As conferences go, Enterprise 2.0 was less corporate than some, but more than most. Which may be to your taste, depending on your appetites. But while that aspect of the show held less appeal for me, it was nonetheless well worth attending, to determine how disruptive technologies are impacting real world businesses and operations and what their questions are regarding same.
With all due respect to the presenters from Fedex, Pfizer, Wachovia et al, the scene stealers for me were the Central Intelligence Agency.
While the application of Mediawiki (the wiki software that powers Wikipedia) to enterprise tasks as a next generation knowledge sharing tool is popular to the point of being a cliche, the CIA has driven the process further than most. Intellipedia, as an example, has replaced Powerpoint as the basis for presentations.
It will shock no one to learn that the contribution guidelines that power Intellipedia differ from those that guide Wikipedia about as you’d expect. For one, the neutral point of view favored by Wikipedia is unacceptable in intellgence gathering, when the premium is often on who knew what, and when.
But you might be surprised to learn just how much the agency was able to learn from Wikipedia, as amply demonstrated by their articulation of a few of RedMonk’s core precepts. “Me first” was their version of “It’s All About Incentive.” “Start small, to get them past the first couple of edits,” their take on our “barriers to entry” meme. And so on.
The CIA presenters also successfully dispelled a few myths regarding quote unquote Enterprise 2.0 deployments, the most important one being the assumed generational gap. It’s popular to imply that older workers cannot adapt to “these newfangled apps,” but the average age of Intellipedia contributors is 69, each with something approaching 40 years of service. While I’m not sure that says good things about the demographics of our intelligence service, it is an indication that wikis need not be anathema to the old hands.
Besides the CIA, here are three post-Enterprise 2.0 thoughts.
The Future is Cloudy
While none of Amazon, Google, or Salesforce successfully made the case to the likes of the California Public Utilities Commission, Northeastern University, or Sudler & Hennessey that all of their applications should be running in the cloud, that was merely a rhetorical exercise to begin with. What did become apparent during David Berlind’s Evening in the Clouds event and the ensuing few days at the show, is that cloud technologies either have or are in the process of crossing the chasm from novelty to mainstream option. Traditional reservations remain, but the answers are coming more quickly and are more convincing than ever.
Consumer Applications are Influencing the Enterprise
Which we’ve known for some time, frankly, but the validation was appreciated. Reactions to this trend vary, with some enterprises seeking to replicate consumer technologies with enterprise alternatives and others seeking to incorporate them in place. In any event, opportunities abound for vendors to service the needs of enterprises that want to collaborate as seamlessly and efficiently as their kids do. Expect this trend to accelerate as we see buildouts around pieces like Shindig.
Enterprise 2.0 is Not Limited in its Appeal
True, there is no definition of Enterprise 2.0; truth be told, it’s even less understood than Web 2.0. But the disruption it represents has found fans in widely disparate industries. Very often when we speak of particular technologies or trends, part of the discussion is the markets or verticals to which they have specific appeal. By virtue of its light weight, accessibility, and, yes, cost, Enterprise 2.0’s appeal seems to be more universal.