And the Academy Award goes to… Atlassian.

picture-7Atlassian is the Enterprise 2.0 sector’s Slumdog Millionaire. It’s an inspiring rags to riches story of two young college graduates who set out to earn at least a “graduate salary” (approximately $30K/yr USD) by creating a business, rather than taking a corporate job like their university friends did. Now, Mike and Scott were not living in a slum and neither did pure luck have anything to do with their fortune; moreover, their example is establishing a high bar for success for enterprise social software startups.

Last week, I got into a bit of a snit with Atlassian’s marketing folks on Twitter because they approached me about writing a post on Atlassian reaching $100M in all time revenue. Now, I knew the company was a growth engine, but I found it hard to believe they’d become a $100M company since the last time I had spoken to them. It turns out it was all a big misunderstanding. Mike Cannon-Brookes told me today that from the beginning, Atlassian’s backoffice systems have been tracking total cumulative revenue. On February 17th, the company had crossed the $100M threshhold. Mike actually tweeted it and Atlassian’s Laura Kahlil blogged about it on the Atlassian blog the next day. I didn’t understand the significance of the $100M cumulative number and was concerned people would mistake the number for annual sales. Listening to Mike talk about how they noticed the number and got excited about it as a milestone made it obvious to me I was wrong to give them a hard time.

I wrote about Atlassian in October of 2006. They impressed me then, and their continued success is a bright light in otherwise dismal economic news. Atlassian has pumped millions into the Australian economy and has created hundreds of jobs around the world (Atlassian has offices in 5 cities, including San Francisco). Further, their strong organic growth is a testament to the power of listening to your customers and focusing on delivering products customers love.

We can debate product features and what’s fashionable in enterprise social software for days on end. But in today’s economic climate, I celebrate success, job creation, growth, and independence.

Kudos to the Atlassian team.

(For longtime ITSinsider readers… it wasn’t lost on me that Michelle and Barack chose Etta James’ “At Last” for their ballroom dance on the night of the inauguration. )

Update: Just found out Mike was nominated by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader for 2009. Smile.

What the heck are Enterprise 2.0 vendors talking about?

Hutch Carpenter, a product manager at Connectbeam, mashed up this Wordle on what 10 leading enterprise 2.0 vendors are talking about on their sites. Vendors include:

  1. Jive Software
  2. SocialText
  3. Connectbeam
  4. Atlassian Confluence
  5. Six Apart Movable Type
  6. Newsgator
  7. Traction Software
  8. Near-Time
  9. SpikeSource SuiteTwo
  10. Worklight

See Hutch’s post here.

How will we work 2.0 for the Man?

I’ve mentioned a few times that I’m contributing to a large research project here at nGenera. The research is titled, “Redefining Employee Computing.” The genesis for the project began when one of our customers casually asked, “What would happen if we (IT) stopped supporting the end-user… and we simply only supported from the Corporate network in?” Of course I’m paraphrasing, but that was the basic idea. The notion generated a spirited discussion around the topic, resulting in the research project we’re now undertaking.

Here is the project description:

“End-user computing” remains a burdensome challenge in large corporations, and the assumptions underlying its management have become obsolete. So has the term itself. Today we’re no longer dealing with just computing, but with devices and capabilities for performing work, communicating and collaborating with others, and even orchestrating the “life” side of the work-life equation. And corporations are no longer dealing with a faceless “end user” served by a standard package of capabilities, but with a wide variety of diverse and demanding employees who bring their own technological abilities and preferences to the job, and ho have been trained as consumers to expect technology to be highly capable and easy to use.”

The research has taken us in some predictable and some surprising directions. Included in the study are two dozen well-recognized corporate giants, many of them global. Half are in the Fortune 100 (of those, 6 are in the top 50 and 3 in the top 10). Bob Morison, featured here in the video is a regular commentator for PBS’s Nightly Business Report. He discusses the generational challenges we’re surfacing in the research. If you are interested in seeing some early findings on this research, we’ll be presenting at Office 2.0.

A Round-up of Enterprise 2.0-related tidbits

Jive Clearspace has begun an open community where e2.0 fans, friends, and enemies (that means you Tom Davenport :-)) can have an opportunity to share war stories, successes, and get questions answered. The community site is called ClearStep. Of course, you can always share your opinions on our nGenera site, as well. Oliver Marks tipped me off to this site too by Imaginatik which appears to be powered by Ning, but there are some great wikinomics-style case studies and discussion threads there you might want to participate in.

Second, I’ve been meaning to blog about this for awhile. Nick Barker has created a one-stop shop for aggregating all current goings-on and content related to Enterprise 2.0 at his Enterprise 2.0 Portal site. The site is free and should be on everyone’s feed reader. Make sure you check it out.

And, in case you missed it, the venerable consulting institution, McKinsey & Co. published its global survey results for “Building the Web 2.0 Enterprise.” It’s also free, but you have to give them your contact info.

Finally, Niall Cook who founded one of my favorite products, Cogenz, (in his spare time) released his new book, “Enterprise 2.0: How Social Software will change the future of work.” I have not read it yet, but I’m certain it’s another must-have for your e2.0 bookshelf– IF you have a liberal expense account. It’s a little pricey at $89.95. I asked Niall about the price, he said it’s because the publisher sells mainly to an institutional and academic market. I’m hoping for a review copy, or will have to wait for the eBook or paperback version. Or maybe I can get a discount because Don Tapscott wrote the forward? (Humm… just realized we need to update Don’s profile on Wikipedia to reflect nGenera. Damn these Internets, always need to be current!). Actually, Niall may have taken a page out of the Wikinomics playbook, because it appears you can co-create with the community to add more content on each of the book’s chapters with this wiki hosted by Socialtext. He’s also blogging on the major themes of the book here.

Enterprise Suits Up for the Ride, but Seeks a Safe Landing

This is what would happen if Santa were an Enterprise App and he tried to automagically incorporate 2.0 grooviness overnight.

Santa as Enterprise App on 2.0 house

The irony just got the better of me… I’ve been wrestling with wretched old-school health forms all afternoon that will undoubtedly be, um, input or maybe scanned into some old-school enterprise system that will carefully set up my health insurance for 2008. If it weren’t Sunday, I probably could do some digging and figure out exactly what the “business process” is that will determine my paper-input-to-digital-imprint record through the labyrinth of enterprise systems. Will an outsourced provider be involved? Probably. A mainframe? Probably. A large-scale database? Oh yeah.

Have I enjoyed this process today? No. Was I able to customize my health insurance policy and my coverage according to my particular family’s health situation? Not in a 2.0 way. Was I able to choose a health insurance company by my review of doctors online and get recommendations from other insureds about which health insurance companies actually paid claims on time and answered questions with friendly, caring concern? Well, definitely not.

While I’ve been grousing about doing this all day, clicking on web sites, downloading forms, etc., I’ve had Snitter (a Twitter stream) up and have been keeping my eye on the chatter of the day. It appears Robert Scoble dared to ask why Enterprise Apps weren’t sexy, and well, you can imagine how my Enterprise Irregularguild” reacted to that. Nick Carr even got involved. It’s only Sunday too, so we’ll see where it goes. (See Dennis Howlett, Michael Krisgsman, Anshu Sharma, Vinnie Mirchandani.) Me? I agree with all of them, oddly enough. On the one hand, I’m having a miserable experience, and I agree with Nick Carr, and I really wish the health insurance company had more consumer-y features. New York Times Design Director Khoi Vinh expressed nearly the exact same sentiment with this post earlier this fall. I agreed with him then too.

On the other hand, for those of us who are working hard to try and transform, enlighten/educate enterprises on how they need to introduce some of this radical change to leverage innovation and wealth creation, we know what we’re up against. Enterprise applications are carefully managed fleets comprised of many battleships that simply cannot turn on a dime. Nor, would you want them to.

Should my son be rushed to the hospital in 2008 because he didn’t quite land that skating trick he’s been practicing in the street, I want to make sure all systems are go and the woman at the reception desk doesn’t get a message from my insurance company like this: 2.0 error