A tipping point is when a small input related to a change pattern suddenly creates great change - perhaps takes off to critical mass. I wonder if Marc Benioff of Salesforce has done that within the last couple of weeks in relation to both cloud and social enterprise? My bones are stirring!
Security and privacy no longer a barrier
"... people erect these barriers around security and privacy, which in some ways are very unfounded. And the reason I think they’re unfounded and ridiculous ..."
Who said that - someone from Amazon, or Microsoft, or Salesforce?
... is because the United States government already has outsourced over 4700 systems. These systems are already in the hands of Lockheed, Raytheon, Boeing, Northrup-Grumman — you name it. Yet when it comes to Cloud, for some reason, these fears are raised.
To me that's huge. That's game over for governments everywhere.
Of course the US Government, and its cloud suppliers, can afford to have US-based storage and clear legal jurisdiction. Which means THAT issue is the fundamental issue for other governments to resolve and then they can plan their move to cloud.
Same story for business. But actually much less of a story since 99% of businesses aren't bound by the same restrictions and vanity requirements of governments.
The 10 years which Benoiff has been pushing cloud, and it's been a hard sell, may be about to pay off in a big way. And his efforts will take the whole industry forward with him across the whole spectrum of "cloud" services.
Social enterprise is suddenly everywhere, thanks to Dreamforce
Much more recently Benioff has become a leading advocate of social business and the social enterprise. The change just now is that at the 2001 Dreamworld social enterprise was everywhere! This spurned a huge lift in reporting e.g. Salesforce.com Steers Social Enterprise Movement Amid Cloudy Outlook. And see what Liza Sperling from Seesmic said:
Dreamforce 2011 is over, and many attendees are likely still reeling from the energy, enthusiasm and explosion of information about the social enterprise.
Most surprisingly to me was that the way it was reported was almost like fait accompli. Remarkable!
I completed my certification in Social Media Strategy back in 2009, from the Palo Alto-based Social Media Academy founded by Axel Schultze. Professionally I've benefited enormously from that superb business-based training program and the methodologies. But it's still been something which has to be pushed.
Much of my consulting is centered at the intersection of cloud computing, mobile, social business, and collaborative commerce, and what businesses need to do to prepare for and survive the impact of the coming shifts. And that's also been somewhat evangelical - I only see the innovative, forward-thinking types.
But I am getting a feeling that this is all heading mainstream right now, at least the cloud and the social enterprise parts of the equation. Mobile has a bit to go. It is being catalysed by the consumerization of IT, and Apple, but not yet at the tipping point. And collaborative commerce is still only early thinkers and adopters (as far as how all these impact "traditional" business models, I mean).
Social enterprise front, left and center
But in social business, social enteprise we hear this:
During the week-long Dreamforce, the common catch-all phrase from Salesforce.com executives was that Social Enterprise has become the rocket ship "that will propel the business of anyone associated with the vendor’s platform and applications strategies to stratospheric levels".
But we don't just hear and read it once, and just from Salesforce. We are starting to hear it everywhere and all sorts of business people are picking up the message - see here and see what you find on Google News.
Something is happening, and I think the next 12 months might be a lot less evangelical and a lot more practical, thanks to the education effort of players like Salesforce and Marc Benoiff.
What kind of sense do you feel about cloud, and social enterprise, as business trends?
Do you think we're near a tipping point for either and why?
See my question on Quora.
Please comment below.
PS Some readers may think that Salesforce is just another quite shallow vendor hyping its latest Chatter enhancements with a show about social enterprise. In that case you should read some of the thoughts underlying it, in particular those of JP Rangaswami.
Image from www.enterpriseirregulars.com