One of the big questions in Enterprise 2.0 revolves around which vendors will lead in this important new market. Over the past couple years we've seen an onslaught of new companies offering disruptive solutions that challenge the status quo and unlock new value in business through better access to information and people and through the socialization of software. The big software vendors have taken notice and are responding to the Enterprise 2.0 call in force. This is a critical time for Enterprise 2.0, as a market with no clear leader.Microsoft and IBM have dominated this market with their SharePoint and Lotus platforms. But lightweight, web-based companies have been quick to innovate and deliver increasingly elegant software to get the job done without the expense and complexity of running big software platforms.Blogger Dennis Howlett just posted "The end of software..." which takes an interesting look at the battle that's ensuing.
"First, we have the mega vendors who think they own the enterprise but have little clue what theyre doing when it comes to providing community style collaborative software. As Barry Libert, chairman of Mzinga said to me: Does Microsoft have a relationship with me? Do any of the monster vendors? Second, we have the startups who are largely making their money by selling social media style solutions to marketers. While the two solution sets may look the same from the outside, they are being bought in fundamentally different ways and are setting up a tension that today is barely felt but which will have a disruptive effect on the software buying patterns of the future. "So what do you think? Will a newbie "Enterprise 2.0" company provide something so useful, so easy and scalable that it becomes a serious enterprise player? Or will IT take the "nobody ever got fired for buying ____" approach and stick with the battle-tested big vendors?