With its Notes pedigree, IBM’s Lotus family of products dates back to the very beginnings of enterprise collaboration software. Its presence in the collaboration market is still substantial, so it was probably only a matter of time before IBM started leavening its Lotus marketing with talk of social business, the happening new name for what used to be called enterprise 2.0. What has surprised many observers at the company’s annual Lotusphere conference this week, though, is the sheer body of weight and momentum IBM has thrown behind the social business meme. Here’s just a sampling of the shock waves that permeated coverage of the event:
- Pinch me. Social Business has arrived
- The Fifth Shift in Business Technology
- Live @ Lotusphere: The Social Business Market’s So Big We Gotta Wear Shades
- Move Over Facebook, IBM Goes Social for Business
What has bowled these observers over is that IBM has declared social business as the next transformative shift in computing, on a par with earlier shifts from mainframe to client-server, from PCs to Internet. It may for all that still be a marketing ploy, but talking about social business in these terms declares it to be a marketing ploy that IBM will put its full weight and resources behind. That’s a mass that can affect the market and drive mainstream perceptions for everyone that plays there, not just IBM.
Back in the mid-1990s, when people were still barely starting to become aware of the Internet…