Enterprise 2.0 – Web to Desktop and Back (Again)

Vancouver-based ThoughtFarmer recently announced ThoughtFarmer 4.0 – one highlight I’d like to call attention to is their “Desktop Connector” application/feature. Enterprise 2.0 is not just about browser-based interactions, and wholly executed content creation/lifecycles within the browser…

More than the Web

The rise of wikis and similar web-based tools that make up the Enterprise 2.0 toolset have largely presumed that a browser interface is the one and only place that workers will need or want to go do get their work done. That may well be the case in many instances, but in recent discussions on the evolution vs. revolution approach to success with Enterprise 2.0, it’s become apparent with my clientele (and many others I know) that desktops and laptops, and importantly, documents, are not going away any time soon. Nor should they, necessarily.

So to live and work in a multi-faceted world, it’s time that Enterprise 2.0 tools grow up and realize that to pull the mainstream organizations who are not willing or able to leap straight into a browser-based and cloud-driven world, we are going to need to throw some lines out to help pull the past and the future tighter together.

This isn’t new of course…

I’ve been around in the content management, knowledge management and related industry slices for over 15 years. There has always been a divide between the normal content creation/productivity tools that workers have used, and the systems put in place to manage/store/find/share that content.

If it is too difficult to store the information, then people won’t be bothered to go to that system, whether it’s a fat client or thin-client such as a web browser. The same goes for tagging – classic taxonomy work presumes that “regular people” won’t be bothered to tag, and certainly not consistently, so why bother. Folksonomy/social tagging zealots believe that a complete free-for-all will emerge only goodness and light, and formality is useless. But I digress.

This digital divide between the normal working reality and computing environment for *most* organizations, is a heavily desktop-centric tool mindset vs. the 2.0 web-centric view.

Blow it up? Or integrate and extend?

So the sanest approach, unless you really believe in the Michael Hammer “Blow it up and try again” approach, is to explicitly tie the new world and old world together. And why not? It’s entirely possible, and for those who are not good at wholesale “change management” (i.e., almost everyone), it’s really your only approach.

ThoughtFarmer’s 4.0 release features a cross-platform application (the “Desktop Connector“) that acts as the check-in/out glue for just this scenario. While there have been many attempts, including a raft of open standards such as ODMAWebDAV, and more recently (to a certain extent) CMIS, there is no single solution or standard that is going to solve all of these pains universally. So in the absence of that, I for one am thrilled to see that ThoughtFarmer has introduced this capability.

For all of the classic use cases of a pure wiki or blog environment, they’ve always provided that, and that is certainly a rich and deep tool set at this point. But for all of the classic “business documents” that people currently have, and may be migrating in to their Intranet, or that they just don’t see a reason to transition out of, from a document-centric point of view, that can be supported as well.

Along the way, the connector also provides activity stream monitoring and status updates, so it also provides a more visible and useful component to the ThoughtFarmer tool set as well.

Watch their video clip below for a shorter and simpler demo of what they have unveiled.

(Incidentally, the ThoughtFarmer guys have great marketing – humble, to the point, and really well thought out – if the entire tech industry acted the same, we’d have a much more productive tech economy IMHO)

Where are you with Enterprise 2.0?

(or Social Business, or Web 2.0 for the Enterprise, or whatever you’d like to call it)

Have you stumbled onto hesitancy in jumping to the cloud/browser app world? Bridged the digital divide between the desktop and browser apps? Join the conversation – let’s here your real world experiences, and see what we can do to get *all* interested parties into this brave new world – one toe or the whole organization at once.

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“Dan conducted a workshop on taxonomy development and maintenance and I found him to very knowledgeable about the subject. He was able to use real world examples to help his audience understand the concepts he was trying to convey.”
by Alan Slutsky, Senior Systems Engineer Inxight Software


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