It’s the time of year when predictions are made and people look forward to 2008. I’m not very good at predictions so I’m going to phrase it a different way by asking a few questions.
1 – Will the enterprise 2.0 industry get their head around security concerns that most large enterprise have with web and enterprise 2.0 and applications?
Let’s get this straight most of the Fortune 500 companies in the US and Europe pay millions of dollars a year for private data networks so they can transmit data without going via the internet. As we speak these companies with not deploy any large scale SaaS applications beyond their firewall. So any budding young startup out there wanting to tap into the large scale enterprise with a great piece of software please, please, please make sure you have it appliance ready so it can sit behind a firewall, otherwise you automatically constrict your market to individuals and small enterprise. It’s not small scale developers making this mistake either Google don’t seem to get that large scale enterprise will have nothing to do with Google Apps until they can contain it within their firewall boundary. Real, long standing enterprise players like Microsoft and Cisco already know this.
2 – Who will be the big enterprise 2.0 vendors at the end of the year and who should they have purchased?
This is related to question one. I think Microsoft and Cisco will start to dominate the enterprise 2.0 market this year. Their respective OCS and CallManager boxes will be the Trojan horse for enterprise 2.0 applications. While they may not have the strongest or most innovative software they have the install base, sales channels and most importantly the right management strategy to dominate the enterprise market.
If Google can build a box similar to OCS or CallManager (i don’t see why not, they have all the pieces) and they build an effective sales channel I can see Google making a real play in 2008. I’m just not sure how effective or focused their Enterprise strategy currently is.
If Oracle take notice of the brains trust they have here (which they should) http://oracleappslab.com/ expect them to be making a bigger noise in new applications this year than last.
2b – So I’m Google, MS, Cisco et al and I want some enterprise 2.0 software/brains to add to my product range and strategy, who do I buy – all of these:
- 37 Signals – they get the applications, they just need hosting on a private box
- Dabbledb – this is an excel killer, normal people can build great enterprise applications in minutes
- Wufoo – love the application, might be a bit of overlap with the others but still worth getting
- Socialtext – great Wiki platform and understand the need for behind the firewall services
- Coghead – I love the ability to create applications and so too will users, Coghead is a great example
- Slideshare – a great knowledge sharing tool, especially for the powerpoint obsessed enterprise
- RSS Reader – I do think RSS readers will take over from email clients in the enterprise so they should go find a really good reader – Google’s RSS is a great model
- Mozilla – I wonder how much Mozilla would cost? Would Google allow them to be sold, could they stop anyone buying it? enterprise 2.0 needs a delivery mechanism to the user and the browser is it. Control the browser and you have 50% of the enterprise 2.0 provision/market.
- I’ll add to this list later when I have my list of companies to watch at hand
3 – Will the iPhone creap into the Enterprise?
I’ve been a big fan of the Nokia E61 but it’s not yet the ultimate mobile device, I hope 2008 provides a device that can deliver voice, email, internet, gps, 3g, wifi all in single device and be a potential laptop killer. The iphone is a great start but it is clearly aimed at the conusmer.