Hello, world: Intelligent Enterprise officially joins the blogosphere! - InformationWeek

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Software // Information Management
Commentary
11/14/2006
08:48 PM
David Stodder
David Stodder
Commentary
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Hello, world: Intelligent Enterprise officially joins the blogosphere!

We are excited about opening up this new channel for communication with subscribers and the broader Intelligent Enterprise community. We look forward to participating in the ongoing conversation among the blogs, and to sharing our ideas, reports and observations.

We are excited about opening up this new channel for communication with subscribers and the broader Intelligent Enterprise community. We look forward to participating in the ongoing conversation among the blogs, and to sharing our ideas, reports and observations.Through the blog, we'll also provide updates about what we're doing on the editorial side: features being planned, conferences we'll be attending or sponsoring, Webinars in the works, and just stuff we're dreaming about doing and need reader input to make sure we're on the right track.

On that note, we have our 2007 Editorial Calendar finished and will be posting it shortly. In the January print issue, we'll celebrate the lucky number "7" by identifying seven big trends that will shape the evolution of intelligent enterprises in the coming year. Also on tap are our Readers' Choice Awards, which make their debut in a new (and annual) January time zone. Our thanks to subscribers for taking the time to vote for your favorite products!

A major theme I see for 2007 is pretty simple: that is, "putting it all together." We founded Intelligent Enterprise in 1998 with the idea that traditional technology categories would become less relevant as strategic business objectives increasingly drove the purchase and implementation of software and other IT systems. Today, it would be hard to identify one technology category that isn't in mash-up mode with other technologies: BI, search, business rules, CRM, BPM, SOA, EAI--you name it.

During the week of November 6th, I went to two events in San Francisco that were conveniently--and perhaps cosmically--located within blocks of each other: Business Objects' Insight Americas 2006 and the Web 2.0 Summit, produced by O'Reilly Media and CMP Media LLC, the publisher of Intelligent Enterprise. Bernard Liautaud, Business Objects' founder, chairman of the board and chief strategy officer, gave a substantial speech about the future of BI. Search, one of the foundational technologies of Web 2.0, figured prominently in his vision.

"Ambient and pervasive" was how Liautaud described BI's next phase, leaving behind the isolated, batch origins of data warehousing. Metadata-driven, multi-faceted search will guide users to the data; there will be less querying. Systems will understand what's most relevant to you, so there will be less wasted time, both with BI currently and with typical keyword searches that come back with 19,000 results. In other words, BI will make search smarter, and search will enable BI to deliver results with less pain on the user's side--and less of a knowledge requirement for how the data and schema are structured.

Over at the Web 2.0 Summit, held in the swank but venerable Palace Hotel, the atmosphere was very different. The spanking new Moscone Center West, where the Business Objects event was held, is cavernous: a fine place for a traditional conference attended by thousands. Walking distances are huge; getting around crowds is no problem. The escalators are long and out in the open. The Palace Hotel, on the other hand, opened in 1875, survived the great 1906 San Francisco earthquake and didn't change much until it was remodeled in 1991. Space is tight. Escalators are small. Internet access doesn't work very well. But it was packed and buzzing.

The Web 2.0 Summit attracted all types: natty poseurs, sleep-deprived geniuses, investors rich with equity and others rich with media access. I've never seen so many people blogging. In fact, sitting here at my desk, I'm really not doing it right. Blogging is done in public--while walking, eating, talking, you name it, as long as you can be seen doing it. During sessions, half the room was blogging or sending instant messages. A couple arrived late and sat in front of me. As the panelists chattered on, they passed a laptop back and forth, apparently IM-ing each other. Cute. Finally bored with that, they left the room.

The Web 2.0 Summit's ecosystem was so fascinating that it was almost hard to pay attention to the substance of the event. Of course, the most substantial word anyone could utter was "monetize." Web 2.0 may be about social networking, folksonomies and a new generation of digerati creativity, but at the end of the day, Web 2.0 is about how to make money off of this stuff. Web 1.0 made a lot of people very rich (at least for a while): Can Web 2.0 catch lightning in a bottle a second time?

In one conversation after another, it came clear to me that Web 2.0's monetization depends on something familiar to us all: the data. Clicks become patterns; patterns tell companies how to serve their customers better. Just as everyone is watching everyone else blog, the Web 2.0 companies are watching every single click--or would like to. Privacy debates were complicated and passionate during the event.

I'll have more to say in future blog entries, but it's clear that the worlds of BI and Web 2.0 are moving closer together, with search currently the subject of greatest mutual attraction. (Note: Be sure to catch Executive Editor Penny Crosman's cover story about search, taxonomies and related subjects in our upcoming December edition.)

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