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Cloud Talk

Andre Yee

Next Challenge for Enterprise 2.0: Become Business Critical

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Enterprise 2.0 (E2.0) has gained traction in the past year as evidenced by the rush of various vendors to reposition themselves as E2.0 companies. However, the prevailing question around E2.0 remains - is it delivering direct, measurable value?

Today, much of the promise and fulfillment of the E2.0 vision is centers around generalized benefits of knowledge sharing and collaboration. We're talking about implementation of micro-blogs, wikis and enterprise search in corporate life. However, as long as the promise of E2.0 is captured in terms of generalized benefits, it will be viewed as peripheral and discretionary, rather than centrally important to the business. Guess what else - when times are tough, it will be at the front of the line at the CFO's office, subject to budget cutbacks. So what's next for E2.0?

For E2.0 to move into the realm of being business critical, three things have to happen -

1. Move toward specific business solution patterns. Instead of pitching E2.0 as a means to improving collaboration and communication, it needs to be viewed as critically enabling specific business workflow patterns within an organization.

2. Move from back-office knowledge sharing to front-office revenue generating. Building on point #1, when E2.0 starts to impact not simply back-office efficiency, but become a key part of closing business and improving customer experience, it will become business critical. I believe the key to unlocking this is the incorporation of social computing into the entire lifecycle of the revenue engine - from marketing to sales to customer service.

3. Move from process to people. E2.0 has the potential to transform a company as long as we understand its essence. The great potential of E2.0 is in its ability to capture what some have called "tacit knowledge" (as opposed to well-formed, structured, explicit knowledge). This is particularly important in the creative activities like designing user interfaces or teaming to close a complex sale. This idea of getting tacit knowledge to work for you cannot be captured by a process-centric view of the organization but rather a people-centric view.

Making the next leap for E2.0 will require solutions that speak to all three points. To this end, I think Salesforce.com is uniquely well positioned to transform E2.0 as we know it today. With the release of Chatter, Salesforce provides the social technology platform built for the enterprise. Additionally, Salesforce's huge CRM customer base offers a natural opportunity to tap into the front-office revenue engine that will move the relevance needle for E2.0. All that's left is to discover are the front-office business process patterns that will lead to widespread adoption.

Andre Yee blogs about cloud computing, SaaS, Web 2.0 and other emerging technologies that matter to businesses.

Andre Yee

Andre Yee is an entrepreneur and technologist with nearly 20 years of experience in the business of technology.

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