In this installment, I’ll talk about some of the vendors I met at the Enterprise 2.0 conference. Some vendors show up to been seen and to show their wares. I’ll mention a few that caught my attention. Some people who work for vendors show up too — and they represent an interesting group of people to speak with. Some vendors show up to listen and learn. I admire these the most. Here are some highlights:
I was very intrigued by Yakabod. They have an Enterprise 2.0 platform that they have been deploying in many areas of the US intelligence community. (I have found other vendors who operate in that space too.) Yakabod is beginning to emerge into the corporate marketplace and I think they are a company to watch. As you can imagine, they have good answers to the security question. And this is critical to serious enterprises. I was most impressed with their activity stream interface. They distinguish between information that you might want to know about and information that you need to take action on. They provide a clever filtering mechanism that demonstrates their understanding of the different types of information workers.
I also enjoyed a good briefing with Newsgator. They also targeting the serious enterprise who has SharePoint (just about all do) but who are looking for much more functionality (aren’t we all). It was great to see that they have their feet planted in SharePoint 2007 and have their sights set on SharePoint 2010 too. They have some very cool social graph and analytic features that you might want to check out.
Speaking of SharePoint, I had a nice time catching up with Christian Finn and Venky from the SharePoint team at Microsoft. I met them earlier this year when they gave me a day-long briefing into the future directions of the product (sorry, details are under NDA). They showed up to the E2.0 conference – and that’s pretty cool of them. As they expected, they got picked on. The E2.0 crowd lost their love for Microsoft a long time ago. And Microsoft is well aware of that. But I give them credit for showing up, they came to listen and understand. This is the only way they’ll get it right in the future. It’s especially important for Microsoft, since it takes a long time for them to develop products. What this means: The forward-thinking ideas in 2005 about personal profiles translated into a tool that by 2007 was not particularly exciting anymore. The good stuff that you’ll see in 2010 was very forward-thinking in 2007 and 2008 when folks like Venky were creating it. But will it be as exciting next year (when you first see it) as it was last year? They are hoping it will. Let’s touch base in a few months and see.
Other vendors also came to listen and learn. I was pleased to meet Sharel Omer of Kono Live, Sebastien Blanc of YooLinkPro, and the team of Whatever (makers of KnowledgePlaza — a very cool application, but I just don’t like the name of the company; Olivier, Antoine what were you thinking?). They came to capture the pulse of the market — what the real issues are. And their products will benefit greatly by the insight they gathered. Plenty of services providers showed up too. I’ll shout out to the good folks at Allyis– it was a pleasure to meet Ethan Yarbrough and Eric Posner, we had a great time talking strategy, ROI, and how to get people to feel like they are part of your team.
I was hoping to see Cisco, Oracle, or Google at the expo. They each have technologies that could have a huge impact on the Enterprise 2.0 marketplace. Shame to not see them there. Maybe I just missed them?
Of course I had a chance to see the regulars in the E2.0 vendor group. Jive had an double booth that demonstrated it’s partnership with SAP’s Business Objects. Atlassian was there to show off it’s Enterprise Wiki. SocialText showed off their SocialCalc product (think wiki for a spreadsheet). I took a quick peek at Telligent, Awareness, Leverage, Tomoye, CentralDesktop, Box.net, and Traction– all of whom having something new to show.
I was also very interested to see BlueKiwi. BlueKiwi is an E2.0 platform that is largely unknown outside of France. However with their new partnership with Dassault Systèmes, I suspect that we’ll see many installations of BlueKiwi in manufacturing and consumer product companies, as well as in other organizations that center their activity on product life-cycle management. Keep them on your radar.
I saw some nice newcomers too. The quick Brainpark demo I got really got me thinking about a new way of thinking about microsharing. I’ll talk more about them in my next post.
OpenText impressed many people with their new enterprise social media and collaboration tools. With a solid enterprise-class suite of tools, OpenText was one of the few ECM/Portal players to make a showing and a splash at the conference. Whereas many E2.0 vendors target low-tech SMBs, only some vendors have the depth of credentials to handle Enterprise 2.0 (with a capital “E”) with it’s many hairy concerns. And this brings me to EMC…
I’ll be quite frank and say that I do not understand why EMC is moving forward with CenterStage. I know that EMC customers want more than what they get out of Dcoumentum/eRooms. But I was hoping for a partnership with an E2.0 vendor that could leverage Documentum on the back end. I did not see a lot of buzz around the EMC booth. Let’s see how the launch goes later this year guys.
I also met Umberto Milletti from InsideView. InsideView is simple but brilliant add-on to your CRM that helps sales people be more effective by leveraging social information. This is not exactly “E2.0″ in the traditional sense. But then again, this tool has a clear ROI story. That’s pretty important, yet surprisingly uncommon with many E2.0 vendors.
Did I miss anyone? Yes. But there’s another post coming up soon.