Correction

The jump in blogstats is merci a M. Bowles who added me to his awesome Enterprise 2.0 blog. It’s a really Good Thang I didn’t write that comment I was tempted to when he posted his “Ancient Order of Thespians” brokeback-mountain-only-men-can-understand-eachother sonnet on his blog this month. Of course, now I’ve properly introduced myself, but hey, Jerry, you deserved that on behalf of the female tech universe. We don’t just do soft porn calendars, you know…

Do you think he’ll delete me?

Thank you Jerry! I promise I’ll contribute.

More Navel-gazing

Fast Company published its second annual Fast Talk: What’s the Biggest Change Facing Business in the Next 10 Years? Among the pithy commentary was Esther Dyson who has been a friend to ITSA. Esther helped me during Web 1.0 as an advisor and has always been a kind resource and source of counsel lending the occasional introduction when I needed it. Her comments here in the Fast Company piece sum up for me why I think the Enterprise 2.0 movement is going to be bigger and happen faster than a lot of people are predicting.

Esther Dyson

Editor, Release 1.0 (for CNet Networks)
New York/Palo Alto

Dyson, 54, has hosted the influential PC Forum conference and edited the technology newsletter “Release 1.0” since 1983. She has also advised many start-ups. In all her roles, she has helped mold our modern technology landscape.
First appeared in Fast Company: October/November 1997

 

“There is an erosion of power going on. Specifically, the online world has eroded business’s power. People increasingly will personalize their Web experience and determine how they interact with their environment and the people around them. The Web creates transparency, which will make competition tougher and in turn, business better. When a company messes up, it will be very visible. People will blog about it, review it, and expose a company’s flaws and pitfalls. Businesses will have to respond to this increased transparency by hiring and retaining better people. And in any case, we’ll see a new wave of smaller companies focused on specific needs, in part because they can outsource or partner for the commodity part of their operations or offerings.

There will be a profound change in psychology as people realize how much power they hold. There has always been a general perception that we shouldn’t mess with authority– when authority is exactly who we should mess with. Empowered people are going to begin to realize this. When they walk into a Wal-Mart, they’re going to want to know how a product was made and under what conditions. They will assume they have the right to ask because they can do so on the Web. And over time, people will start to expect that same responsiveness from all institutions, not just from online businesses. What kind of tax breaks on real estate are my elected officials getting–and why? And why isn’t my hospital as responsive as a hotel?

What does all this say about individual responsibility? If people control their own lives, then they are responsible for those lives. They can’t simply complain about things being bad. In a world of choices, your responsibility does not end with complaining.”
–Interview by Jennifer Pollock

Esther’s comments here dovetail with a lengthy interview I had with Joe Kraus, CEO of JotSpot. Kraus said, “When you give people the ability to do something that previously only experts could do, I think very interesting things happen.” Kraus admitted JotSpot was trying to enable a new DIY (do-it-yourself) revolution. So far, JotSpot has accumulated 30,000 users as customers with over 2000 organizations using its self-service applications including British Telecom and Intel. And JotSpot’s applications are by Kraus’ own admission, simple.

The key points here are from Esther’s comments– the erosion of power, the profound change in psychology, the inclination to mess with authority– all of this spells BRING IT ON, my Enterprise 2.0 friend with your empowering productivity tool. And if we look at the early success Kraus is having with JotSpot’s simple applications, despite the fact he’s specifically targeting the SMB market, it’s an early predictor of user adoption.

And one more prognostication for which I don’t have the data, but a sixth sense. Like Esther’s comments, Enterprise 2.0 may be more about the socio-cultural transformation than the ease-of-use tools that are enabling the technology transformation. It’s a demographic colliding alliance of sorts. On the one hand you have frustrated middle management users who’ve been hamstrung by lagging IT departments, dictatorial edicts for clumsy (and expensive) collaboration, and limited desktop solutions. On the other hand, you have the “MySpace” generation pouring into the entry level positions of every major corporation of the G2000. Today’s generation of hotshots are impatient; they’re all about instant gratification. To impress their bosses and peers, how long do you think it will be before they’re investigating their own self-styled DIY apps or Lord knows, situational enterprise mashups?

The problem with blogging is– no editor. I’m not sure I’m making my points clearly here. I’ll look at this again later this weekend and try to rewrite it if it’s not making sense. Meanwhile, I know people are reading the blog. Please post some comments. I’m curious to hear what people think about the half-life of Enterprise 2.0. Incidentally, great journalist minds think alike (ha! that is said with all humility). Jerry Bowles, whom I describe in all my links to his blog as “The most awesome Enterprise 2.0 blog” posted a note about the need for more “proofs of concept” to validate Enterprise 2.0. He also had some interesting comments on the Wikipedia weirdness.

Starship Enterprise 2.0– Science Fiction or Future Reality?

So they say Businessweek is known to fan the flames of irrational exuberance by publishing covers such as this one on Web 2.0 darling Digg’s founder Kevin Rose.  The beauty of the blogosphere is you’ll immediately get a credible reaction like this one to put it in perspective. 

The more I research Enterprise 2.0 and its possibilities, however, the more I am encouraged.  I’ve tracked startup trends for years in technology, and have to admit, don’t want to get burned up upon re-entry (again).  The ideology has so much promise, but so far, very little demonstrable case studies.  I asked Dion Hinchcliffe– a leading voice in the Enterprise 2.0 to solicit “real” examples, proofs of concept for Enterprise 2.0 applications and initiatives underway in the Global 2000 or in the SMB market.  He did that today on his ZDNet blog.

For my part, I’m going to start my own tracking.  Please email me (susanATitsinsider.com) with any and all examples of users/knowledge workers utilizing Enterprise 2.0 tools to get work done– outside of the domain of the traditional, centralized IT command center.  That’s not to say IT may or may not have assisted, but the idea is “independent and productive via the web.”

SaaS-a-fras

All right, admittedly this is a stretch. I actually picked up a physical dictionary today (who doesn’t use dictionary.com?) to see what I could do with SaaS. This is the best I came up with. Thanks to Wikipedia (who doesn’t love Web 2.0?), I discovered that the oil of the Sassafras tree is a key ingredient in the street drug MDMA or “ecstasy.” Now maybe the heat wave here on the East coast has me a little high, but as I have finished the reporting on the SaaS story for GITS and continue to investigate the Enterprise web 2.0 market… I think I might predict a rave party coming on in the knowledge-worker universe.

If what I’m hearing is true, and it’s THAT easy to create these “long tail” micro situational apps, we are headed for a serious reshuffling in the balance of power, once again, in the tech business.

The Long Tail of a Short Tale

I recently emailed my friend Phil Wainewright that “I’m so excited [about this new sector], I feel like a Pointer Sister.” I’ve been swamped with the research and reporting for this GITS story on how SaaS and Web 2.0 applications could potentially disintermediate the billable consultant. The interviews are facscinating. Kicking off with Dion Hinchcliffe, a brilliant guy, and someone who is clearly blazing the trail in the enterprise 2.0 space, I’ve been trying to absorb the full impact of changes ahead for what Hinchcliffe refers to in his writings as the “inversion of control” coming down the pike as a result of the next evolutionary, and perhaps revolutionary, paradigm shift in our beloved tech sector.

So many story ideas and initiatives are flowing out of this piece, I’m eager to file the story to get onto the next one. Unfortunately, GITS won’t permit me anymore to post the stories online here. You’ll have to subscribe to the newsletter to read it. Other interviews in the piece include: Phil Wainewright, Rod Boothby, Jeff Kaplan, Peter Cervieri of ScribeStudio, Josh Greenbaum, Dan Gisolfi from IBM’s Internet Emerging Technology group, and Amy Wohl, longtime analyst. OH, almost forgot, Joe Kraus, CEO, JotSpot.

Making up Another Mind*

Yesterday, I notice I had a flurry of activity on the blog (a blip really, in blogosphere terms, but a flurry in relative terms for my usual activity) with a reader coming in from a search for “Sapient Blog.”  I would like to cover the Interactive Agency sector fairly aggressively, but my overtures to this market (other than Sapient, actually) have fallen flat.  Remember, most of the firms I covered in my 2000 report have vanished.  The survivors are very different firms today, even Sapient, for that matter.  The firm I have the best relationship with– LBIcon— is a continent away and not a major player in the US.   All that being said, it looks like I’m left standing behind the velvet ropes on this private club.  So, it’s like I told a newly crowned Dick Brown taking over at EDS who chortled at me, “Be good to me Susan!”  I told him he had to earn it.  I’m now on the other side of that hubris and will have to earn the respect of the IA community before they’ll confide in me and allow me into their party.

In the absence of focusing on the IA sector, I’ve turned my attention to the SaaS market and the budding enterprise 2.0 sector.   I’m finding developments and discussions in this sector extremely interesting and addicting.  I’ll be writing a story for GITS for the next two weeks on how the prospect of new enterprise SaaS applications may stand to disintermediate the billable consultant.  It has major implications for the consulting and systems integration markets over time.  I’m looking forward to what I discover in the reporting. 

I have managed to reconnect with more of the IT Services fraternity.  Jeff Kaplan, whom I’ve always had a lot of respect for, has turned his attention to SaaS.  I also had a nice lunch recently with Vinnie Mirchandani whose blog is listed in my blogroll. 

*See post May 17 for headline reference.