The interesting thing about being at a conference is that you can talk to a lot of people, some of whom you know and many that you never met before. The Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston is no exception. When you talk to that many people, it helps to solidify ideas that you may have already had or (hopefully) introduces you to new ones. Here’s what is running through my head at Enterprise 2.0.
- The market for enterprise social networks is fragmenting. There are so many ISVs in this space that it is nearly impossible for all to survive as broad software players. Each has to find their points of differentiation, what makes them special to a specific group of people. The largest vendors such as SAP, IBM, and Oracle will be able to sell horizontal software for giant corporations but the smaller ones will need to focus on special needs or specific niches. The market will still have large horizontal vendors but the rest will fragment.
- Lots of vendors are talking about getting work done while few show products that do that. So, everyone has figured out that the Social Enterprise is not going to gain widespread user adoption unless companies can see real business value from it. Everyone’s messaging is now about getting work done. That’s a good thing. Few people are actually showing products that make that happen. That’s not to say no one has products that actually help in everyday work but few products support the vision. Those that do have a leg up on everyone else.
- The show floor is small. What does that say about Enterprise 2.0? In my opinion, it means the vague term is tired. Again, we can talk broadly about transforming the workplace and everyone has bought into the vision. Now it’s time to execute on that vision.
- Social analytics turns inward – and that’s good. Measuring company performance is an important management function. I saw several companies that are looking for ways to leverage what we know from data analytics, business intelligence, and social analytics to get a better picture of why things happen in companies. Most performance measures tell managers what happens. These new tools give insight into why things happen so that managers can enact change.
Overall, the Social Enterprise is maturing. That much is obvious. The renewed emphasis on business rather than philosophy is welcome. Now, it’s time for products that actually do what business needs.