The trouble with far too many things Web 2.0 is that they tend to be applications that run in isolation from the rest of the enterprise. So while people in the company are increasingly leveraging Web 2.0 applications to engage customers, a lot of that activity doesn't neatly find its way back into the day-to-day business operations of companies that are still dependent on traditional enterprise software.
One company that is trying to address the gap between Web 2.0 applications and enterprise software is Moxie Software, formerly known as nGenera.
With the winter release of its social networking software for the enterprise, called Spaces by Moxie, the company has not only integrated its customer- and employee-facing collaboration modules, it's added a framework for integrating Moxie with applications such as Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft Exchange. That framework, according to Azita Martin, chief marketing officer for Moxie, leverages cloud computing middleware software from Cast Iron Systems, which was recently acquired by IBM.
In addition, for those organizations that abhor sharing any IT with other companies, Moxie is also making a version of its software available that can be run on a dedicated private cloud on top of an Amazon cloud computing service.
In their zeal to extol all-things-Web 2.0, too many social network application vendors essentially want IT organizations to throw the proverbial "baby out with the bath water." The problem is that in terms of how a company operates, existing enterprise applications are too ingrained in the corporate culture. No one really has the political clout to change that workflow process overnight, so any introduction of Web 2.0 application software is going to require some integration with existing business processes that are wrapped around legacy applications.
At the end of the day, most social networking applications are about some form of knowledge management. The hubris that many of them fall prey to is the assumption that enterprise customers have not been managing their knowledge in one form or another. And no matter how inefficient that process may be, changing the workflow patterns of a company takes time and patience.