There have been several comments left on different blog posts that I have not been able to respond to of late. I thought I would summarize a few of them here:
Enterprise 2.0 & The Economic Downturn
Jordan provides commentary on several other blog posts and analysts reports. A couple of things come to mind: (1) The issue is not about "Enterprise 2.0". The issue is really about how organizations approach aspects related to business-case formation, sponsorship, funding, ROI/metrics, and the decision-making related to rationalizing and prioritizing IT initiatives. Vendors (and analysts) caught up in a debate on whether suites and point tools will survive better or whether suites versus entrenched platforms will survive better should be looking higher up in the decision-making chain rather than in the technology nuances. IT organizations able to deliver solutions that focus on operational efficiencies (e.g., cost reduction/avoidance), revenue enhancement (e.g., retaining business, growing account value), and organizational effectiveness (e.g., process execution) are likely to be more well-received than backing solutions that are viewed as a discretionary spend or as something "nice to have" when times are good. (2) That said - savvy leadership teams realize that slash-and-burn approaches are going to leave them behind when markets do right themselves - yes, it's about survival but you need to survive-and-thrive afterwards. Organizations that continue to invest in specific initiatives that might be considered transformational in nature could very-well find themselves in a more competitive position over the long run my looking at the economic downturn as a signal to shift how it invests in IT (as a portfolio) but not to abandon all investments in certain areas related to collaboration (including social tools). But it still is not about suites vs. point tools or about suites vs. platforms. Those are valid discussions at some point - but you need to think about the change you're trying to bring about (business-wise and in terms of organizational dynamics).
Jordan Frank, Traction Software On Post SharePoint vs. Connections: The Battle Continues
The Battle Continues: SharePoint and Connections vs. Enterprise 2.0 suites.
In a tough economic climate which coincides with broad acceptance of emerging "2.0" technology, it's becoming clear that this is the time when companies will choose to do more, with Enterprise 2.0 suites, for less.
Social Software Short List
Gartner recently came out with its assessment of the social software market (view here). First, the short list I provided was based on a specific blog post reflective of my own research and interactions with clients so the list of endors listed should not be positioned as a market assessment. What makes a market assessment on social software so difficult is that (1) the space is incredibly large, (2) the space is comprised of many different sub-spaces so there is a great deal of technology diversity, (3) some sub-spaces are externally focused while others are more internally focused (e.g., intranet) so there is a great deal of solution diversity and (4) there are a large number of vendors (platforms, suites, point tools, open source, etc). I use the term "space" because you have to first define social software and agree that social software is a market. I do not have access to the report so I will leave that issue to those that have read it - but I think the effort would have been better served by breaking the topic down a bit. I just don't find it useful (and I don't mean to be negative from a competitive perspective) - when I look at it and try to let it speak for itself - I'm not sure what it's trying to say. Some of these vendors focus on social media (external solution) and have pulled themselves out of RFPs for intranet solutions. It seems like community vendors are represented but perhaps better served with a specific graphic - it's hard to figure out how to compare/contrast community vendors with point tools. Some vendors are platform vendors so yes, they have strong impact as a collaboration/content solution but their blog and wiki tools are pretty bad (e.g., Microsoft) or have components completely missing (e.g., IBM Lotus Connections does not have a native wiki). I can't see on the graphic where NewsGator is (or is not) so does that mean that feeds are not social software (which gets back to definition and market structure issues). I think it is just very difficult, if next-to-impossible, to plot social software vendors on a two dimensional graph, even if you can get by the debate as to whether social software is a market per se rather than a category of software within which multiple markets reside. My own take-away is that social software is a composite market (if it is a market) and best assessed by multiple graphics rather than a "mashup" approach. It's just really really hard to do this type of market segmentation and have it be useful for people when it includes so many different sub-categories - you end up with potpourri (a decorative mix) rather than something that might be practical for decision-makers.
I'd love to know how you came up with your short list. I see SO many vendors on the recent Gartner Magic Quadrant lumped closely together and I shudder to think what that list will look like in 2 years
Social Presence & Social Awareness
I would recommend reading "More Thoughts On Social Presence" which has links to some other posts on this topic. I do believe that a feed syndication platform forms the core of this approach and that a combination of Atom/AtomPub, XMPP, and microformats will also have a critical role.
Maurice, On Post Analytics: The Unsung Hero Of Social Systems
When you said "we want to consolidate all into one flow -- a single time-stamped thread -- that all apps can dip into" did you have any specific process in mind about how this would work, i.e. service, platform or system?