Curated for content, computing, and digital experience professionals

Tag: long tail

The “2.0” Qualifier and A Reality Check

Last week’s FASTforward 07 event, sponsored by FAST Search, was a great opportunity to immerse ourselves in search and the state of our collective efforts to solve the knotty problems associated with finding information. (The escape to San Diego during an East Coast winter freeze was an added bonus.)

Much of the official program covered topics “2.0” — Web 2.0, Enterprise 2.0, Search 2.0, Transformation 2.0, Back Office 2.0. Regular readers know that the Gilbane team generally approaches most things “2.0” with skepticism. In the case of its use as a qualifier for the Web, it’s not that we question the potential value of bringing greater participation to Web-based interactions. Rather, it’s that use of the term causes the needle on our hype-o-meter to zip into the red alert zone. This reaction is further aggravated by the trend towards appending “2.0” to other words, sometimes just to make what’s old seem new again. We note, without comment, that O’Reilly Media’s conference in May has been dubbed Where 2.0.

We listened carefully to the 2.0’s being tossed out like Mardi Gras coins at FASTforward last week. One voice that stood out as a great reality check is that of Andrew McAfee, associate professor at Harvard Business School. In his keynote talk, “Enterprise 2.0: The Next Disrupter,” he presented a definition of Enterprise 2.0:

Enterprise 2.0 is the use of emergent social software platforms within companies, or between companies and their partners or customers.

The important word in McAfee’s definition is emergent, which is not the same as emerging. McAfee also outlined the ground rules for an enterprise that can legitimately lay claim to the use of the 2.0 qualifier. Read the FASTforward entries on his blog for his own eloquent summary.

In addition to his talk on Enterprise 2.0, McAfee also participated in a lunch presentation on research conducted by Economist Intelligence Unit on executive awareness of Web 2.0 and in a limited-seating roundtable on 2.0 topics. Both are briefly described on his blog.
In short, McAfee’s work is recommended reading for anyone interested in separating 2.0 market hype from potential business value.

Another highlight of FASTforward for us was keynoter Chris Anderson on “The Long Tail” and the application of Long Tail theories to search and content life cycles. By pure happenstance, the Gilbane team shared a limo to the airport with Anderson. In his day job as editor-in-chief of Wired magazine, he and his staff are experiencing significant levels of frustration with the publishing process — specifically, getting content out of a leading professional publishing tool and into the web content management system. While we found his Long Tail talk interesting, the conversation in the limo reminded us that solving some basic business communication problems is still a challenge. It was a thought-provoking way to end the week.

For more on FASTforward ’07, check out our enterprise search blog.

Enterprise software & the long tail

Joe Kraus has a post that applies the now famous long tail argument to software. He admits that the argument applies to software like his own company’s JotSpot, and plugs it in. But if he is right, his argument applies to other products including JotSpot’s competitors.

It is easy to agree with the premises:

  • the vast majority of business applications require customization
  • most enterprise solutions focus on a few large semi-well-defined application areas because the economics don’t reward small (long tail) opportunity harvesting, and
  • there is opportunity here for software entrepreneurs.

Joe argues that a combination of Excel and email are being used to fill the long tail gap, but that they are inadequate. This may be true, but it is a bit of a leap to an implied conclusion that one piece of “blockbuster” software could better meet the needs of the long tail of business requirements in all their diversity.

This is not to say that there won’t be more blockbuster successes that help with long tail business needs — Excel, email, and web browsers are all examples of such a wild horizontal success — and Groove of one that didn’t catch fire (see Bill Trippe’s comment on the Microsoft acquisition), but will some combination of enterprise blog and wiki software be equally successful? Well… maybe. In any case, Joe’s post is thought provoking and his analogy might be richer than he, or any of his commenters to date, realize.

© 2020 The Gilbane Advisor

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑