Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Google Wave: The Future of Collaboration, Unified Communications and Business Intelligence

Note: I originally posted this at ebizQ, but wanted to make sure everyone saw it here, too. If you've already read it, my apologies -- feel free to share with someone who hasn't!

Lars and Jens Rasmussen of Australia, the creators of Google Maps, have done it again.

Google Wave is an open platform and open set of application programming interfaces (APIs) that integrates multiple collaboration techniques into logical, flexible and powerful virtual shared conversations, or "waves." You can "jump in" at any point in a wave's existence, play back parts you missed, and determine whether everyone or only certain people receive whatever you decide to share. Waves can feed blogs with minimal coding. Web sites can be wave-enabled with relative ease. You can access and participate in waves from mobile devices. Waves enable consolidated content collaboration and discussion - no need to choose between, for example, an e-mail thread and a wiki.

There's a whole bunch of other cool stuff in Google Wave, but there's no way I could do it justice here - at least not until I download and become conversant with the APIs and relevant other tools. Which isn't happening - not this week, anyway. You should go to http://wave.google.com and check out the hour-plus presentation and demo, take a shorter "sneak peek" or learn more about the Wave.

And you should expect to be as surrounded by waves as Australia, Tasmania, or your ocean-based land mass. The growth of public, private and hybrid computing clouds is very likely to be mirrored by the growth of public, private and hybrid waves supporting every type of business communication, collaboration or relationship. Which means waves will quickly become essential tools in the service of those pursuing more and better business intelligence (BI).

Why am I so confident? Partly because of what's happened to and with Google Maps - zero to near-ubiquity as the enabler of geographic content and features in Web-based applications in almost no time. Partly because of what's happened and is happening to and with Google Docs & Apps. But mostly because of all of the above, plus it's Google. And because I can't imagine any type of size of business that can't improve communication, collaboration and/or outreach to clients, prospects and partners with the current and likely forthcoming features of Google Wave.

The open APIs and protocols, along with Google Wave's native HTML 5.0 foundations, mean that integration with other online and traditional applications is coming sooner rather than later. And I'm sure that tools for analysis of feature and content access and use patterns are also coming soon. Heck, someone's probably working on direct integration with at least one open source BI tool even as I write this, let alone by the time you read it.

Frankly, I'm hoping to encourage development of more features and integrations among all interested in Google Wave. I am fervently convinced that the delivery of customizable and flexible consolidations of content creation, collaboration and sharing can lead almost directly to greater BI - and more intelligent businesses. And Google has demonstrated its ability to develop and deliver powerful, flexible and open enabling technologies. So I, for one, expect a tsunami of support for Google Wave, and for must of that support to result in new and useful options for those seeking powerful and flexible BI solutions.

Imitation Being the Sincerest Form of Flattery...

...I am borrowing an idea from my former Aberdeen Group colleague and the coolest enterprise mobility analyst I know, Philippe Winthrop, an analyst at Strategy Analytics and the guy behind the most excellent blog "Enterprise Mobility Matters." In his recent posting, "Fireside Chats on Enterprise Mobility," he describes a nifty interviewing methodology he's introduced at his blog.

Quite simply, I'm borrowing -- NOT stealing -- and adapting it for those of you interested in IT-enabled collaboration. (At MIT, where I went to school, they said MIT students never lie, cheat or steal -- they elaborate, collaborate and borrow.)

I'm starting to e-mail questions to some of the people I believe to be the leading lights in the industry, and will share my questions, their answers, and my reactions to them with you here. So stay tuned, and send suggestions for interview subjects and questions you'd like to see them answer. Meanwhile, thank Philippe for me, should you see him or visit his blog, which I strongly urge you to do!