FourSquare for the Enterprise: Give it Two Years, Max

hutchcarpenter.jpegIn the past few weeks we’ve seen more references to FourSquare as a potential enterprise tool. The discussion represents an emerging law of Enterprise 2.0 Inevitably, a consumer trend in the social technology space will start to seep into the business world.

Hutch Carpenter of Spigit says it is a two-year lag before the enterprise adopts a social computing trend. He writes that wikis emerged in 2002 as a consumer tool and by 2004 came into the enterprise. Social networking emerged in 2006 and by 2008 had made its way into a business context. Microblogging hit in 2007 and by 2009 it became a central part of the Enteprise 2.0 suite.

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And so as the social concept of location based networks emerges in 2010, Carpenter’s bet is that we will see location based networks arrive into the enterprise by 2012. For reference, Spigit is an idea management platform. It is referenced by <a href="Dennis Howlett “>Dennis Howlett in the comments of Mark Fidelman’s CloudAve post as a company that could potentially enable this capability.

“If i’ve understood you correctly what you are suggesting sounds fine in theory but i’d prefer solutions like Spigit which do a very good job of surfacing peer reviewed ideas but using algorithms that avoid the inevitable gaming problem."

Using Carpenter’s theory, here are some additional possibilities we can think of:

  • IT Admins may have control over who is able to post to their location and in what context.
  • Location-based systems will be required for some jobs. Permissions will be controlled by a business manager or IT administrator.
  • A new generation of location-based applications will integrate with microblogging platforms.
  • Web-oriented dashboard environments will provide live updates for managers to get an immediate view of their team with updates that are filtered to different communities based on the employee’s work role.
  • Foursquare and Gowalla will be important for adoption but the first dominant player will probably be a new company or a company with an understanding of the importance of location-based systems.

These outcomes do seem plausible. In the current generation of Enterprise 2.0 applications, we see the emergence of similar trends. IT Admin is becoming a basic requirement for cloud-based, collaborative applications that serve the enterprise. We could name everyone here but just look at the latest crop of new arrivals. Both Novell’s Pulse and Status.net make this requirement standard in its microblogging applications.

How location based networks affects the way we view employees will become one of the most important issues in this brave, new world.

Enterprise data, bound together by data analysis, may become such a tightly woven fabric that recommendations can be made at each check-in. Suggestions about work habits may become part of the network. How we view our basic civil liberties will be challenged. But in the end, we’ll keep looking out two years, waiting for the next consumer wave while managing the reality of working in a transparent universe.

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