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Hi, I’m Brad Feld, a managing director at the Foundry Group who lives in Boulder, Colorado. I invest in software and Internet companies around the US, run marathons and read a lot.

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Facebook for the Enterprise

Comments (8)

The "Facebook for the enterprise" meme in now hitting its stride after all the activity at Enterprise 2.0 earlier this week.  My friends at NewsGator were there in force showing off NewsGator Social Sites 2.0 which just started shipping. 

Following is a short demo that’s up on Youtube that gives you a feel for how it works.  While it’s a blurry video, Brian Kellner’s description of what he’s doing is the really useful part.  Brian’s final line is "in total, it’s a complete social computing solution built right into SharePoint."  Other demos / overviews are up on the NewsGator site if you are interested.

I’ve been a SharePoint fan for a while – we’ve been using it for a while at Foundry Group.  I find it much more powerful than many of the individual web-based solutions and it’s tight integration with Exchange and NewsGator Enterprise Server, along with it broad customization capabilities, make it work nicely for us.

As I predicted last year, 2008 would be the year that all of the consumer Internet innovations started migrating to the enterprise en-masse.  NewsGator has been at the forefront of this and it’s awesome to see and use the products.  While some argue that the consumer products for enterprise work just fine thank you very much, I don’t buy that argument.  Maybe it will converge in five to ten years, but there are so many enterprise-focused issues that aren’t addressed in any of the consumer oriented products that I think there will continue to be some amount of a parallel universe.

To calibrate – when I talk about the enterprise, I’m not talking about startups or a 30 person company.  I’m talking about 10,000 to 200,000 person enterprises that already have deeply embedded and extensively built out global IT infrastructures.  That said, it also works great for a 11 person company like Foundry Group if you using a Microsoft-based infrastructure today.

  • http://oddco.ca/zeroth/zblog Zeroth

    “if you using a Microsoft-based infrastructure today.” I kind of have an issue with that. For a startup, the costs to startup are significantly lower with going with F/OSS solutions. Its assumed that anyone running the servers will be paid the same, regardless of the platform, and not having to pay for licenses, or worry about them gives startups a huge advantage.

    On that note, are there going to be any Social software solutions for the enterprise that actually work on Linux?

    • http://www.feld.com Brad Feld

      Re: F/OSS vs. Microsoft-based infrastructure – my assertion here is that if the Microsoft-based infrastructure is already in place, this works great. A raw startup with no tech infrastructure has a wide variety of interesting choices, including being 100% in the cloud. We have companies doing each of these (MSFT, in the cloud / web apps, and F/OSS). There are different advantages and weaknesses in each situation.

      Re: Linux: I haven't seen anything compelling yet, but I imagine something will emerge.

    • Jeff Nolan

      Zeroth,
      I don't think any startups are going with this enterprise 2.0 stuff… not because it doesn't work for them but because startups don't have the organizational girth to require these solutions. For better or worse, startups and small companies alike operate in more of an ad-hoc mode that is better fitted for consumer/individual user services that are then force fit into a team environment.

      Irrespective of that, I think you would agree with the assertion that there is a significant market of Microsoft based IT shops, hence there is a significant opportunity for companies building on the MS stack.

  • http://treadaway.typepad.com Chris Treadaway

    I've found a few consulting opportunities in this area… helping enterprises use Web 2.0 technologies/widgets along with Sharepoint to build “social portals”. We are likely to do a lot more work in this area (and we may very well focus on it 100%) instead of consumerish Facebook or other social apps.

  • latenightweb

    that is cool, microsoft buyout?? new website doesn't seem as professional though.

  • Rob Freeborn

    I hope you don't mind but I'm going to direct EVERYONE I can that I meet in the enterprise space to this blog post…..FB for the enterprise….we finally have social networking that is actually worthwhile?!?!

    r.

  • Zeroth

    "if you using a Microsoft-based infrastructure today." I kind of have an issue with that. For a startup, the costs to startup are significantly lower with going with F/OSS solutions. Its assumed that anyone running the servers will be paid the same, regardless of the platform, and not having to pay for licenses, or worry about them gives startups a huge advantage.

    On that note, are there going to be any Social software solutions for the enterprise that actually work on Linux?

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/jeff_nolan3536 jeff_nolan3536

    Zeroth,
    I don't think any startups are going with this enterprise 2.0 stuff… not because it doesn't work for them but because startups don't have the organizational girth to require these solutions. For better or worse, startups and small companies alike operate in more of an ad-hoc mode that is better fitted for consumer/individual user services that are then force fit into a team environment.

    Irrespective of that, I think you would agree with the assertion that there is a significant market of Microsoft based IT shops, hence there is a significant opportunity for companies building on the MS stack.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/bfeld bfeld

    Re: F/OSS vs. Microsoft-based infrastructure – my assertion here is that if the Microsoft-based infrastructure is already in place, this works great. A raw startup with no tech infrastructure has a wide variety of interesting choices, including being 100% in the cloud. We have companies doing each of these (MSFT, in the cloud / web apps, and F/OSS). There are different advantages and weaknesses in each situation.

    Re: Linux: I haven't seen anything compelling yet, but I imagine something will emerge.

  • Chris Treadaway

    I've found a few consulting opportunities in this area… helping enterprises use Web 2.0 technologies/widgets along with Sharepoint to build "social portals". We are likely to do a lot more work in this area (and we may very well focus on it 100%) instead of consumerish Facebook or other social apps.

  • latenightweb

    that is cool, microsoft buyout?? new website doesn't seem as professional though.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/rob_freebor8945 rob_freebor8945

    I hope you don't mind but I'm going to direct EVERYONE I can that I meet in the enterprise space to this blog post…..FB for the enterprise….we finally have social networking that is actually worthwhile?!?!

    r.

  • Steve

    You have to check out http://www.manymoon.com
    It is touted as the first social productivity application for the web and a secure Facebook for the enterprise!!

  • Steve

    You have to check out ” target=”_blank”>http://www.manymoon.com
    It is touted as the first social productivity application for the web and a secure Facebook for the enterprise!!

  • http://www.videotuba.net sikiş

    Re: Linux: I haven't seen anything compelling yet, but I imagine something will emerge.

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