There’s been a lot of focus on vendors at the E2.0 conference. From my point of view, too much focus (particularly the product demo ‘keynotes’), although actually still less than I thought there’d be.
One of the things that has come through very clearly to me has been the degree of overlap between systems. Walking through the exhibition, I found it fairly difficult to distinguish most of the systems from each other (although if I’d come armed with some specific requirements, I’m sure I would have been able to use these to create a quick shortlist).
One that stands out is Microsoft’s Sharepoint, particularly the new 2010 release that’s on show here. The session I’m currently in has concluded that Sharepoint is usually going to be there, for information storing and sharing, but that it’s social features are still quite weak and that there’s little in it to spark conversations (without extensive customisation such as in Microsoft’s own Academy Mobile).
It’s why Newgator won the Vendor Idol session – given its deep integration with Sharepoint, at least companies can use this and have something decent for users vs IT to use (although all vendors seem to integrate with it to a greater or lesser extent).
Note, my own experience contrasts with this view. As an example, I’ve been talking to Unilever who have just implemented Sharepoint gloablly (and only 2007) as a enabler for social change.
Anyway, it’s clear some of the systems do offer better social features, and are also much more attractive from a user perspective. Given the fascination over peoples’ ipads here, it’s clear this is the new battleground.
So my own vote goes to NGenera, a new entrant into the marketplace, with its Space system which was demoed earlier by IDEO who also inputted into its design, which shows.
Cisco’s new QUAD system looked OK as well and I’m sure will be another powerful new entrant in this space.
Other than sociability and usability, the other aspect of these systems I thought vendors would have been emphasising, particularly at this conference, would have been their use in socialising the business.
This is something I’ve thought Jive has done well over the last couple of years, and came over fairly well in the keynote yesterday, although the sales push and loud music detracted significantly from this. But Jive seems to have outsourced this creative piece to Dachis Group now which I think' is a mistake.
The two companies that seems to be coming into this space from an earlier focus on HR are Saba and Success Factors. Saba are rebranding their systems under the banner of Collaborative People Management. And Success Factors are starting to integrate with their new acquisition Cube Tree – developing what looks like it will be a very comprehensive offer (my only worry is that it will end up being a ‘social ERP’ ie just too big and complicated).
Anyway, ‘collaborative people management’: that’s what I think these vendors need to be about.
See more of my posts from the conference at bit.ly/e20conf.
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