Enterprise 2.0: From Novelty to Cost of Doing Business

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There was not a lot new at Enterprise 2.0 this year. And that’s a profoundly good thing.

Gone are the days, fortunately, when blogs were a foreign word within enterprises. With everyone from ESPN to Oprah aggressively promoting their Twitter channels, awareness of quote unquote 2.0 collaboration and social media technologies is at an all time high, and with it has come acceptance and even adoption. While I spent most of my time at the show, as I do more and more these days, in the hallway track the sessions I was able to attend were notable for their pragmatic embrace of tools that would have been inconceivable even a year ago.

Sure, it’s a self-selecting audience to some extent, but the speed at which these tools are flowing into the enterprise is borderline startling. Gone is the novelty. Even the traditional barriers to entry for tools such as Twitter – absurd, CYA conversations about the ROI of such approaches – are falling in the face of simple and correct arguments that such tools, in many cases, are nothing less or more than a cost of doing business. Like email, they’ve become basic, necessary infrastructure.

Not everywhere, of course: there’s no shortage of businesses that are anti-2.0. But from Electronic Arts (“we get it!”) to JetBlue to MyBarackObama.com, there are any number of businesses and government agencies that do, in fact, get it. They get that whatever their personal feelings might be vis a vis a channel like Twitter, if their customers are there they need to be there. They get that the fact that a fifth of the world’s population is on Facebook and spends 20 minutes on it per day is important. And they get that these and others technologies may inform the direction of their own corporate infrastructure, assuming that Facebook, Twitter and so on don’t become that infrastructure.

Also interesting – besides the voracious governmental appetite for 2.0 tech, which I’ve documented before – was the increasing role that cloud applications will play. To the extent that one firm there turned it into a verb, as in “they need to cloud those apps.” Again, this isn’t new, but it’s validation that the cloud is top of mind when it comes to infrastructure selection and architectural planning.