Socialtext, one of the earliest and most established pureplay Enterprise 2.0 vendors, released the latest version of its flagship suite this week, and it set me thinking. Is there a future for standalone Enterprise 2.0 software suites, now that the functionality they offer is increasingly being offered within established enterprise application software suites?
The independent survival of companies like Socialtext is probably guaranteed for a little while yet by the unresolved question whether collaboration gets subsumed into content management or process management. The recent ebizQ Forum discussion of this topic highlighted that it crosses both areas: in essence, collaboration is a process, but it’s often centered around content. In many organisations, therefore, it’ll make sense to keep it separate from both so that it can serve both equally well.
But the pressures to integrate more tightly into one or the other will intensify. There will be increasing competition from vendors approaching from both sides, whether content management or business applications. There will also be a logical attraction to extending into such areas, as Dennis Howlett’s blog about the Socialtext announcement this week suggested:
The next step must surely be along the path of direct process integration with an SAP, Oracle or Microsoft. Having got this far in making it easy to collaborate, taking that into business process a la Google Wave/12Sprints seems a logical way to go…