, the opportunity to work with such a company would be golden. But for a person like my friend, a person who doesn’t spend hours upon hours studying the lifecycle of new technologies but rather, only works with them, it can be a bit scary. (Side note: My friend asked me, “Do you think the company is really here to stay?” and it was everything I could do not to slap my own forehead and sigh. Loudly.)
Point is, it’s obvious to a lot of us where technology is going, but there’s still a great number that haven’t jumped onboard—either because these developments are still new, or because there are just too many to choose from. Hinchcliffe offers some sobering advice:
The reality is that broader social and cloud computing trends continue to evolve faster than most enterprises are able to absorb. It may be years before many organizations are comfortable with and ready to adopt either of these technologies strategically despite apparent benefits.
That said, the most we can do is continue to get the word out:
Yammer Opens its Doors, Welcomes “Yammer Community”
Remember how stoked everyone was when Facebook no longer required users to have an e-mail address from a top-tier educational institution? Well, be prepared for a similar reaction from Yammer fan. The tool that’s been dubbed by many as Twitter for the Enterprise no longer requires users to have an e-mail associated with a particular domain.
Obviously, this is a shout out to smaller companies that haven’t yet adopted a domain of their own, and will work to expand the Yammer audience. Starting March 1st, the service will be available on the iPhone as well as via desktop client.
Office 2010 is in Beta
Upgrades in Office are always exciting around these parts, but I think Microsoft’s turn towards the social realm is most interesting. A couple weeks ago we covered the Outlook Social Connector, which allows Microsoft’s e-mail program to integrate Facebook, Myspace and LinkedIn information.
For example, you won’t have to leave your e-mail to view the status updates of your colleagues in LinkedIn, no will you have to manually update their contact information. If a colleague changes their contact info within LinkedIn, it will not only automatically update within Outlook, but on your cellphone as well (if you’ve got it synced).
There’s other cool stuff to be excited about when it comes to Office 2010, like better graphic layouts, collaboration capabilities, Office Web Apps and Microsoft Mobile. Get started by downloading the beta here.
Zoho Loves Facebook
Like Google, Zoho is making a social move. Unlike Google, it's not trying to keep all of its users under one umbrella. Announced just this week, Zoho added the ability to login through Facebook Connect. That's right, forget all of your logins because apparently all you need are the credentials for everyone's favorite social network.
Zoho previously showed Facebook some love with the Zoho Facebook App, which allows users to create documents within the popular social network, and view/edit them from Zoho Writer, Sheet and Show.
Bitrix Tosses Intranet into the Cloud
Bitrix's new initiative allows hosting/service providers to install Bitrix Intranet Portal in a Virtual Private Server (VPS) or a cloud environment powered by Parallels, VMware or Amazon EC2. Customers are then granted the rights to use the solution for a given period of time without the hassle of on-premise deployment.
This particular compay's focus on SaaS is inspired by several factors, including some interesting numbers from IDC. The research firm indicates that 41% of businesses have either already purchased, or are evaluating SaaS products. Meanwhile, the SaaS share in IT budgets is expected to double in 2009-2013. Gartner votes for SaaS as well, predicting revenues will grow approximately four times faster than traditional software over the next four years—that's US$14 billion by 2013.
Enterprise 2.0 Gets Around
Wanna play? Check out some up-coming events:
"Bring your workplace, information, and processes up to real-time speed. The pace of change in technologies related to portals, content, and collaboration - everything from how you interact with customers on the web to how your employees share documents - has never been faster."
"SXSW Interactive features five days of compelling presentations from the brightest minds in emerging technology, scores of exciting networking events hosted by industry leaders and an unbeatable line up of special programs showcasing the best new websites, video games and startup ideas the community has to offer."
"The Where 2.0 Conference is where the grassroots and leading edge developers building location-aware technology intersect with the businesses and entrepreneurs seeking out location apps, platforms, and hardware to gain a competitive edge. In the O'Reilly conference tradition, Where 2.0 presents leading trends rather than chasing them."