Y2K was the tipping point. Extraordinary innovations in processing power, storage capacity, networking capability and software applications had driven a growth phase in Enterprise technology that suddenly came to a screeching halt. Innovation ceased and many Enterprises faced the reality that Y2K hysteria, combined with an overreaction to the first phase of the web had driven a glut of technology purchasing. Enterprise technology decision makers turned their focus inward, working to integrate disparate systems, cut costs, drive efficiencies, rationalize ROI and hang on to their jobs. What ensued was a lost decade. Technology innovation didn't stop however. It simply moved on.
Advances in UI, mobile computing, wireless, broadband and a new generation of social networking, distribution and publishing applications sprang up, as Web 2.0 defined a new era of innovation and creativity in technology. The majority of these new technologies were adopted in the consumer marketplace. As Web 2.0 brought confirmation that the web had become the computational platform however, the Enterprise market awoke from it's decade long slumber. Early adopting Enterprises started taking Web 2.0 applications and platforms and adapting them for business. Enterprise technology vendors weren't sitting idly by either. Bold new technologies like Cloud Computing, SaaS, Virtualization, Unified Communications, enhanced Business Intelligence and advances in Rapid Software and Web Development ignited a new wave of innovation and the Enterprise 2.0 era took off.
Business growth in the "lost decade" was driven primarily by mergers and acquisitions. Business growth today is driven by collaboration. Organizations need to be nimble, agile and adaptable in order to collaborate and drive growth. Success in business now is defined by the ability to create a collaborative team across the entire ecosystem; including employees, customers, suppliers and influencers. In essence The Enterprise needs to become "social". This requires a new approach. A new operating system is needed for "The Social Enterprise". Social Business Software is an emerging category that best defines the platforms and tools that will fuel the social enterprise. It is a category we think will accelerate rapidly in the next few years as businesses of all sizes look to fuel collaboration and drive growth.
This week in Boston we will be hosting our Enterprise 2.0 Conference, which is focused on helping people and organization harness technology to create and manage the social enterprise. It's the largest gathering for people looking to leverage 2.0 technologies to connect teams and harness collective intelligence and provides visionary keynotes, informative sessions, case studies and an Expo Pavilion featuring the latest technologies from established leaders and innovative start-ups. I'll also be speaking this week at Jive Software's "Get Social" event in Boston. My presentation is entitled "The Lost Decade" and touches on many of the themes outlined in this post. I'll include a copy of the slides here. Let me know your thoughts on The Social Enterprise and what your company is doing to drive collaboration, agility and growth.