Web 2.0 Expo and the state of the Enterprise 2.0 economy today (overview by Vassil Mladjov)

By Vassil Mladjov on 26 Apr 2008, 07:44 AM

Tags: blogtronix , pr , india , web 2.0 expo , socialtext , msft , ldap , enterprsie 2.0 , ibm , jive , leveragesoftware , atlassian , moss , oracle , ajax , reporting , money , it


Ok, here is my 60,000 feet overview.


-          There was not clear innovation that I can see at the show, nothing to get me exiting.  There were a few clever tools in terms of clean UI and well execute ideas, but nothing of a WOW.

-          Most established Web 2.0 companies want to be now Enterprise 2.0 players –they all are talking about Web 2.0 in the enterprise. Not surprising at all as there is not much money or biz models in the C2C web site other than Google ads at this time.

-          Everyone now pretends to have a “social networking” product and in many cases a platform. The funny thing is that only and handful of companies really get it. Only a few know what the power of social software is and how to use it in the enterprise. I am not surprised once again. The problem is that many Web 2.0 companies have been created (as I have said this many times before) by college kids that have not had a real corporate work experience in their lives. How can a 22 year old know what is needed and why in today’s medium or large companies to make them communicate and collaborate better among themselves or with their partners and clients. I do not think so. This was not in the books I read in Finance in college for sure.

-          The big players are trying hard to prove that they also now have Web 2.0 products and that they are the right choice for the enterprise companies. NOT! I did see what IBM, BEA, Oracle and MSFT have. (Some of these were not at this show, but I was at the Gartner PPC last month) All I can say is WOW. I cannot believe that companies like IBM and BEA cannot copy us better still. Yes, you are reading this right. They are on my site and the sites of my competitor’s non-stop. I can see all these Indian IBM labs logs there and the logs of many other large companies like Google, MSFT, Oracle, etc.  These people have the resources, BUT the Indian developers do not have a clue again as to why they are making a social networking profile and how this needs to work. Why would they want to put a clickable attribute for a project name or client’s name or the name of a school? Therefore, what these gorillas have created is just a nice interface of the old corporate directory, which is 100% useless. No biz logic, no social intelligence, etc.  It will take a while for them to catch up to where we are today, but we are not sleeping (it is now 5am and I am blogging about it on Sat).  

-          Everybody in the shows is now showing their suites of blogs, wikis and social networking, etc. Well, this is about 3-4 years too late compared to Blogtronix, but what can I say. Many of the suites did not understand why it is important to have these tools under once platform. For example, IBM has finally the options to have several of these tools (they still don’t have their own good wiki) in each group, but they are not even connected with the user or each other?

-          SuiteTwo was not there this time. Are they dead yet?

-          Lack of Enterprise backend tools. I did not see many IT oriented backends that would help much the clients implement Web 2.0 faster and manage it better in their companies. The main thing was the LDAP integration, but nothing more.

-          More companies are offering their Web 2.0 solutions as software vs. SaaS now. Yes, people, this is where the money is and the IT will not let you run all this as SaaS, unsecure in the cloud.

-          Google was pushinggggggggggggg Google Ads and some Apps with Salesforce. The thing is that unless Google puts this in the appliance I do not see many large corporate companies to start using it much inside the corporate firewall. It is interesting that with the latest Google Apps – Team edition, Google is trying had to match you with other corporate users of their apps and therefore this could bypass the IT departments all together over time, but when Gartner asked last month their large group of IT professionals how many of them would even consider using or deploying Google apps for their corporate users, only one person raised his hand (our of 150 or so). Gmail is the Trojan horse here.

-          Lack of real analytics. I was very disappointed to see that again most vendors cannot provide proper analytics and reporting still. Showing the number of visits to a blog group is hardly what companies had in mind when they start looking at the logs. Thankfully, a few do offer the ability to plug a 3rd party software that can do the job if they have logs that can be used.

-           SocialText was showing their "new" wiki with some social profiles, but I just do not get it. You guys can do better that this.

-         Jive showed their new Clearspace 2.0, very nice, clean, user personalized pages, and some interesting use of SaaS and software integration. Not bad at all.

-           I did not see Awareness there, I am not sure why as they were listed as a sponsor.

-           Blogtronix was not there either, but we will be at the Enterprise 2.0 in Boston in June. We were not there since we are putting the final touches on our new web site; new software and getting more people to work for us. Too much new cool stuff coming soon.

-           3Tera was showing their new AppLogic Utility computing platform for the Web, very cool.

-           Disney was here, but I am not sure why. Maybe they were just looking to hire more people.

-           MSFT was showing their live mash and Silverlight. Yep, it looks good and just as the IE got into each computer, this may as well over time, but I am still using flash for now.  

-          Prices are starting to stabilize. I can see a few clear pricing models to emerge.

o       Corporate clients are charge at either per user price of $10 to $1 (yes a big difference) or on per CPU base (I think this one will go a way over time)

o       I did see that some are starting to charge perpetual prices for Web 2.0 and I must keep an eye on how this turns out over time.

-          There was lots of personalization of the Web 2.0 portals that many are trying to implement for their clients. Lots of AJAX and iGoogle type of pages. Blogtronix will be returning this feature after almost 2 years absence due to MSFT AJAX problems. Look for a very cool interface from us later in the summer.

-          People did understand that Web 2.0 needs to get in the enterprise and that can be beneficial for companies and large organizations.

-          Atlassian showed their cool new wiki, very clean and very nice. We must copy their design; In fact, we are working on a similar cleaner UI that I hope to have it running soon.

-          This is the year of social networking finally that could make money. People are no longer laughing at you when you tell them that you are doing social networking for the enterprise. Yes, three years a go Intel Capital was laughing at me when I told them what we were building. Who is laughing now guys.

There is a big PR and news push (on top of the analyst push) for Web 2.0 and its impact going forward. The predictions are big as well as the stakes. I can see that there will be lots of M&A going on here in the next 12-24 months as the marketplace are established. Many small and large private equity firms are starting to look at the market now as well. VC are calling and trying to get in the game any ways they can. I am not sure that many of the investments are very good once still, as investing in a point product companies or as many call it a widget company may not be the best thing after all, but the exits there can be short and the ROI will be good if the company can survive.