I debated posting on this particular article since it is not very objective but there are a few points that should be called out:
1. The purpose of the keynotes for the Enterprise 2.0 conference was to stimulate innovative thinking and to be somewhat though-provoking. The conference guidelines were clear that speakers were not to anchor their presentations around typical marketing and testimonial-like content. To the extent that some vendors might have not met expectations in that regard, I think the event advisory board and track chairs need to reconsider, or at least better police, presentation materials.
2. I've commented on the problems I have with Microsoft and the way it is misusing (in my opinion) the SharePoint team blog to market and advertise its Community Kit efforts. The technologies emerging from CodePlex are not officially supported by Microsoft in the manner it supports formal products and services. There is also no guarantee that anything made available through CodePlex will actually end up in any future release of SharePoint Products & Technologies. And, in some cases, the components pose risks. As one example, using Chatterbox for instant messaging can result in a compliance issue.
3. While "in theory" CodePlex is a community effort, it appears (and I remain open to being proven incorrect), at this point to be heavily influenced and driven by Microsoft itself. I'm not sure I see a "community" yet.
4. Microsoft is between a rock and a hard-place. With product release cycles of around 2-3 years, and design factors locked down so early, it cannot react quickly when the market changes. This is the case when it comes to technologies commonly associated with Web 2.0 / Enterprise 2.0. Organizations will likely continue to role out WSS 3.0 and MOSS 2007 for a variety of reasons. The decision is broader than just social software.
But I would recommend that when business requirements point to systems that are bests enabled through social software tools (e.g., blogs, wiki, tagging, social bookmarks, XML syndication, social networking), that enterprise strategists not defacto assume that Microsoft has doe a thorough job of delivering those capabilities in the current released versions.
Bottom Line: MOSS 2007 and WSS should not be positioned as a social computing platform right now - it will take another major release. Due diligence in terms of technology assessment, keeping an open mind, adopting an architectural approach and realizing that third-party vendors can be a viable option are all good practices to adopt.
100 "Next-Generation" SharePoint Business Apps Coming
Mary Jo also reports that Derek Burney, general manager of Microsoft's SharePoint Platform and Tools group, will commit today at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference to delivering 100 "next-generation" business applications (not templates) over the next 12 months
to SharePoint usersfor internal use by Microsoft employees.
Sandy Kemsley, who's covering Enterprise 2.0 in her EbizQ Column 2 blog, didn't mention anything about this topic in her Enterprise 2.0: Derek Burney item. The same is true for Michael Sampson (Michael's Thoughts, Notes on Derek Burney, "Amplify the Impact of Your People with Enterprise 2.0 Technologies"), John Eckman (openparenthesis, Liveblogging Enterprise 2.0 - Microsoft’s Derek Burney), and Mike Gotta (Collaborative Thinking, Amplify the Impact of Your People with Enterprise 2.0 Technologies). Michael, John and Mike mention "Next Generation Applications" but not that Microsoft is giving 100 of the them to users.
Update 6/20/2007: According to later reports in Network World (Lotus, Microsoft jostle to land social networking customers by John Fontana)and eWeek (IBM, Microsoft Show Web 2.0 Wares by Renee Boucher Ferguson and Darryl K. Taft) articles, the 100 apps will be for internal use only. Fontana writes:
In addition, Microsoft said it is committing to build 100 social networking business applications before June 2008 for use inside the company. One currently in development is SharePointPedia, which helps users find SharePoint technical and support information from both Microsoft and other sources.
If SharePointPedia is an example, at least some internal apps might make reach SharePoint customers in the form of templates. According to Lawrence Liu's post in the CodePlex site for CKS:SharePointPedia:
Microsoft is embarking on an ambitious project to create an application codenamed "SharePointPedia" that will be used to enable a "community driven and supplemented content lifecycle." ... [I]t's being designed (yes, the project kicked off just last week) to be used primarily by the community. ...
SPP is scheduled to go live ... by the end of October.
Community Kit for SharePoint Background
The Community Kit for SharePoint Vision and Scope Document describes CKS:
At the most basic level, the CKS is a site template that enables practically anyone to create very quickly a functional community website on Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 or Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007. The “Standard Edition” will require nothing more than the out-of-the-box Web Parts that come with WSS 3.0. In this way, the CKS:SE is just like the Application Templates for WSS, but that is where the similarity ends.
Instead of being solely developed by Microsoft, the CKS will be a collaborative development project hosted on CodePlex, an online software development environment for open and shared source developers to create, host, and manage projects throughout the entire software development lifecycle.
Here's the CKS vision statement from Project Management and Evangelism Lead Lawrence Liu:
- A set of best practices, templates, Web Parts, tools, and source code that enables practically anyone to create a community website based on SharePoint technology for practically any group of people with a common interest.
- A technology framework that sits on top of Windows SharePoint Services or Office SharePoint Server and can be further customized or extended to suit the community website implementer’s needs.
- A shared source community development project that is provided at no cost and allows anyone to use for commercial or non-commercial purposes.
As mentioned in the earlier Vision and Scope Document quote, you don't need to run a pricey Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007 version:
Targeted Platform: Given that Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 was released on November 16, 2006 and is available for free to licensed customers of Windows Server 2003, the development efforts on the CKS should be targeted at this version of SharePoint. Opportunities for “feature light up” when Office SharePoint Server 2007 is present should also be considered.
Just Say No to Web and Enterprise Two-Point-Oh?
"Web 2.0" and "Enterprise 2.0" are two terms that I've come to distrust—if not despise—as overhyped and basically without meaning. However, Dion Hinchcliffe's May 2006 A round of Web 2.0 reductionism item and July 2006 Enable richer business outcomes: Free your intranet with Web 2.0 post shed some light on the two topics in the enterprise.