Office 2.0

On the opening day of the Office 2.0 Conference, Google decided to merge Writely and Google Spreadsheets into Google Docs & Spreadsheets. Google’s been playing it coy with their office-suite plans, but recent maneuverings make their intentions clear.

(Aside: Is it just me, or is Google second only to Microsoft in poor product naming? I’m not here to criticize brand strategies, but Writely was a fantastic name. Google prefers Google This and Google That, and when those don’t work out, they go and spend $1.65 billion on YouTube, a site in which a good portion of the value lies in the brand. I don’t get it.)

Both Om Malik and Steve Gillmor are blogging the conference. Om claims the office 2.0 idea need refinement, and has to move away from away from traditional notions. Gillmor, as he regularly does, recognizes what is not being said and points in the direction things are moving.

The typical corporation is heavily wrapped up and invested in “process management” and “workflow solutions.” These solutions often have their roots in purchasing decisions made a decade ago, when a corporate network was just that. Data is siloed up in proprietary databases with arcane access restrictions, more often that not a hindrance to modern “workflow.”

Today, the Internet has allowed Google and others to bring communication and collaboration tools directly to the individual. Documents no longer have to be copied, or locked, or hand merged. In a networked world, they can be linked to and edited by multiple people. They can be chat rooms, where changes are discussed before being committed. The documents are the collaboration. They are the workflow.

It’s the difference between centralized and decentralized thinking. Corporations and their enterprise software vendors have a hard time getting beyond rigid, restricted processes. They need to change their mindset, and quickly. Better, more efficient tools are being piped directly to every employee’s desk from beyond the corporate firewall.


Backdrifter: Office 2.0.1
October 15, 2006 at 11:27 AM

[...] As a follow on to my entry on the opening day of the Office 2.0 Conference, I thought I’d take a look at the challenges facing both office 2.0 applications and the enterprises seeking to adopt 2.0 methodologies. For background, I recommend reading the post show analysis from IT|Redux, where Ismael Ghalimi presents a rundown of what occurred and offers worthwhile insights. [...]

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