According to IBM in a recent report – the future of applications and email is Social. So what do they mean by this ? Well to understand this belief we need to look a bit further back in the development of Lotus Notes and the use of document links. This unique feature allowed you to send a reference to a server, database, view or even specific record (an early use or URI or URL when only http:// links were common) through email so that a user could navigate directly to the item in question.
Despite many years of working with Microsoft products – users are still using mail as filing system and to distribute data and documents with all the problems associated with capacity, poor functionality and much lower productivity. Use of shared folders barely improves the matter.
So to have a step change we need innovation that takes the way we interact with others and with our documents and data – and changes it to acknowledge the fact that we need to work wherever we are – at whatever time and with whatever devices we have.
The challenge for developers and companies that product the tools that are used to produce applications have up to now been focused on rapid development but without the breadth of useability or reuseability that consumers require. Now when you pick an app for your business – the platform support can be the most important factor.
So IBM are building the platforms and tools to make this social web real what are the others doing. Well – looking at Microsoft’s recent acquisitions of Skype (messaging) and Yammer (team collaboration) – their view is to buy what has been working in various areas and “integrate” it into their messaging tools.
Comparing SharePoint and Domino leads to a very uneven result. The depth and breadth of the Domino/Sametime/Xpages combination mean that SharePoint has little chance of maturing into a real competitor. If we take the online offerings such as IBM Smartcloud – then we really see that IBM have the lead in the race to control the social desktop.
So my cry to developers is “Social is Global” – its there and its everywhere – ignore it at your peril.