Social Enterprise?

The recent announcement of Writely, a web-based word processor, underlines the increasing consumer-to-enterprise trajectory of social software innovations. Where historically, ‘groupware’ filtered down to consumer applications, the reverse is now true as consumer social software phenomena, including blogs, wikis, IM and social networks, begin to shape corporate information technology:

  • Jotspot
    Joe Kraus’ startup launched in 2004, offering wikis as applications to enterprise and SME customers. Jotspot wikis enable users to quickly assemble forms, databases, RSS feeds, web search and other applications simply using wiki metaphors and collaborative tools.
  • Futures Markets
    The principles underlying public futures markets, such as Celebdaq, HSX and the Iowa Electronic Markets, are being applied internally by large enterprises as they seek to harness the Wisdom Of Crowds in making business decisions and directing strategy.
  • 37signals
    Like Jotspot, 37 Signals’ Basecamp and Backpack tools are capitalising on the collaborative power of wikis and web-based applications, to offer low-cost, simple, yet powerful SME and enterprise solutions.
  • Writely
    Wikis, blogging and limited social networks, form the basis for a lightweight, yet feature-rich collaborative word processor and document version control service.
  • MoveableType
    With the proliferation of blogging over the last two years, technologies such as SixApart’s Moveable Type are enjoying widespread deployment within enterprises and SMEs as lightweight, extensible alternatives to prescriptive intranet, publishing and content management platforms.
  • Socialtext
    Socialtext provides enterprises with blog, wiki and IM driven intranet tools for collaboration, decision-making, project management and communication.
  • gOffice
    A recently released we-based office suite, consisting of a word processor, DTP engine, spreadsheet and presentation tool…the word processor utilises many wiki-based metaphors in its presentation.

In addition, the enterprise potential of social networks and social filing systems, such as, remains untapped in the emerging generation of enterprise social software startups.

The underlying infrastructure of these developments is based on openness – LAMP, RSS and REST coupled with large, vibrant development communities and a relatively low-barrier to acquiring expertise.

This creating an infinitely re-mixable diversity of software that addresses the Long Tail of enterprise and SME niches – niches that that one-size-fits-all Oracle and Microsoft shaped solutions are unable to address due to the high cost of ‘partner solution’ consultancy.

As startups such as 37signals and Jotspot begin to mature – the effect of social software in the enterprise will be interesting to observe, particularly as the giants in this space begin to respond through acquisition and competition.


  1. Just want to add MindDeposit to the list. It’s a great bloggin tool. It’s free and so far the amount of content and flexibility in creating your own website is limitless. The type of people they are trying to attract is unique. I predict that some interesting posts and conversations will come from that site.


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