Disclaimer: SocialText is a competitor of Atlassian, one of our sponsors.
Ross Mayfield, CEO of wiki company SocialText, about "Enterprise 2.0". To put it very crudely, Enterprise 2.0 means blogs and wikis in the enterprise. According to Ross and others, Enterprise 2.0 is slightly different to the "Office 2.0" or Web Office meme also doing the rounds. In our discussion Ross defined Enterprise 2.0 as "free form social software adapted for enterprises". Rod Boothby says it means "Emergence Software", while M.R. Rangaswami of Sand Hill Group wrote an in-depth article to try and explain the concept.This week I spoke to
I have to admit I'm less concerned with how the term is defined (or even what term we use), than where the market for web-based software is heading and what products are out there right now. So let's get to the nitty gritty...
One example of an enterprise 2.0 product is of course SocialText's enterprise wikis. SocialText 2.0, the latest version, was released in September and featured a new UI and "Wiki Web Services", which are described as "SOAP and REST APIs to support enterprise integration and enable Open Source developers to innovate in the language of their choice and mashup wiki functionality with other applications."
Like JotSpot, which we profiled on Read/WriteWeb recently, SocialText aims to extend the notion of wikis. Or as Ross put it at the time of the SocialText 2.0 launch:
"The solution isn't turning the wiki into yet-another-enterprise-tool, but to raise the bar on what a wiki can be, while making it open and extensible."
Best of breed apps vs office software incumbents
In our talk, Ross said that enterprise software incumbents will enter the market next year. For example Microsoft's Sharepoint will bundle in blogs and wikis and IBM Websphere will have wiki modules. But Ross' theory is that there are a number of "best of breed" web applications that are well positioned to compete against the big companies.
SocialText itself is positioning itself as "best of breed wiki application". Other best of breed apps mentioned by Ross were SixApart (blogs) and Newsgator or Attensa (enterprise RSS). In contrast Sharepoint, said Ross, is a suite that is "trying to be everything to everybody". So he believes there is still room for best of breed web innovation.
This is something I've long been a proponent of too. In February this year, I wrote a post entitled Web Office Suite: best of breed products. In that post I listed out a number of best of breed Web Office apps - like Gmail, Zimbra, BaseCamp. These are web apps that are Web Native and take full advantage of what the Web has to offer - plus they are focused on certain core functionalities.
The other point here is that we're talking about a new breed of enterprise software. Wikis and blogs are part of that, but there are many more hybrid Web Office apps in active development that are changing the game for office software - Zimbra, Morfik, Dabble DB are just a few examples.