Enterprise 2.0 Think Tank Session

    August 10, 2006

Participating today in a think tank session on Enterprise 2.0 hosted by SAP. When I asked if the event was [ x ] bloggable, they agreed, but also gave the ability for someone to say something is explicitly Not Bloggable.

Susan Duggan from SVWIC came up with a great way to express this:

NB! blah, blah, redacted, etc.

The first session was a talk by Jeff Nolan, which is inherently bloggable. This will fundamentally change the way that we build and distribute software. This is software designed for users. To me, everything is networked so the idea of something being bloggable is fundamental.

If you were going to start a company today, to get VC funding it would be

* Web 2.0 in nature

* Built on the LAMP stack

* SaaS delivry

* Rely on “community” for development or adoption

* Have “r” in the name…Flickr, Zoomr, GTalkr, Taggr, Twttr, Wankr

Within SAP not much has been done officially, but there are lots of smart people looking at this. No broad adoption of scripting languages, which is an essential component, but Craig Cmehil on SDN has some toolkits and there are great examples of these leveraging Netweaver, for actual company value. We need to aggressively adopt scripting languages.

SOA is dead, Web 2.0 is what matters — SOA benefits are for people who are publishing software, Web 2.0 benefits are for people who actually use your software.

Mashups? What’s a mashup? In the consumer world, you are really doing some data integration for a service. But in our world, a mashup is doing process integration.

REST: Representational State Transfer, is HTML + XML without SOAP, with a stateless client/server protocol — and essential building block for Web 2.0 when combined with scripting. State doesn’t scale to consumer level volumes. Instead every message can be self contained.

SAP Challenges. We really don’t relying on other people’s code. We think software has to be complex — if it is important, it has to be hard, and dammit people are going to have to go through training to use it. Whole generations of users coming into our clients expecting something different. We don’t harness network effects. Turning your app into a platform is making it easy for people to build things you could never anticipate. We will give you, the lead user, 80% of the solution and let you innovate on top of us. Today, people need permission to do this with SAP. Network enable your applications. Enable data sharing and data defaults. Linkify everything. Syndicate your content. Turn your app into a platform. Open up and build a viral social architecture.

SAP has some amazing assets to leverage for our benefit, and we would be foolish not to do it. Some really cool services apps have been built and prototypes (Duet, Muse, Torrent). The volume of conversation about Web 2.0 is rising dramatically. What if Zimbra wants to create a new experience on top of SAP.

There is a technical infrastructure, economic model, development ideology, licensing models and delivery model for the Web — but little has to do with technology.

Ending open question: How does our business model get blown apart when we let people innovate and repackage our services?

Disclosure: SAP Ventures is an investor in my company, Socialtext.

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Ross Mayfield is CEO and co-founder of Socialtext, an emerging provider of Enterprise Social Software that dramatically increases group productivity and develops a group memory.

He also writes Ross Mayfield’s Weblog which focuses on markets, technology and musings.