Google Buzz and the Enterprise: A Look at the Real Opportunity

Posted by: in Social Media Insights & Trends on February 10, 2010

The Enterprise is the new frontier for social media – the wild west.  It’s wide open for leadership and here’s why.

Today, email is the center of our world inside a company.    It’s a fact whether we like it or not.

Tomorrow, text messaging will increase in importance.  The next generation of employees have grown up texting.  They don’t do email and don’t want to.

The mobile phone is often the device of choice to learn on the go.  We want our laptop and phone to be fully integrated.

And we’re increasingly parking our data and accessing solutions in the cloud.

The winner in the Enterprise will likely be the “Switzerland” of data, email, conversations and community.  They will be able to combine structured and unstructured data in new ways that streamline how we truly communicate.

The winner will provide us new and obvious ways to improve productivity, share and network ideas faster and gain insights that matter with incredible speed.  Relevance of data will be key.  We want to receive ideas and insights from peers we respect inside and outside our company, not a random onslaught of opinion from the entire company and all people in the free world.  We want to benefit from the wisdom of the crowds we are part of…..what we don’t need is more clutter in Outlook or Gmail or Hotmail.

So today, email is not the center we want, but it is the center we have.  It is our main way we learn.

Many companies are trying to build out their proprietary solutions, which is typical and expected.  I guess I would do the same to build a company.  Salesforce.com has a great CRM platform, an idea community, integration with Facebook and mobile solutions.  Microsoft has a new and improved Sharepoint 2010, Outlook continues to look for ways to integrate from Xobni to LinkedIn and Bing is impressive.  Google has Buzz, Apps, the Droid and the best search on the planet.  There’s just one problem.

Not much changes in the Enterprise unless you can integrate easily with current platforms/infrastructure and if your solution is adaptable with time.  Innovation in the Enterprise happens incrementally when we are talking software and hardware.

So back to Google.  Their search is a great solution internally for companies.  Their Apps are reasonably popular with smaller companies.  But they have not penetrated large Enterprise in a significant manner.

The solution is not to win the battle, but to figure out how to integrate across platforms and win the war.   Search, email, text messaging and the phone will be central to this success….

One of these companies will figure out that social media and technology are so transformative that they can’t do it all by themselves.  If they can work more openly, perhaps even partner, to integrate email, data, search, conversations and community, they can win big long-term.

Meanwhile, most of the attention is on the consumer world.  To me, it is ironic, since the consumer world is a community-driven world and it will be a long uphill battle to integrate community into email.  It’s a much easier game to do the reverse and integrate email into community.  The world tilts in favor of social media communities, ala Facebook, in this regard.

The good news is Google is once again raising everyone’s game via their innovation.  It is what we need to push us to a new way to drive future innovation in the Enterprise.  And we’re really just getting started….

All the best, Bob

By: Bob Pearson

Bob is the President of W2O Group, an independent network of digital communications and marketing companies. He is an author, frequent speaker and instructor for Rutgers center for management development. After the success of his book Pre-Commerce, Bob is currently working on a new book on the future of media titled Storytizing that will be available in 2014. Prior to W2O Group, Bob worked as VP of Communities and Conversations at Dell to develop the Fortune 500’s first global social media function -- an industry-leading approach to the use of social media, as highlighted in the best seller, GroundSwell. Before Dell, Bob was Head of Global Corporate Communications and Head of Global Pharma Communications at Novartis Pharmaceuticals in Basel, Switzerland, where he served on the Pharma Executive Committee. He also serves on a variety of Boards in health and technology. Highlights include serving as an original member of the P&G digital advisory board and being appointed by the Governor of Texas to serve as chair and vice chair of the emerging technology fund for the State of Texas.

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2 Responses

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  1. Bob, are you saying Buzz is going to be a hit? Or Buzz is going to drop off the enterprise radar completely? I’m thinking Buzz will be only marginally successful. In fact, I’ve turned it back off, after 24 hours, for now.
    http://bit.ly/why-buzz
    Cheers,
    @jmacofearth | uber.la

  2. John, my key point is that companies are centered on email, so buzz has a much higher chance of success, long-term, in the Enterprise. The consumer world is centered more on the community, so we need the reverse….email integrating into community, not reverse as much.
    All the best, Bob

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