The entire debate is worth a read, the polarisations are fascinating. As and when I finish my Facebook series, I will get around to commenting on the avalanche [nb as per Doc Searls and his conversations with George Lakoff, a blog post is a snowball; it starts with the poster, but then gathers life and pace of its own accord; when this happens with many branches and forks, it seems reasonable to call it an avalanche.]
In the meantime, a few things stand out to me:
1. Outside-in design is an absolute must. We have spent far too long insisting on a distinction between what the employee uses and what the customer uses; as the walls of the organisation increasingly get porous, the distinction becomes false. Where I work, we are spending time and energy seeking to converge the two views, so that the customer and the employee exercise the same codebase. A goodly number of my guys are restricted to having the same applications access as our customers : how else will we know what our customers face?
2. Consumerisation amongst employees is a today issue. Tomorrow’s employees will insist on an applications experience at work that is at least close to the experience they have at home. Tomorrow’s employees will insist on using their own devices and choosing the way they want to interact with their apps. Platform and device agnosticism, with customisable UIs and skins, are must-haves, not nice-to-haves. In order to prepare for tomorrow’s employees we have to act today. Which is what we are doing.
3. Simplicity and convenience can be had at the same time as reliability and security. While Moore and Metcalfe and Gilder have acted in concert to provide us significant productivity gains over the past few decades, human longevity has not moved at anywhere near the same rate. As a result we are far more jealous of our time, and therefore things like boot sequences, boot-up times, management of screen real estate, all these things have really begun to matter. Today. That’s why many enterprises are spending considerable time on user centred design. Where I work, we’ve even changed our internal form and structure to cater for this. We don’t have network, product, process or IT departments. We are a Design department, focused on the user experience.
Searching for things within the humongous database that is the enterprise; searching not on a deterministic basis but on a probabilistic one, with heuristics and learning, preferences and profiling. Syndication or subscription, where individual information element changes are pushed out as if by RSS, rather than through formal structured enquiry screens fullof sound anf fury, signifying nothing. Fulfilment processes that don’t distinguish between booking a meeting room, a flight, a hotel room or a contractor. Conversational support covering blogs and wikis and IM rather than just snail mail and its often appalling electronic counterpart. These are the Four Pillars of the enterprise applications of tomorrow. Using any device, anytime, anywhere, with whatever modality of communications best suits purpose. Collaboratively filtered, rated and ranked. Learning and teaching.
Enterprise 2.0 is already upon us, providing us attractive, usable, reliable and secure applications. We just haven’t made the move to adopting it. But it’s happening now, with Generation M, mobile, multimedia, multitasking and here. Now.
An aside. It would appear that much of Web 2.o, from a consumer perspective, is about music and films and entertainment and gaming and pornography.Â So what’s the enterprise equivalent of all these? What gets enterprise people’s rocks off?Â Spreadsheets and presentations and databases. Go figure.