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Enterprise 2.0: Looking Ahead

Anyone interested in social bookmarking and tagging for the enterprise would have found plenty of choices at last month's Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston. But while vendors touted their integration of blogs, tag clouds, user profiles and, of course, social bookmarking, a few discussion topics were notably absent.

Where's The Platform?
It's axiomatic in our industry that when it's application versus platform, the platform always wins. Intel's dominance is largely attributable to the thousands of applications that run on the PC platform. Windows became more popular than Mac OS not because of better technology, but because it was a more popular platform. In 2005 Tim O'Reilly defined Web 2.0 in part by delineating the Web as a platform.

But we've yet to see a dominant platform emerge in enterprise 2.0. Of course, on a macro level, the Internet is the platform, with myriad Web 2.0 apps taking on Windows and its applications. But at a micro level, there's no Microsoft Exchange or Lotus Notes within the enterprise 2.0 market. No suite has yet has attracted the necessary gravity within the developer community to encourage third parties to write to it.

Will a single dominant platform emerge? Microsoft SharePoint shows promise; for example, NewsGator Technologies' NewsGator Enterprise Server syndicates SharePoint content. Enterprise search engines likewise show some signs of playing that role; certainly they've become integration points for bookmarking/tagging software. Connectbeam integrates its software into FAST's and Google's enterprise search engines. IBM and BEA integrate in with their own search engines, but BEA also expects to re-lease a version of Pathways, its bookmarking and tagging platform, that will tie into third-party search engines later next year.

Sorely lacking in virtually every Enterprise 2.0 product is integration of online presence. After reading a blog or listening to a podcast, end users may to want to engage the author in a dialogue. Presence would elevate this discussion to real time and enable people to use the most effective tools, including VoIP, IM and SMS, for those purposes. Connectbeam, which provides a tagging-bookmarking platform now in use at Honeywell, expects to add presence this fall. IBM has already done so with Lotus Connections and its search tools.

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