I’ve just read a post by the inimitable Silicon Valley insider Sarah Lacy in which she derides the prospects for Enterprise 2.0 companies. The theme of her post is that most of the Enterprise 2.0 companies she sees are "me too" companies providing yet another wiki/collaboration/whatever products that are competing with existing free alternatives or searching for a market that doesn’t exist.
Bear in mind this is from the same Sarah Lacy who wrote Once you’re lucky, twice you’re good, the book heralding the consumer web 2.0 visionaries (Andreeson, Adelson, Rose, Zuckerberg) as visionaries. (For your info I’ve read the book (a free signed review copy no less) and it’s a good read – go and buy it). Yes the same consumer web 2.0 offerings that have no obvious monetisation path, that are each competing with other existing offerings and which (arguably) fuelled this current web bubble.
Contrast that with the enterprise 2.0 products which are business facing – that’s right BUSINESS, where wealth is created and stuff gets done. Where tools that provide a needed service get purchased – for money. Not consumer web 2.0 where everything is free and there is no vision for monetisation beyond advertising.
Sure some products will go to the wall – there are a bunch of "me too" Wiki offerings in particular which don’t have any real point of difference – we’ll se some consolidation in that area – but enterprise 2.0 itself is totally sound – it provides ROI, it’s more efficient and it’s about tools which help businesses improve their bottom line – all of which are significantly comforting in these difficult times.