There’s been a lot of noise over Google Buzz this past week. I haven’t seen an article about Buzz’s impact on the Enterprise so allow me to chime in.
First, the impact of Buzz has been tremendous. Compare Google Wave search results with that of Buzz:
- Buzz (B) and Wave (A)
As you can see below, Buzz (in red) has overtaken Wave in most countries.
On the Gmail blog, Google revealed that they will be introducing an enterprise version of Buzz. From what I gather, Buzz for Enterprise and Google Apps will launch in a few months. In fact, Bradley Horowitz, Google’s vice president of product management, said development is well underway and that the product should be released soon.
According to Jeremy Milo, Google Apps Marketing Manager, “we think the feature (Buzz for Gmail) will be useful in interesting ways to all types of organizations, and we can confirm that Buzz will be made available to all editions of Google Apps in the coming months, once additional features to enable sharing within a domain are ready. Stay tuned!”
Why Buzz is Important for the Enterprise
I take the view that Buzz is Friendfeed meets FourSquare. I haven’t read a lot about Buzz’s FourSquare angle yet, but I find the location based features the most compelling. Further, Google will monetize location based Buzz and soon sell ads or enable a coupon mechanism to local businesses. Perhaps even allow people to “own” or preside over a commercial location based on number of visits.
Google Buzz has released what LinkedIn should have done a year ago. Now Buzz has the opportunity to surpass LinkedIn as the business network of choice. Twitter is also in trouble due to what Jeremiah Owyang calls the commoditization of data. Why use point solutions when Buzz aggregates all of your content and your networks’.
Here’s how Buzz will benefit business:
Buzz Business Matrix Guide
Why it’s important to Business
Who it effects
|Mobile Location Based Buzz||
Ability to interact with Buzz users (potential customers) locally is a complete game changer. Like 4Square and Gowalla, Buzz will give businesses the ability to advertise or interact directly with users through social gaming.
|Local businesses with physical store fronts|
|Local businesses with physical store fronts|
|Google Voice, Wave and Buzz Integration||
The integration with Voice and Wave will allow businesses to have stronger ties to their customers. Think Social CRM.
erprise and SMB Businesses
|Google Product Integration||
Buzz will eventually socialize the entire Google platform and will allow businesses better access to users’ social networks. It will also give businesses better information about their prospective customers.
Enterprise and SMB Businesses
Buzz will integrate with Google search results influenced by a user’s Buzz network. Thus businesses can take advantage of better targeted advertising and integrate with the Buzz recommendation engine.
|Enterprise and SMB Businesses|
The ability for business to build applications on top of Buzz enables 3rd party monetization of the Buzz platform and content.
Discover and share ideas and information in bite sized chunks. The ability to Connect and follow employees strengthens weak ties.
Buzz Challenges in the Enterprise
- 76% of businesses use Microsoft Outlook. Based on a special sneak peak preview of Office 2010, Outlook will be similar to Buzz in functionality and more powerful with SharePoint. Moving businesses away from Outlook will be challenging.
- While Buzz will make life difficult for Twitter and Facebook because Buzz is integrated with Gmail, the same challenge will exist for Buzz in the Enterprise. Outlook 2010 will have Buzz like functionality in Outlook thus making it more difficult for Buzz to penetrate large organizations.
- No major Google beachheads within the Enterprise makes it more difficult to cross sell Buzz.
In the missing the point department, Microsoft and Yahoo both put out press releases saying essentially that Buzz is a “big so what”. Buzz is important because it will augment and increase Google’s share of search and Adwords – of which Google controls both.
Buzz is open and thus will eventually be a rival to Microsoft in the enterprise. Google does lack a SharePoint competitor and for that reason will not win over the enterprise anytime soon. Look for a Google answer to SharePoint in the next year. Maybe something that elevates Wave to an enterprise platform.
CXO Summary: Maintain Twitter strategy, but focus on developing a business strategy around Buzz (especially SMB businesses). If you have store fronts, focus on the benefits of Buzz for mobile now. Buzz should be part of an active discussion around your 2010 strategic planning. There will be many revenue enhancing opportunities with Buzz in Q3 and Q4 2010.
For enterprise businesses, Buzz will not be available until April 2010. You’ll need to carefully evaluate whether it’s appropriate to replace your Exchange/Outlook installation with Gmail/Buzz. I would not recommend making the switch until you’ve considered all of the pitfalls and have taken an active look at Outlook/Exchange 2010.
Bottom line, tools like Buzz are part of the future of aligning every department towards the goal of winning over your customers. Understanding the buzz around your brand is crucial. You can choose to incorporate products like Buzz and Exchange/Outlook 2010 to better understand your customers. Or you can have the market ignore you.
(Cross-posted @ Seek Omega )