Enterprise 2.0, is this “social” or just a brilliant disguise?
Canada Dry used to have this ad in the French market: “It’s like alcohol, it has the taste of alcohol, but it’s not.”
Looking at all the buzz and $ injected in Enterprise 2.0, I’m wondering whether Enterprise 2.0 is not becoming the Canada Dry of Social Networking. “It’s like social media, it has the taste of social media but it’s not”.
One of the major promises of the blogging and social networking phenomena is to open the walls of enterprises and connect work-groups, engineers, marketers with the relevant communities of clients and experts in order to co-develop, co-brand, co-market with the open world.
Yet, these Enterprise 2.0 solutions are leveraging technologies that have been invented for social networking to create “gated corporate communities”. One might argue that customers and prospects are welcomed in these gated communities. However, very few people will go, set up and maintain a profile in the private communities of all their prospective suppliers. It’s already difficult to keep up with LinkedIn , Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare…
Looking back: Corporations have succeeded in taking over people’s email and most employees have now their professional emails as primary ones. Will this be the case for social profiles ? Will Facebook and Linkedin become obsolete and lose the battle against the Jive, Lithium, Telligent of the world?
I’m not sure. For many functions within enterprises, building walls kills the value of social networking. This is the case for sales, marketing, innovation, hiring, just to name a few.
The net is that the challenge is not in technology and that enterprises need to embrace both the technology and the paradigm shift of “social media”…. as scary as this is.
So what’s next ?
What about Microsoft buying more of Facebook and bringing it to the enterprise level ? It could have the same feature set as Jive, Lithium, Bluekiwi and others while leveraging the Facebook infrastructure. Such a system would rule out the need for employees to create profiles on their employer’s portal … and to do it again every time they change job.
What about Google doing the same, with a better version of Buzz, a few acquisitions and a similar agenda.
I’m betting on the last two. Whoever owns the social profile owns a major entry point to the internet and both Microsoft and Google are too big to fail.