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Enterprise social networking market diversifying

Forrester Research conducted survey of 170 ECM (enterprise content management) decision makers to understand where the market might be headed in 2010. The survey found 72 percent of organizations are planning on investing in ECM in the new year.

Barb Mosher covered the study in an article on CMSWire. I thought it was an interesting article, not so much for the insights into the ECM industry, but for the insights into ESN (enterprise social networking) and related social technologies.

As I said in the comments, the ECM industry has been around since around 2001, and has been hailed and cursed many times over. We can see this happening with ESN too. With all of the hype and expectations, there will be inevitably be a post-New-Year's-Eve-like hangover as we realize that no solution is a poultice to our collaboration headaches.

For example, the article states, “There really isn't a single solution that meets all needs, despite all efforts of ECM suite vendors.” Replace ECM with “social media,” “ESN,” “E2.0,” what-have-you, and you see where I'm going with this.

As more players have entered the ECM market, a natural stratification of vendors occurred to address the varying levels of needs that different organizations require. I think we'll see a similar occurrence for social technologies.

In 2010, I hope we continue to see these same parallels and comparisons we are now seeing with ECM. How will it work with SharePoint? What's the ROI? Where do SaaS (Software as a Service) and Open Source fit it?

The best thing we can do is put on our deductive reasoning hats as users and evaluators of technology solutions, and look around for other solutions that have faced similar challenges with regards to improvement, use, and adoption. And we might learn a thing or two before we are destined to repeat the mistakes of others.

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