26
Nov

Don’t look to Facebook at Work to change much in the world of enterprise social, but enterprise recruiting could be a different story

Facebook At Work (http://www NULL.dailymail NULL.co NULL.uk/sciencetech/article-2847311/Facebook-Work-set-launch-January-Social-network-s-ad-free-LinkedIn-rival-roll-early-new-year NULL.html), should it be released in early 2015, isn’t likely to make a dramatic appearance on the market for enterprise social computing solutions. It’s not as if consumers of this kind of computing solution have few choices. But the market is constrained and, perhaps, for a set of good reasons:

  1. Hierarchical organizations have demonstrated substantial resistance to enterprise social computing solutions
  2. Facebook at work appears to be taking a path into the enterprise leading through BYOD and BYOA, and the consumerization of IT computing
  3. Organizations supporting lots of silos have not demonstrated much success implementing enterprise social computing solutions
  4. It’s unlikely Facebook at work will introduce any new features beyond those already offered by entrenched competitors
  5. Neither is it likely Facebook will offer anything like the analytics tools already available to enterprise social consumers using tools offered by Microsoft, IBM, or even Google

So if this rumored suite of tools isn’t likely to make much of an impression on the enterprise social market, then why all the publicity about it? One can argue Facebook is the leading solutions provider for social computing; therefore, any step they take in an enterprise computing direction is worth some commentary. But this argument doesn’t hold up under scrutiny. The history of the efforts of a number of other solutions designed for the enterprise social computing market is not filled with a lot of clearly successful efforts. Bottom line: enterprise social computing is a special kind of requirement, not necessarily a right step for the average organization and, potentially, a detriment to its healthy performance.

But perhaps Facebook, itself, is powering a lot of the “online chatter”. They certainly have a lot to gain should they establish a position as a serious option for this type of computing for enterprise-class organizations. Further, if they approach the market from the direction of LinkedIn, as the article from the UK Daily Mail contends, they will have more to gain. Popping up as a competitor to Yammer will require a lot more work on the backend then Facebook is likely to want to undertake. Even more, it will require Facebook sales and marketing personnel to win over prospects from enterprise IT organizations — not likely to happen anytime soon, in the opinion of this writer.

Taking a piece of LinkedIn’s business with corporate recruiters and the executive search firms supporting them is another matter, and one where Facebook looks like a real force, especially when their expertise in the mobile ad serving market is factored in to the equation.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2014 All Rights Reserved

12
Nov

Is Salesforce.com in the cross hairs as mature ISVs jump into the customer data and analytics markets?

Salesforce.com acquired ExactTarget in 2013. Arguably, ExactTarget can produce a comparable quality of customer data to Facebook, or the just announced IBM Twitter partnership. But as Marc Benioff, CEO remarked during Salesforce.com’s Q2 2015 Earnings Conference call (http://edge NULL.media-server NULL.com/m/p/dg36tiry/lan/en), Salesforce.com is an enterprise cloud business.

We’ve written at length in this blog on the unique character of enterprise business markets for computer hardware, software (including cloud), and networking. As Benioff noted during a joint presentation with Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, to announce the addition of Salesforce.com as a supported CRM option for Microsoft’s Office 365 customers, Microsoft, itself, is one of Salesforce’s largest customers for ExactTarget services.

But servicing the needs of businesses marketing non durable commodities to consumers is a very different story, which Facebook seems to be winning. Salesforce’s growth rate, at 38% year over year is enviable, but Facebook’s year over year growth rate of nearly 60% is a lot better. Would it make sense for a stagnant mature ISV named IBM, desperate for some big growth, to see an opening to bring ExactTarget-like capabilities to a different market?

IBM certainly has a presence in every leading marketing business in the US and Western Europe. As a trusted partner of Ogilvy and Mather, Forbes, etc. a partnership with Twitter, which promises to provide them with a very unique set of data collected from Twitter’s “fire hose” to be fed into their Watson analytics solution looks very promising.

Salesforce, on the other hand, with Keith Block, an exceptionally capable sales and marketing executive for enterprise business markets, as President, looks clearly dedicated to signing up more enormous businesses like Microsoft. One can certainly argue the very large marketing businesses IBM presently services (and, in turn, the manufacturing and service-providing customers of these marketing firms like Procter and Gamble) fit the bill for legitimate Salesforce targets, but in this writer’s opinion it isn’t likely the way they are leveraging ExactTarget will meet the needs of Omnicom, etc for the consumer non durable goods market. This writer spent a lot of time with IBM from 1994 to 2001 and can speak to what was then a deep, strategic relationship with Ogilvy, Forbes, and others.

So the ExactTarget capability does look like something a mature ISV like IBM would want to repackage for its own, and very different set of consumers.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2014 All Rights Reserved