re: Enterprise 2.0 B.S. List: Term No. 1 Consumerization
Tony - ah, time to stir up controversy as we head into the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in a few weeks. Nicely done.
Interesting points, and I agree that humanization is a more accurate term - whether it's a more useful term... not as clear to me.
I'm not as interested in the label debate...
I don't think that Enterprise 2.0 gurus, practitioners, or solution providers are ignoring usability or human-centered design as they work on interface design, as you suggest.
On the contrary, of all the market segments that are aimed at employees, Enterprise 2.0 solutions are, in my experience, the most focused on usability and user experience of any category of solutions.
And they have to be, because, among other things, consumerization/humanization has made it bloody obvious that if your interface sucks, people simply will not use it.
There is too much competition for easy to use, everyday "consumers" (not you and I or many of The BrainYard folks who are, as you say, geekier than most) - and what's "hot" will burn out in moments to be replaced by something else.
What remains "usable/useful" however, will remain - and *that* is the part of consumerization that is worth keeping.
E2.0 solutinos also have to be user experience focused, because they are among the most actively used systems - as collaboration is an ongoing process, not just a "final repository."
As a result, that means E2.0 providers have to think about the many devices and ways their systems will actually be used. (Note: HTML 5 isn't anywhere near a standard yet, BTW - and it's possible to use stylesheets and other templating features to create multi-platform mobile interfaces upfront.)
You don't take the "out of the box" experience of an ERP system and try to cram it onto an iPhone, or even an iPad (pick your favorite mobile platform, doesn't matter to me) - that simply won't work. Taking *any* traditional technology system, assuming bigger screens, higher bandwidth, full keyboards, and expecting them to work well in a mobile world, us just insane as well.
That means, even in the Enterprise, developers/suppliers need to realize that they are competing for attention with a much larger universe of expectations for the user experience - and can't assume that "selling seats" really means anything (if it ever did), which is the bottom line for the traditional suppliers.
That's the primary reason I began covering blogs, wikis, social networks et al back in 2003.
Traditional CMS players (and all the satellite technologies/practices around CMS) had become so big, clumsy and disconnected from the actual use of their interfaces by normal humans, that then (as now, unfortunately), people had to be beaten with a stick to get these systems used.
Stripping away complex UIs for simple interfaces to just let people get content out the door was (and still is) a huge revelation.
Now, with SaaS/cloud offerings, a bit more interoperability/standards (never enough, but nothing's perfect), and an evolving array of interfaces to deal with, modern solution providers know they need to keep proving themselves over and over again if they're going to keep their paying customers happy on a regular basis.
That's a true "consumer" mindset - vs. the 3-7 year lifecycles I see every day in traditional enterprise solutions.
Everyone realizes that the iPad has only existed for a year, correct? And yet look at how quickly that consumer-oriented device has leapt into enterprise discussions.
Consumerization vs. humanization - either way, it's refocusing on the user and their experience.
As someone who has been giving away copies of Steve Krug's book for the last 10 years (Steve - if you're reading, thank you for the great material, and feel free to send a gift my way - it's easily been 200 books ;), I'm all for improved user experience.
God knows, we need more people focused on better user experience (I'm willing to settle for *any* concern about the experience at this point), both enterprise solution providers, and internal IT.
But come on - Users, humans, consumers, experience, usability, interaction - it's all related. Pick a term, make it happen, and lather, rinse, repeat. It's never done and the labels will change to some new subtlety that only the cutting edge will appreciate. What good does that do for the masses (ahem, consumers) today?
And the bottom line, many organizations are not yet sophisticated enough to recognize subtle differences in these terms - which is why I recommend leaving whatever term is sticking, to be taken and run with, rather than focus on debating labels.
To my fellow enterprise citizens - get things done - call it what you will.
Actions, not debate, are what will get your business seeing the benefits of any of this.
The rest is just posturing. We did that in the 90s... you don't need it now. Go go go!