Brad Feld

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Facebook for the Enterprise

Jun 13, 2008
Category Investments

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.