The Enterprise 2.0 Market is Growing Up

Two weeks ago I attended the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Santa Clara, California.  Having attended many of these conferences in the past, I was struck by the change of tone I heard in many of the presentations I saw and in many of the conversations I participated in.

A few years ago, I was the CEO of a SaaS vendor in the CRM space when the CRM community first started talking about the potential for using social technologies to improve customer relationship management.  At that time, the biggest debate was over what we should call it.  Since then, the Social CRM community has done a great job defining and legitimizing SCRM as a valid business concept–building a robust community of customers, experts, and practitioners along the way.

I am seeing a similar transition occur in the broader Enterprise 2.0 space.  At the conference last week, much of the discussion was less about evangelizing new products and technologies and more about examples of deploying these solutions broadly across the enterprise.  As a result, I can’t tell you how many times I heard the words “integration” and “standards” spoken, as organizations look to integrate their Enterprise 2.0 solutions with other solutions they depend on.

This is a great sign for the Enterprise 2.0 market and I disagree with those pundits–most of whom didn’t attend the conference–who have been declaring that “Enterprise 2.0 is dead”.  When you hear large enterprises talk about integrating E 2.0 solutions with other business solutions they have invested in for years, this is the sign of a rapidly maturing segment (though not necessarily a mature one).

I not only heard the integration theme discussed by enterprises but also by technology vendors.  We are now seeing vendors take their Enterprise 2.0 offerings and extend and integrate them more broadly, like in the area of Unified Communications.  This is another classic sign of a maturing segment.  Some have mocked some of the UC vendors for building “me-too” social collaboration products.  But I see these efforts as reflecting customer demand for a truly unified communication and collaboration infrastructure.

The only thing about E 2.0 that’s dead is the name.  The E 2.0 moniker has given way to Social Business, a name appropriate for the operational transformation that is occurring as people are re-inserted into previously automated business processes.   This mega-trend is sure to keep all of us busy for years to come.

– Anthony Nemelka, CEO of Teleplace