In our cover story in the January 3rd issue of eWEEK, Cameron Sturdevant took another crack at the topic of the consumerization of the enterprise, this time by drilling down on the integration issues involved in rolling out Twitter-style microblogging services or functionality in a business setting.
The issue gets to the heart of the challenges that IT managers face when attempting to fit technologies born out of or popularized via consumer-oriented products and services. In the case of Twitter, the service's openness has driven its adoption--most update messages are available for public consumption, with retweeting, search engine indexing, and good old link sharing working to amp up distribution.
For me, Twitter has served mainly as a replacement for an RSS reader, which itself had served as a replacement for bookmark lists and portal-type Web pages. My Twitter stream is fed by more separate voices than could fit in any of those earlier information channels, and the short, rigidly-formatted nature of Twitter updates make them easy for me to scan through.
At least, that's how I use Twitter with the publicly-available information I consume--for internal matters, my overloaded email inbox remains king. For information internal to an organization, the sort of wide-open availability that powers Twitter obviously won't fly, but then neither will a configuration so closely constrained as to create yet another unwanted data silo. If a new status update service ends up merely as another inbox to check, user adoption will be tough to come by.
The key, as Cameron discusses in his story, is smart integration among services. Twitter's post everything and let the user decide which items they wish to follow model may not work for business, but by stitching together a federation of appropriate services, you may arrive at a solution that can focus your collaboration efforts, as opposed to futher diffusing them.
Also on the consumer technologies in the enterprise front in the January 3rd issue, we have a pair of reviews of Android-powered tablet computers, from eWEEK's Nick Kolokowski and Clint Boulton. In our last issue of the year, we gave a special nod to Apple's iPad among our product of the year picks, and the extent to which Android tablet vendors are able to reproduce what Apple has achieved with the iPad is something we'll be watching closely in 2011. Check out Clint and Nick's reviews of the Samsung Galaxy and Dell Streak tablets for their full take on these tablet challengers, but it looks as though Android's OEMs have their work cut out for them.
Finally, as we enter into a new year, we'd love to hear about the products and technologies that you're most concerned with and that you'd like to see covered in eWEEK. Please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, and tell me what's on your radar for 2011.