2009 will be the year when use of social networking tools within companies will be the talk of the town. Yes, it has been around for a while but to be honest, nothing much has really happened apart from that Serena Software uses Facebook internally. So when our global heads of Capgemini Consulting visited Sweden office last week and started talking about the power of social networking only five minutes into the talk I felt that something had changed. For the better.
Substantial growth is predicted [subscription only] in web 2.0 for the enterprise within the next five years. I believe the reasons are threefold.

  • A generation of business users that always have seen internet as a tool for collaboration and has been eager to adopt new web 2.0 tools to increase their work are moving into positions where they actually has a say over investment decisions. And it is not “generation Y”ers I am talking about, rather young enthusiastic knowledge workers that are fed up with the way they interact within their business.
  • The smaller niched vendors of this kind of software (e.g. Sixapart, Social text, Awareness, Jive Software) are growing stronger in the enterprise space while big players such as IBM and Microsoft are moving into the social/collaborative space with their internally focused platforms such as Sharepoint (or maybe even more Live Mesh) and Lotus Connections.
  • The probable recession that we see on the horizon might trigger a new behavior amongst IT executives with slashed IT budgets. That massive ERP reinvestment might have to wait for another year and money can be spent on a more lightweight hosted SaaS solution for social interaction.

Next year will be the year when these factors coincide and when management truly understands the power of its employees and how they interact.