Defrag Blog

Defrag Back and Forward

by Eric Norlin on Jun.23, 2010, under Uncategorized

Now that I’ve looked at some of the underpinnings of Defrag, I wanted to capture (briefly) my personal big takeaways from last year’s conference.

1. Two sides of the same coin: The overwhelming meta-theme from Defrag 2009 was that social media and enterprise 2.0 are two sides of the same coin (call it “social business”). Beyond that, it was pretty obvious that very few vendors were even on the path to addressing this (much less had a solution). The ball seems to have moved a bit since last year, though admittedly, there are some huge hurdles here –as the conflation of “marketing” and IT is really what this is all about. And, *that*, is one seriously hard move. Going forward, this meta-theme means that the “consumerization of IT” extends so far as to mean that IT functions dissolve into other horizontal and line of business units.

2. Activity Streams: There was a clear consensus last year that activity streams (inside of the enterprise) were going to be big. Socialcast was an early leader in the space, but around last year’s show the signs of clear competition from the likes of Socialtext, Yammer and Salesforce.com had appeared. Of course, now SFdC’s Chatter product has come out of beta, so the Defrag participant’s interest in activity streams seems more than spot-on.

3. The Rise of the App Marketplace: This was one of the forward-looking things that really hit me, but may have slipped under the radar a bit. The meme of the app marketplace is coming to the enterprise. Installing collaborative, emergent environments is not enough. What we’re really driving toward is an opening up of the enterprise data layer — exposing APIs, if you will — and driving toward a world where the employee (or partner or customer) is not only consuming IT applications, but BUILDING them. The IT “app marketplace” is coming. Bank on it.

4. Business Intelligence/Analytics: Whether we were talking social media, semantic structures, or enterprise 2.0 - the rumble of “yea, but where’s the BI/analytics side” was ever-present from buyers. I heard it over and over and over again — *especially* on the social media side. And it’s not a failure of vendors. They’re trying. The problem is that we just don’t have good constructs for *how* to measure what we need measured fully. If there’s one “neglected” area that I see (and I mean at other conferences, in the blogs, etc), its BI/analytics.

Throw those four things in a pot and I think you’ve got a fair assessment of where we ended Defrag 2009 (you’ll notice that much of it is still ahead of where we are in 2010). But what about going forward?

Well, cyclicality rules. And, as the enterprise 2.0 space begins to approach mainstream adoption (I said, “begins”) - we’re now seeing the all too familiar “suite versus best of breed” wars heat up again. So, let me just state this now: this argument will not get resolved. In fact, it only serves as a sign post on the road of maturity. It’s usefulness lies in knowing that you can watch the best of breed innovation to see where the suite acquisitions will come from. That’s it. Really. Next?

In the wake of that signpost, and in light of the as yet resolved areas highlighted above, what we really need to explore are *radical* value propositions. Sameer Patel and I started this conversation a few months back (with regards to Defrag), and in the next post, I’ll start laying out what I mean, and how Defrag 2010 will try to address it.

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