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The Widgetized Enterprise


Posted by on April 19, 2012

I think the delivery and pricing models for vendors is going to change, actually I think it has to change.  Right now if you want deploy a collaboration vendor you get licenses for your employees and get access to their suite of features.  If you have another vendor you like you do the same thing.  But what happens if you like the ideation capabilities of one platform, the wiki feature of another platform, and the microblogging feature of a third platform?  All of a sudden you’re in a bit of a tricky spot.  You’ll probably be able to cobble together some sort of an integration but I can guarantee that it won’t last.

What we need is a “WordPress for the enterprise” and before its acquisition I thought Podio was the closest to moving down that road.  When you think of WordPress you think of a content management and delivery platform but it’s more than that.  Take a look at how many millions of sites all run on wordpress, each with a unique look and feel and each with it’s own set of features and plugins that can be customized and added to make every site unique and individual.  Currently we don’t have anything like this for the enterprise.  Sure, some vendors have their own app stores where you can buy and download application specific additions but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  Atlassian is probably the closes vendor out there to building a complete enterprise ecosystem with apps but even those are focused on the single platform.

I think vendors that have been trying so hard to consolidate their applications and features into a single suite are going to start unbundling them so that customers can purchase features instead of full suites.  Of course this will also affect the pricing model for vendors.  Think of it like making your car.  You might get your tires from on place, your engine from another place, and your custom designed seats from another place.  At the end of the day everything needs to come together and work…well.

Unfortunately there are essentially two things from making this possible

  1. We don’t have collaboration standards for all the vendors out there to get them to speak the same language (which is ironic since vendors are all about collaborating and getting people on the same page)
  2. We don’t have a true platform vendor that can be used as a foundation to build on top of (like WordPress for example).

I think that this will change in the future.  Eventually we will get to a more widgetized collaboration platform that allows us to take the bits and pieces we want from every vendor and combine them together to make something that works for us.

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  • Ron

    It’s not collaborative standards that are missing but collaborative frameworks.  Since vendors (and users) have a common task but often askew and/or conflicting purposes, a mutually acceptable or key-user collaborative framework must be provided. The framework embodies all stakeholders but is structured for the key user/decision-maker/owner.

    • http://www.thefutureorganization.com/ jacobmorgan

      Hi Ron,

      It’s both the frameworks and the standards but you make an excellent point, the context and intent is certainly a tricky challenge to overcome.

      Thanks for the comment