By Nathan Rudyk
The "Web 2.0 meets the enterprise" year of 2007 started with IBM breathing new life into Lotus by embracing the "Enterprise 2.0" market. There's a raft of new tools with all the requisite 2.0 buzzwords destined to require fleets of IBM Global Services people to get them up and running.
Observers like Jevon MacDonald, Andrew McAfee and Dion Hinchcliffe are tracking moves like this, with Dion writing about "risk aversion" and "hierarchical control", Andrew clueing in the next generation of Harvard Business School leaders, and Jevon cynically predicting that 2007 will be "The Year the Enterprise Woke Up".
Meanwhile, I think the real low-hanging fruit dangles for the companies that embrace the non-hierarchical, HBS-free, global-services-immune small business software market. The Myspace of business software hasn't arrived yet, but when it does, it's going to be more exciting and profound than anything the enterprise software community will be able to dream up as a tack-on list of features to old technnology architectures and corporate hierarchies - not that there's anything wrong with that.
Right now we're experimenting with Six Apart's VOX on an economic development project, and in so doing have run across other social software-enabled Web tools like SiteKreator and SquareSpace. The price small business has to pay to use this software ranges from free (VOX) to $49 per month (SiteKreator).
From a rock-the-world perspective, it would be great if this software came from a new generation of companies versus the likely suspects of Microsoft and Google. And if you're one of those companies, get in touch. We'd love to work with you and help you rock!