Thursday, June 12, 2008

Enterprise 2.0 , 2008 - Oracle

So here's another 2.0 - Enterprise 2.0
I had the opportunity to witness the Enterprise 2.0 event and to attend one of the Oracle' sessions on Enterprise 2.0.

Before that I met an Analyst who was of the opinion that web 2.0 was Marketing hype or BS whereas enterprise 2.0 had some substance . He couldn't get the ROI of web 2.0 and had a point .."web 2.0 has mashups, ajax, blogs, wikis ..so what ..people write more , talk more , so .." I too had the same questions and similar skepticism on 2.0 series which is leashed upon us every alternate month.

So how did Oracle's team convince such skeptics ?

I should say Steve Diamond, Oracle did a pretty good job in demonstrating the what , why and how of e20.

He quoted Ray Lane's seven rules of software innovation
I have provided some examples of Steve and of mine in parenthesis.

1. Serves an individual need - (Linkedin.com)
2. virally adopted - (facebook applications)
3. contextualized personal info - (Linkedin.com)
4. no data entry /training required - (mint.com )
5. delivers instant value - ( mint.com)
6. utilizes community and social relationships (twitter.com invites from google contacts)
7. minimal footprint (mint.com)


I found the "why ?" part of the e2o talk interesting . Below are some takeaways.
For any 'why' in enterprise , decision makers have the fundamental equation

Increase in Revenue and/or Decrease in Cost = ' Must Have '

Critical Driving factors are as below
  1. Productivity
  2. Innovation
  3. Effectiveness
For any person involved in developing/selling any product/solution, the above equation
and driving factors are crisp guidelines .

The other remaining parts of talk were - what, how .
What - was ok , as there are various opinions on this as e20 is still evolving.
How - As per Oracle folks , right now it was Social CRM which has features like SalesProspector helpful to Salespeople. And another offering HCM , human capital management.

CRM seems a smart move. Some thoughts below.

CRM is one such enterprise application where ROI could be easily demonstrated . Increase in number of Leads, Prospects, Revenue correlation could be demonstrated easily. Check out the features of Social CRM.

Other web 2.0 features like discussion, tags, wiki, blog, groups , RSS, mashups have value . When applied to any other enterprise application like Finance,HR or for functions like Engineering/Prod Mgt etc will yield value but to correlate the benefits will be difficult.

Example :
Tagging/Discussion/wiki/blogs help classifying, generating, validating, information but to actually say that the blogs resulted in reducing cost, reducing defects, implementing more use cases , improved product features would be difficult esp when the ROI has to be quantifiable, measurable and should be correlated.

Unless ROI is not in numbers, the number/finance people will not put substantial money.
They might be fine for wiki/tagging/blogs/mashups etc . But again they will be open for only open source free solutions . To get any money from the enterprise guys , the value or ROI has to be clear and this is where a social twist to CRM will help Oracle to penetrate e20 market.

Talk was good. Plan is good . Product ??
But right now the products don't seem to be there yet. They seem to be work in progress are still evolving with web 2.0 features like discussions, community calendar, groups, tagging, rss etc scattered all over.

Seems someone sprinkled web 2.0 elements across different applications/pages.

The demo of the web pages was audible but not visible.Instead of displaying a web page with small icons , they could have given a flash demo.

I discussed with Peter Heller, Oracle on the differences between Oracle offering and of others like Opentext and Social text.

He had some interesting insights as below.


1. Web 2.0 in Enterprise
Features - Blogs, Social Networking, Tagging, RSS, Wikis, AJAX , RIA etc etc
Oracle Products - Webcentre, Aqua logic etc

2. Enterprise 2.0 Apps
- Contextual HCM, Finance, etc embedded with new apps .

Advantages
  • Management of Security and other systems
  • Single Metdata repository
  • Embedded Business Intelligence
My take below..

Security :
Security is one key concern for any enterprise . One quick example,
Enterprises will definitely be concerned about state of the art ' tagging application' to be available on their existing enterprise applications /data .

Say , even if enterprises are proactive to adopt these plethora of web 2.0 apps, but then buying so many applications from different vendors and then to worry about single sign on does not make any sense .

Embedded Business Intelligence:
If LinkedIn could demonstrate value to us by giving us updates on our contacts , imagine
what can a huge CRM/HRM Database is capable of doing.

My analogies for e20
Facebook minifeed says.. " Your friend has taken a movie quiz "
LinkedIn says " Your friend has added new friends from XYZ college/company "

Now e20 could be as below ..
CRM Feed to Sales person " Your colleague in some remote country has closed a new deal in this emerging space ..go talk to him and get more money .."

HRM feed to Hiring Manager ..." You placed a requisition for some unknown untested skill..good news ..one of the enterprising developer in some other project has worked on this .. he is free now .. he has posted 3 blogs , 2 forum posts on this skill..go get him ..lest he might post 2 more blogs and get hired somewhere else "

Finance Feed .." Your peer in some xyz dept has reduced has achieved 10 % reduction in cost..seems he has learnt it atlast ..read his blog, check which vendor he has added to his contacts and add your peer to your group..u need a support group .tag this as cost cutting tip ...act fast "


As you see e20 does add value :-)

e20 Vendors

One would think that ERP vendors have a good chance to build e20 applications on the existing enterprise apps or for that matter all Platform vendors like MS, IBM, Oracle have easy access
to enterprises than small vendors have . So they will try to build something on existing platforms and offer (bundle/free) in market and they will attempt it with a credible ROI story.
For now , SAP seems to be sleeping and is letting e20 pass by ..either it will come with e30 or acquire some companies and do a mashup of all of them.

It will be good to see customer acquisition data of niche players like Opentext and Socialtext .
My current company, Pramati has product offerings in web 2.0 and will soon launch a e20 product ..watch out for the social twist on the enterprise .

1 comment:

Jay Pullur said...

"Embedded Intelligence" .. I kind of like it. There is more in the enterprise (in its applications, its people, its conversations) than what is actually being put to use. Something like what the book If only we knew, what we know says.

Bringing that out, would require a new architecture of user participation. A new set of tools, Widgets, whatever that fits (a) the work environment (filling the gaps), (b) the context of business applications (not as additional applications to learn/dread), and (c) corporate culture (blend of openness and security).