A balanced view of the opportunity to take social networking into the business environment.  IBM's Steve Mills and Alistair Rennie are quoted, along with Gartner and IDC.  Here's Mills:

IBM is stopping short of entering the consumer market, however. Steven A. Mills , the IBM senior vice president and software group executive, said the new products are strictly for businesses.

"There is a level of industrial strength that's demanded in business," Mills said. "There's a very different and distinct set of characteristics for these kinds of technologies in business as compared to the stateless public Internet. We can't confuse these things."
While I'm highly conscious of the consumerization of IT, my position ultimately aligns with the big boss.  When "our users use Outlook at home" used to be the excuse for considering it as a Notes replacement, a common point we'd push back to was that users at home don't use calendaring & scheduling to book their dining room tables.  Familiarization is helpful but can also breed contempt.  There are dozens of companies that are successful providing technologies for business without a consumer presence -- IBM's position is not alone.

However, Google's Dave Girouard, quoted in the article, disagrees:
"There's been an artificial wall between consumer technology and enterprise technology," he said, "and it's starting to crumble."
If you agree with Girouard, then the question becomes, what takes the place of that wall?  In a small five-person law office, sure, maybe using consumer technology and reducing IT overhead makes sense.  But will that happen for a 50,000 employee manufacturing company?

Link: Boston Globe: Big Blue lightens up > (Thanks, Sarah)

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