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Sandy Kemsley

Enterprise 2.0: Town Hall wrapup

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This entry cross-posted to my new blog location.

The conference finished with a general "town hall" session with Jessica Lipnack of NetAge and Stowe Boyd of Blue Whale Labs. I had thought that there was too much preaching to the converted going on here, but I sat with Eric Hoffert of ShareMethods during the session and as a vendor, he's talked with a lot of customers here and saw many who are just getting started or looking at how to start. I stand corrected. :)

They redid the same survey (by SMS) as to whether the attendees felt that incumbent enterprise applications would add on Web 2.0 functionality and remain dominant in that area, or whether new Web 2.0 applications would take precedence; Web 2.0 went from 55% to 75% of the vote since the original vote during the Tuesday keynote. The IT versus user control question saw user control gain in popularity from 77% to 85%, and in the hype versus reality showdown, reality went from 69% to 89% popularity.

Boyd saw that the enterprise people attending are eager to adopt the best of Web 2.0, but still maintain the things that work for them from the older technology; unfortunately, they're having difficulty figuring out which is which, and which is likely to be valuable in the future. The enterprise software vendors, on the other hand, are very clear about the fact that not only do they have the answers, but they're going to make the decisions for you. He feels that the Enterprise 2.0 moniker is being misapplied in many cases: that it is really radically different, and that many of the vendors (especially the older enterprise software vendors who are positioning Web 2.0 as "old wine in new bottles") just don't get it yet. He gives no passing grades to any of the parties involved (watch McAfee's keynote to see what he's grading), except to give the users a B- for effort. There's a lot of things going on, but not a lot of understanding of how to apply those in a practical fashion.

I had to duck out a few minutes early to catch my flight, in the middle of audience members telling about their "veil lifting from the eyes" revelation during the conference:

  • Allow the users to define what they need ("if they come, we will build it"), rather than having IT decide ("if we build it, they will come")
  • The value of folksonomies over taxonomies
  • Software-as-a-service on the way to becoming a utility rather than being considered a business risk
  • The blogosphere is an incredible source of information, both about the authors and the content

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