Your boss might block access to Facebook on the job, but that hasn't stopped Forrester Research from estimating that social networking will be a huge priority of "Enterprise 2.0."
In a new report written for the market research firm, as detailed by Larry Dignan at CNET News.com's sibling site ZDNet, analyst G. Oliver Young predicts that "Enterprise 2.0" applications--buttoned-up versions of the Web 2.0 apps we all know and love--will be a $4.6 billion industry by 2013. Social networks, Young wrote, will make up the bulk of that, with nearly $2 billion invested in them.
This means we'll probably see a lot of intra-company networking tools (souped-up corporate directories, for example, or internal forums) as well as more interactive varieties of technical support. Not surprisingly, Young's report predicts the biggest adopters will be large companies where you can't just stroll over to the HR or IT folks for a little face time, and where instituting collaborative tools from 37Signals or Zoho could speed things up when not everyone's based in the same building (or time zone).
Smaller businesses, meanwhile, seemed a bit skeptical. Sixty-eight percent of small businesses (fewer than 99 employees) surveyed by Forrester said that they had no intention of instituting "Enterprise 2.0" applications, compared with 51 percent of global companies (20,000+ employees) who said they were already actively buying them up.
Behind social networking, the Forrester report asserts that the "Enterprise 2.0" landscape of 2013 will consist of mashups ($682 million), RSS technologies ($563 million), wikis ($451 million), blogs ($340 million), and podcasting ($273 million).