Over three years ago, Andrew McAfee wrote an insightful post on The 9X Email Problem. In the post backed by research of a colleague from Harvard, Andrew makes a case for Enterprise 2.0 software to be nine times better than Email to be accepted by businesses and their decision makers.
The number nine, he and his colleague say, comes from the multiplier effect of two pieces of irrational behavior displayed by consumers.
“…research suggests that the average person will underweight the prospective benefits of a replacement technology for it by about a factor of three, and overweight by the same factor, everything they’re being asked to give up…”
The bottom line is that if one has to oust email from its dominant position and be heard in the enterprise collaboration software market, he or she has to either
- increase the perceived benefits of his or her software or
- lower the perceived costs of switching for the customer.
The post recommends some strategies to achieve the former. The most effective one according to Andrew is an “extremely effective user interface and layout“.
We have come a long way from the way internet looked in 2006. Web 2.0 is so pervasive now that one cannot imagine the web without its myriad UI and collaborative features anymore. We, at Harbinger Systems have been building enterprise software systems with Web 2.0 features for companies that are trying hard to crack the Enterprise 2.0 puzzle. Back in April 2009, we presented a topic on Enterprise 2.0 at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco. An abridged version of the presentation has since been posted on our website, and we also created The Enterprise Software Makeover Guide – a white paper that enumerates ten of the best UI elements that came out of Web 2.0, and that have performed well in the enterprise environment over a sustained period of time.
If Enterprise 2.0 has to become as pervasive as Web 2.0, some of the Web 2.0 concepts have to make their way into enterprise products – and make it so well as to break the 9X hurdle in the minds of enterprise customers. How far do you think are we from the tipping point? Are we standing bang in the middle of it all with SaaS, Cloud Computing and Google Apps + Buzz? What other signs of Enterprise 2.0 are you seeing at your workplace?