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."

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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.

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, 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.

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:

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.

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