The BrainYard - Where collaborative minds congregate.

Stowe Boyd, Contributor

December 12, 2006

3 Min Read

The former Collaborative Technologies Conference is undergoing a name change (to Enterprise 2.0 Conference), and a repositioning. I have had a chance to talk with several of the folks involved and I think the motivations for this are dead on.

Let me try to characterize the forces pushing in the enterprise marketplace for social software, which is what I think the conference is trying to service, in both guises.

Collaboration is a word rooted in the groupware era of the 90s, and was an attempt to distinguish then-new technologies -- like Lotus Notes and Novell Groupwise -- from their antecedents: stressing the collaborative and ad hoc nature of groupware against a backdrop of generation of extremely inflexible functional applications. These products are based on ideas that predate the rise of the Internet. Don't get me wrong: I am not against collaboration. But the term, when used as the single adjective in front of "software" is a differentiation from antique technologies that just isn't relevant anymore.

I gave a talk in 1995 at a Giga Business Process and Workflow event, where I predicted that the Internet was going to change everything, and that the workflow (and groupware) industry would be radically remade by it. I predicted that in less that five years 50% of the then-dominant workflow companies would go out of business, and that 50% of the soon-to-be dominant companies would be new startups. I went onto predict that this reformation of the industry would lead to Giga restructuring its analysis services and shutting down the Business Process and Workflow event. The vertical market structure then in place -- with workflow products designed for banks, or insurance companies, or credit card processing -- would be obliterated by much more horizontal technologies, principally because of the benefits of adopting the Internet as a platform.

In 2001, I received a call from my old friend, Connie Moore, at Giga. She invited me to give a keynote that the upcoming Business Process and Workflow event. I asked why, and she told me that they had looked into my predictions and they had all come to pass. "And," she said, "this is the last Business Process and Workflow event. We are reorganizing, as you predicted, and the conference doesn't fit any more."

The same thing is happening today, with Web 2.0 principles forming the basis of another platform for the enterprise to move onto. A similar horizontal shift is blenderizing old concepts and new together into a novel mix. It's time for new adjectives, and new thinking to animate them.

So, Enterprise 2.0 will extend and rework many of the themes that we explored in past years at the CTC, but we are starting with some new organizing premises. However, Enterprise 2.0 is not going to be yet-another-Web-2.0 conference. It will focus specifically on the enterprise, and will dig into the nuts-and-bolts of scaling Web 2.0 concepts to business needs and models. This is going horizontal, with a vertical twist: horizontical.

I am glad to say that I will be continuing on as a program committee member, now in my third year working on the program. Let me know your thoughts and recommendations, as we are headed into the hottest part of the planning phase in the next month or two.


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