Social Networking Tops the List

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2008-04-22 Print this article Print


Social networking will remain the top-spending category over the five-year period, the report said.

"In 2008, firms will spend $258 million on social networking tools like those from Awareness, Communispace and Jive Software, easily topping the next-largest category of spending, RSS, and experiencing the strongest annual growth rate over the next five years," the Forrester report said. "Open-source offerings, such as Drupal for social networking, are making inroads across the board, but more significantly limit the revenue opportunity for blogs and wikis. After blogs and wikis, mashup technology takes off next, growing from a small base of $39 million in 2007 to $682 million in 2013-second only to social networking."

However, the Forrester report said that "business buyers want Web 2.0 but depend on IT to make it happen." That observation is somewhat different from the message of some Web 2.0 technology vendors that are pushing mashup solutions as a way for business users to augment or even circumvent IT and build their own applications.

Currently, large businesses are spending more on employee collaboration tools than customer-facing Web 2.0 technologies, but Forrester expects that trend to reverse by next year. By 2013, investment in customer-facing Web 2.0 technology will outstrip spending on internal collaboration software by nearly a billion dollars.

The Forrester report also points out that a key question for software companies is, Who "pays" for Web 2.0 in the enterprise? "Three challenges face vendors: IT shops are wary of what they perceive as insecure, consumer-grade technology; ad-supported Web 2.0 tools on the consumer side have set 'free' as a starting point; and Web 2.0 technologies enter a crowded space dominated by legacy software investments," the report said.

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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