The Social Network to Social Business


I’m really bored of Facebook; it just doesn’t give me what I want anymore. I find myself scrolling through lots of irrelevant pointless updates and information that I really could do without. OK, its great for keeping in contact with friends and posting photos, but the activity feed is becoming pointless bar a few exceptions. I know the new “Subscribe” button may improve this but I’m still waiting to see.

I am however, still a huge fan of Twitter. Or more realistically, I am a fan of Tweetdeck. Purely because I can split the people I follow into topic areas, Technology, Social Business, News etc. So depending on what I want to know at a particular time , I can find it or find someone who might know about it. But what Tweetdeck doesn’t do, is make the viewing user experience as pleasurable; I can’t preview photos or links so I’m sure I just skip over a lot that I may be interested in.

This maybe where Google+ will provide the happy medium? Ok, it’s not brilliant yet either, but it seems to be trying to be best both of both worlds. I like their use of circles and huddles so I can decide what information to view and with whom; it seems a more structured way of consuming the vast amount of content that is out there. At the moment thought, the users of Google+ seem to be more of a professional audience and not the GenY or Millennials that Google probably wanted. But is that a bad thing? Not for me.

As someone who is focused on Social Business Collaboration I can’t wait until we see Google+ as part of Google Apps. I’m a fan of software like Yammer and Jive that really allow employees to collaborate better. But it’s the ability to collaborate on documents that really allows social software to really enter the Enterprise. Software like Cisco Quad is where I think Social Business is really headed with the blend of social networking  but with the Enterprise ready document management. Google+ will inevitably have this is well, all in the cloud which makes it available to even the smallest company.  Then when you add in end to end unified communications such as IM and video, whether its Google Voice or Cisco Jabber, you create the optimal user cockpit for your employees.

Quad, like Google+, will also have the potential of their own  Apps Marketplace which will allow 3rd party software vendors to build plugs such as Finance & CRM apps. The outcome of this is that the whole Business can embrace Enterprise 2.0 rather than keeping it in purely a GenY silo. So when Management say that Social Business is just like Facebook, you can be confident that won’t be the case.

What is the Market saying about Office365?


Office365 vs Google Apps

Essentially Office365 is Microsoft’s answer to try and protect the cash cows of Microsoft Office and Windows Operating System from Google Apps. However Google doesn’t seem too worried about  Microsoft’s latest release claiming in their “365 reasons to consider Google Apps” blogpost that   Office365 isn’t really a team collaboration solution and is only optimized for Windows-based PCs.

Google Apps certainly has a better Collaboration experience and more reliable than Office365, however Microsoft has the edge when it comes down to their familiar interfaces and number of existing customers.

 

Is it Enterprise Ready?

Assuming it works as advertised, Office 365 may catch on with some large enterprises that want Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and other SaaS applications. However over the last 2years BPOS has suffered from frequent interruptions, and support could be spotty. Just last month, the BPOS email service was hit with disruptions and admins were left in the dark as their service dashboards also went offline. CTO’s are going to be nervous about putting their faith in Office365 and will more than likely be looking for a hybrid or private cloud solution.

Its not a Mobile Solution

Microsoft claims that Office365 works with Windows Phone, iOS (iPhone/iPad), Symbian, Android, and BlackBerry;. however there is a big difference between works with and works well. The truth is that the only part of Office 365 that is thoroughly compatible with a non-Windows platform is Exchange. InfoWorld stated that “outside of Exchange, Office 365 is largely limited to desktop Windows users, though some SharePoint features work with the little-adopted Windows Phone 7 platform — but for 99% of mobile users who don’t use the Windows Phone platform — Office 365 is irrelevant because it is unusable.

Its still not Partner Friendly

Can partners white label Office 365 and manage customer billing? No. And that’s a big concern for some channel partners. Generally speaking, most VARs and SPs (A) want to brand third-party cloud services as their own and (B) want to maintain the billing relationship with end customers. So far, Microsoft has not introduced either option which will encourage Partners to look at other options.

Hosted UC in the next opportunity

Generally speaking, it seems like email, storage and security are three of the top services that SMBs are shifting to the cloud. The margins for Hosted Email are getting squeezed and Partners are looking for new ways to increase their revenue. There’s plenty of dialog about hosted UC and cloud related VoIP services that Partners can white label as their own. Cisco’s HCS solution is well placed to help Partners capitalise on this opportunity and could potentially transform them into Cloud Services Providers while still maintaining direct relationship with their customers.

Express train Google hit the EU Buffers

It seems that growth of Google may have hit the buffers in Europe after the European Commission has launched a preliminary antitrust inquiry against them after three companies complained that the US giant’s dominant search engine penalises potential competitors and keeps advertising prices artificially high.

It was only a matter of time really. The EU dont just hate Microsoft, they pretty much have a dislike of any US Technology giant.