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The collaboration space is very crowded, especially if you consider research showing most organizations are still just dipping a toe into the concept of social tools. So what does the fact that there are so many offerings clamoring for attention and domination mean? Is this slightly chaotic diversity of products a good thing? Do we need a war of attrition where one existing collaboration product fights its way to undisputed king-of-the-jungle status? Or is this welter of options a sign that the we’re still waiting for a product so intuitive and satisfying that we all finally sigh and say, yes, THAT was what we were looking for all along?
Jacob Morgan, co-founder of collaboration consultancy Chess Media Group, recently posted his answer to this question on his blog. His perspective: we’re still waiting for a breakout collaboration product, and it should look like “WordPress for the enterprise.” Of course, there is an enterprise version of WordPress, but assumedly that’s not what Morgan means. He explains how the collaboration solution he’d most like to see is instead like WordPress in key ways:
What we need is a “WordPress for the enterprise” and before its acquisition I thought Podio was the closest to moving down that road. When you think of WordPress you think of a content management and delivery platform but it’s more than that. Take a look at how many millions of sites all run on WordPress, each with a unique look and feel and each with it’s own set of features and plugins that can be customized and added to make every site unique and individual. Currently we don’t have anything like this for the enterprise. Sure, some vendors have their own app stores where you can buy and download application specific additions but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Atlassian is probably the closest vendor out there to building a complete enterprise ecosystem with apps but even those are focused on the single platform.
He calls this vision of DIY collaboration suites supported by an extremely flexible platform “the widgetized enterprise” and says there are several roadblocks keeping us from this version of the future. One, “we don’t have collaboration standards for all the vendors out there to get them to speak the same language,” and two the market lacks a true platform vendor. But Morgan has hopes that we’ll see something like what he’s after soon. “Eventually we will get to a more widgetized collaboration platform that allows us to take the bits and pieces we want from every vendor and combine them together to make something that works for us,” he concludes.
What do you make of Morgan’s vision of the future of collaboration tools – have you already found a platform that’s flexible and customizable enough to meet your business’s needs, or are does WordPress for the enterprise sound like the solution you’ve been searching for?
Image courtesy of Flickr user Phil Manker.