This morning I had a thoroughly entertaining chat with Michael Sampson. Michael’s work, from his own website, is all about improving the capability of teams that can’t be together, to work together. Or more simply, on collaboration.

Michael’s an interesting chap, he sees the reality within enterprise, and appreciates the fact that moving from incumbent solution providers to a wholesale adoption of “in the clouds, bleeding edge” technology is a difficult ask for corporate IT departments given the regulatory situation within which they operate.

There were two main thrusts of our conversation, firstly the challenge to morphing an enterprise into a collaborative structure and secondly whch vendors will win the war in terms of solution development and deployment. I’ll talk about each on in turn.

A roadmap for change.

Enterprise 2.0 is as much, if not more, about culture change as it is technology deployment. I discussed with Michael the fact that all the solutions in the world are worthless if the organisation implementing them hasn’t embraced the cultural shift required to do so. Reflecting upon this I’m pretty much of the opinion that rather than spending time developing new technical solutions, vendors should be sweating the integration/deployment issues, ensuring that their existing solutions work within the enterprise.

My perspective is that there is an aspect of lead and wait coming into play here. Clearly the developments in terms of collaborative tools and community building platforms that exist already are far n advance of what the vast majority of enterprises use. As such I contend that development should all be around enabling those solutions to be used by enterprise rather than rolling out new ones.

Technical providers need to find a forum to combine the technological advances, along with the dialogue around culture shift that will be needed to gain the value from those advance. Their role is as much one of handholder/facilitator as it is of solution provider.

Who will win the war?

Moving on from previous posts where I discussed the possible winers in the war for the 2.0 marketplace. Michael and I discussed who would most likely be the provider par excellence moving into the 2.0 world. As I see it, the first possible scenario is that the legacy providers will slowly move the market place into the 2.0 world (introducing solutions slowly and developing via M&A activity). The second scenario is for the great disrupter – someone creating such momentum that they overcome the incumbency of Microsoft.

The (sad) reality is that myself and, I surmise, those reading this blog, are on the bleeding edge of tech-uptake. MS captures a massive chunk of the market (both consumer and enterprise) and so, to a certain extent, can dictate the terms upon which the marketplace develops. I’m still rooting for the disrupters to win, but have to admit that in a world still mired with the requirment of having an OS on computers, and with the market share MS has with OSs, it’ll be a hard struggle.

So what do others think?

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

1 Comment
  • My take on the points you and Michael make:

    much, if not more, about culture change as it is technology deployment.
    I agree and disagree. I agree that using (any) software should always be about the people and what they’re trying to do – s/w is just a tool, like a phone, desk or pen.
    I disagree that there must be a cultural change within organisations for E2.0 to be implemented. People want to share, collaborate and connect – in fact, away from their computers they do. It’s just that when we talk about tools (not just s/w but primarily) we think that we’re brining something new to people, we’re not. The E2.0 tools, though, are probably better at supporting the people in what they do and the cultural shift is away from “weighty” s/w that hasn’t always provided to ones that do – the people are having the scales drop away from their eyes and realise that they (developers) can do it – hence the “young uns” getting it as they know no different.

    Who will win the war?
    Yeah, probably agree with you both … to be fair I don’t care and have faith that te consumer world has now encroached/educated enough that we won’t put up with the crap we’ve had before (SAP and the like) … but that’s faith and not a certainty 🙂

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