It’s been maybe eighteen months since I first put pen to paper on the Syndication/Search/Fulfilment/Collaboration model for enterprise software, and I’ve learnt a lot since then. Some of you were at the workshop at the bank in early December 2005, when I shared what I was thinking with participants; it just doesn’t seem like it was over a year ago.
Over the last eighteen months, one of the commonest questions/comments I’ve had on Four Pillars is this one:
But JP, what’s it going to look like? It all sounds like airy-fairy theory to me. Do you really expect SAP and Oracle and Excel and e-mail to disappear? Go get a life.
My answer is simple.
It’s going to look like Netvibes.
I think there’s a lot that we can learn from the Netvibes model. Here’s a summary:
- 1. It encapsulates syndication, search, conversation and fulfilment already. Yes it’s currently weaker on conversation and fulfilment, but the model’s already there.
- 2. It helps people visualise what it would mean to have “traditional” enterprise applications get “demoted” to becoming content publishers. Why do you think all the world and his wife are trying to patent RSS implementations? We should all rally round Dave Winer on this. RSS is for everyone; every attempt to patent a particular implementation just adds more gunk to the DRM gunge.
- 3. It exemplifies how single-sign on can work, how layers of application authentication and permissioning can get taken care of.
- 4. The powerful personalisation it represents is a sign of the times. Choose what you want to see, where you want to see it, how you want to see it. Mass customisation provided by relentless standardisation.
- 5. It leads the way on what browser independent means. Just look at how long it took for Netvibes to have Wii browser support. Amazing.
- 6. The ecosystem model is very much where enterprise software needs to go. To me it really gets the Free as In Freedom model right, it has all the feel and behaviour of community yetÂ is packaged in a sensible commercial manner.
- 7. It captures something that I think is critical for enterprises. A sense of consistent information from single trusted sources with differentiated granularity. You choose the granularity. The information remains the same. The process of altering the granularity is the same for everyone.
There’s a lot that’s good about Netvibes, and a lot we can improve on as well. What do you think? Do let me know.
I will continue on this theme sometime over the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, I wish everyone a happy new year.