Matt Asay says he doesn't think he would have liked attending the Enterprise 2.0 Conference this past week because:
"It would appear that the Enterprise 2.0 world is still recycling the same froth in an attempt to stand out."
"everyone is showing the right slideware and demos, but few, if any, really know how to put it all to productive business use."
His conclusion is based on what he read and heard from friends who were "walking around the exhibition floor."
To be fair, conclusions like this coming from Alfresco are understandable given that (along with being the sponsor of the Alfresco open source project) they are, after all, a software vendor and vendors measure the success of a conference on what happens on the exhibit floor. However, there is much more to a conference, especially the Enterprise 2.0 Conference, than what you see on the exhibit floor.
There were a number of good things being presented and discussed at the conference about early Enterprise 2.0 deployments. In addition, Matt would have been pleased to learn that many of these were done using open source software. But these details came out in the conference itself (you know, in the sessions, the primary reason people pay to attend conferences).
First, there was a terrific session on open source Enterprise 2.0 software led by John Eckman. Participating in the panel were John Newton from Alfresco, Jeff Whatcott from Acquia/Drupal, and Bob Bickel from Ringside Networks. Kathleen Reidy posted a great summary of this session. If you stopped there you might still have thought there was little being said about open source at the conference. But, there's more.
The stars of this year's Enterprise 2.0 Conference were case studies of real-world implementations. Open source shined in almost all of these presentations .
- A keynote address by Sean Dennehy and Don Burke from the CIA told us about Intellipedia a wikipedia-style site used by the intelligence community. Sean and Don didn't use Powerpoint to deliver their presentation. Rather, they authored their content in Intellipedia and showed that on the big screen. Although not mentioned (or perhaps mentioned only in passing), this was clearly running MediaWiki.
- In his presentation Ned Lerner, a Director at Sony Entertainment, made some pointed remarks about how open source is important to their strategy. Ned said "open source is a safety net" because they can understand the software and fix it if necessary and that they had experienced "good results with open source."
- In Simon Revell's presentation (Simon is a manager at Pfizer) his screen shots were showing web pages that were clearly based on Drupal (ok, not too many people would've noticed that). If you don't believe me then look at this SlideShare presentation about DIGWWW. In addition, Simon referenced Pfizerpedia which, by the way, was running...can you guess?...yes! MediaWiki.
Not to mention, the Ross Mayfield keynote where he talked about SocialCalc. There was also an open source project in the LaunchPad competition - Project SocialSite, an open source social networking project from Sun. Oh, btw, the LaunchPad site was running on Drupal.
So open source was all over the place at Enterprise 2.0. Maybe this is a case of open source just becoming essential plumbing and hardly being noticed. These examples could have been used by Matt in a blog post to illustrate how far open source has come in enterprises.
And one other thing to point out. In Matt's post he says this near the end:
Over the next year we're going to see the hype around Enterprise 2.0 reach a fever pitch, and many are going to be lost in disillusionment when it fails to turn to gold. However, in the mishmash there will be a few who finally figure it out, and the rest of the enterprise world will follow in due course.
The link in the above paragraph takes you to a CIO.com article about how Pete Fields of Wachovia justified a business case for Enterprise 2.0. Well, Matt may be upset to learn that Wachovia's business case justified a purchase of Microsoft SharePoint. But, you had to attend the Enterprise 2.0 Conference to learn that (and not just walk the exhibit floor). Pete Fields told us so in his Enterprise 2.0 keynote address :-)