Google brings soul to Enterprise Apps

Google_logo_4 Dave Girouard is the VP/GM of Google’s Enterprise business.  He was in Boston this week presenting at the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council.  Dave’s message was consistent with his earlier reference to darwinism and now famous quote that "Enterprise software is entirely bereft of soul". 

This time Dave sharpened the focus on how IT maintenance of complex systems has created a crisis in many enterprises and has stunted growth and innovation.   Software that doesn’t address end-user needs, is difficult to use and is complex will struggle to see user adoption or create value.  Dave’s perspective:

"..business software has become too complex and distant for its users. He predicted that future generations of enterprise software would, like Google’s applications, take their cue from the consumer market, stressing simplicity and ease of use. There’s been an artificial wall between consumer technology and enterprise technology, and it’s starting to crumble"

It would seem that some of the traditional software vendors are paying attention.  Dion Hinchcliffe outlines recent moves by SAP, ORCL, IBM and Microsoft as they focus on Enterprise 2.0 opportunities.

"While 2006 was a big year for Web 2.0 in the consumer space, it was barely on the radar in the enterprise world.  That didn’t stop volumes of press coverage, speculation, and debate about how applicable Web 2.0 technologies — from Ajax to social networking — would actually be to the business world.

However those in the enterprise who wanted to go ahead, experiment, and conduct pilot projects to see how Web 2.0 concepts work for them were largely stuck with very consumer-oriented Web 2.0 applications to try out.  That’s because until recently, the major software makers that supply the application platforms that run the vast majority of the business world haven’t had applications that specifically focused on Web 2.0 patterns and practices, things like social networking, tagging, mashups, architectures of participation, and so on.

The consumerization of the enterprise was predicted to be one of the significant trends of 2007 and a quick look at this list of applications confirms that it will indeed be a key story this year.However, in the last couple of months quite a different picture has emerged and the world’s largest software companies have taken clear aim at the Web 2.0 product space with announcement after announcement.  IBM, Microsoft, SAP, Oracle, and Intel all have significant products, often many of them, targeted at offering the modern consumer Web experience to workers inside the firewall.

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