Business communities, social application portals, mobile, business apps – all on SharePoint?

Yup.  Yesterday, was a big release for us of our mobile adapter and initial mobile-enabled apps by CorasWorks and partners.  Tonight, I’ve blogged about a business-oriented Idea Community and a socially-oriented IT Project management application portal. You may wonder what is going on…

What you are seeing with CorasWorks is the Enterprise 2.0/3.0 convergence.  Yes, its taken a few years to get it right on SharePoint.  That is because basic collaboration with SharePoint, structured business applications, and cool social collaboration all started in different places across the industry.  The analysts still have them all in separate categories – go check out Gartner’s listing.

In fact, a month ago I was at the Gartner Portals, Collaboration and Content conference in Baltimore.  I’ve been there for years.  This year social collab, mobile, cloud et al was the talk of the analysts.  But, when you sat at the tables for lunch with your fellow enterprise customers – they would say straight out that that social stuff would never be in their enterprise.

I then went to a presentation by IBM of their new Websphere Application Portal – filled with widgets and nice social things.  And, the room was filled with all of the people that said that they were looking for serious application portals.  Yet, the IBM demo looked alot like the demos we do for our solutions on SharePoint.

My take is that we are starting to see the properly balanced convergence between structured business applications and unstructured, socially termed collaboration.  Mobile is a great glue for this.  The cloud is a solid option for infrastructure.  Private clouds are fine also.  And, the platform players are all getting it…

It has taken the industry and the customers years to start sorting through this battle between “real” business apps and this “social” consumer thing. I first blogged about this convergence last April of 2009, one year ago, specifically calling on Gartner to look at adjusting their categories over the next year.

Yes, there are pitch battle lines drawn.  But, over the years, we’ve started to sort out the proper way to balance the benefits.  There is emerging a set of standards, best practices and technologies that are indeed “bringing it all together”.  And, this convergence is going to be strongest on top of the super-power platforms.

SharePoint 2010 is simply going to move things forward.  You’ll start to see that all of the things that we have been doing over the last year are steps towards this proper convergence.  They’ll get greater exposure and adoption along with the adoption of SharePoint 2010.  It has been exciting to watch the software industry’s development over the last 3-4 years and the steps of the SharePoint community.

With the economy starting to move forward, productivity at a high in the US and a reluctance to hire, there is pressure to continue productivity enhancing investments.  I believe that this convergence can give organizations just the booster in 2010 they need to keep the profits rolling in in the short term and gain a new foothold with higher productivity levels for the longer term.



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