This is the first post of a multi-post series covering the discussion between SOCIALtality founder and 20-year Fidelity-enterprise veteran, Wendy Troupe and myself. The topics of our discussions were around Social Media, the emerging Enterprise 2.0 movement and the issues facing companies contemplating adoption.
In our discussions we addressed five questions. Today we are going to address the first question: Why do you think Enterprise 2.0 market predictions, from recognized experts, vary so greatly?
A recent article in Venture Beat mentions Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior’s prediction that the Enterprise collaboration market will swell to $34 Billion. The IDC predicts the market to be $1.6 Billion by 2013 and Forrester predicted that the market will be $4.6 Billion by 2013.
I think a big problem is that nobody is really making a distinction between services and actual tools. Some of the analysts are looking at tools; some are looking at services, and some are looking at both. You also have different companies surveying different people and getting different results. If you look at any group of surveys dealing with the social space, you’ll find that the results are all over the place. Each research group collects data in different ways and defines things differently. What the IDC defines as Enterprise 2.0 and what Forrester defines as Enterprise 2.0 will be different. Some will include data from companies starting to integrate Enterprise 2.0, some will only include data from companies that have integrated the system for a specified length of time. People have different ways of defining the space: there’s Social Media, Enterprise 2.0, Social Business. What defines a tool, an initiative, or a strategy as Enterprise 2.0? I think there’s disagreement there. People are arguing over semantics. If you asked ten executives to define Enterprise 2.0 or Social Media or Social Business, you’d probably get ten different answers. At the end of the day, they’re on the verge of guessing. If you look at the numbers quoted ($1.6, $4.6 and $34 Billion), the differences are massive. Right now, we’re in the early stages of this category and people are just not sure about the potential. I’m looking towards the higher end of the spectrum and think the market will be greater than what Forrester and IDC predicts, but perhaps not as $34 billion.
There’s a lot of discrepancy on even current social media tools in the market and the market’s value. If you look at Forrester Reports over time, you’ll find different estimates at different times. Unforeseen market forces like the current downturn can have immediate impact on numbers.
I also think the space isn’t well defined. Most of the tools currently out there haven’t been around for a long time. A few tools, like SharePoint have been around for a while. A few years ago at Fidelity we used SharePoint to create a social collaboration/intranet tool. But the I think the concept is still too new and the space is ill-defined.
I think it can be good to put a concept out there without a clear definition to generate conversation. It’s the conversation that will often better define the concept. I think businesses need to get a better understanding of the external space first – get their heads around that – and then it will force the issue internally. They’ll need a new, faster collaboration system to meet the volume and speed of those external interactions.
Things to thing about:
Social Media and Enterprise 2.0 are still very new and part of an ill-defined space — a space whose internal boundaries remain fuzzy. Where do you think those boundaries should be drawn? Should analysts specify between the market for tools and the market for services to more accurately pinpoint the potential? Should understanding begin externally and then migrate inward through necessity or vice versa? What are your thoughts on all of this?
The next post in the series will cover two questions:
Why do you think companies are quicker to adopt a tool rather than develop a clear strategy for leveraging Enterprise 2.0 capabilities?
Must a company experience a wholesale paradigm shift in order to derive value from Enterprise 2.0 or can an incremental integration approach succeed?