If you read here, you’ll know I’m not a fan of the term Enterprise 2.0, at least not when it’s used to refer to Web 2.0 practiced behind the firewall.
I know why people feel the need to differentiate Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0; Web 2.0 suffers from an image problem, i.e. it’s associated with sites that serious business people find trivial.
MySpace. Need I say more.
But now that everyone seems to be jumping on the 2.0 train, including the suits, people seem even more determined to call their stuff Enterprise 2.0. Sure, I get it. Give the customer a warm cozy feeling that this very serious product is not in anyway like a toy.
Remember when the Intertubes was new? If not, read about it on Wikipedia. When I first started at Oracle, we needed secure net keys to get outside the corporate firewall. Companies didn’t see value; they saw risk. Vendors adjusted, inventing business-friendly words like “intranet” and “extranet”.
Years later, I often hear wishful musings about making this or that company’s intranet more like the Internet. Thanks Google.
+1 the openness of the Interweb makes it more ripe with innovation.
-1 the openness of the Interweb makes it more ripe with security problems.
Most times people who insist on “enterprise”-ing me, say the difference is security. This is just wrong. Take Facebook as an example. They’ve had very high profile struggles with security and privacy advocates, including state and local governments. Social networks know they have to safeguard privacy and provide secure environments in order to exist.
Now consider the enterprise. Everyone at your company has something in common. They all work at your company. You probably have photos of your family on your desk at work that everyone can see. Would you do that online at Flickr or Facebook?
Working for the same employer adds implicit trust into the equation, or at least the safety blanket of knowing your company can enforce certain standards of security, decency and privacy, with legal and fiduciary consequences.
Who enforces those at Facebook or MySpace? Or on the Interwebs at all?
Take your time.
My point is that social networks out in the wild have to worry about security and privacy all the time even in their sleep, or they do not exist. Plus they have millions of users, not thousands or hundreds, making the scale of the problem much worse.
Take away the “security makes it enterprise” argument, and I’ve not heard any other reasons why Enterprise 2.0 exists other than the warm fuzzy it gives customers and prospects. Maybe, it connects enterprise data to Web 2.0 goodness. That’s a stretch, and not many companies do that, aside from pulling employees out of the corporate LDAP.
Just so we’re clear, I’m not against any product or company calling itself Enterprise 2.0. I just think we could either do better naming-wise or stick with Web 2.0, which is pretty well entrenched by now.
If I’m missing something obvious, sound off in comments.