During my trip to Europe last week, someone told me about consumer protection in Scandinavia against the fine print in low fare airline marketing. You know the kind - 1 seat every 5 days on a flight at a particular fare - if you are wearing green socks and your middle name starts with Z. I found the guidelines here.
I think we need a similar set of guidelines for Oracle and SAP as they share their excitement about the cool and hip stuff they are doing with Web 2.0, Second Life etc.
Here's Oracle's Paul Pedrazzi on social apps behind the firewall at the vendor
"To “launch” our Alpha, I sent an email to a group of a few hundred people inside Oracle. In the first hour of operation we went from 3 users (Jake, Rich, and I) to over 270 users. After 10hrs we were nearing 2,000 users and today we hit 10,000. Just over 1/7th of the entire company in under 3 business days. No marketing. No master plan. This was an experiment, remember. We were dumbstruck."
And his colleague, Rich Manalang about building a social app in under 24 hours
"I started coding on a Thursday night and by mid-day Friday morning, I had the general pieces in place so that data can be entered. On Friday afternoon,... I made a few enhancements over Saturday and Sunday and by Monday, the site was live! It’s become such a popular site internally, that there’s talk of putting together a public facing IdeaFactory site for Oracle customers — I’m hoping that happens."
Here's SAP's Craig Cmehil at some of the cool stuff he is doing on Second Life
"...the SAP Community Network is having a brand new building built for use in the community, even have our first event almost completely planned out with two of the top contributors in the community."
This is neat stuff. It is good to see enterprise vendors try out the new, cool stuff - and turn WIIFM to WIIFE - make consumery stuff more enterprisey.
It is also good to see Paul, Rich and Craig passionate and fired up...but, sadly, they represent that elusive "advertised fare" in their organizations.
You really think Oracle is ready to become transparent with its customers? You really think SAP and partners can implement anything for its customers in 24 days, let alone 24 hours? Can they come close to the web 2.0 rich experience for users? Will they ever get anywhere near price points we are seeing from pure play web 2.0 vendors?
Till I see massive transformations at both, all this cool stuff is a thin coat of innovation paint on old, overpriced products and business models.
So color me cynical. But I don't own green socks, and my middle name does not start with Z. And I like to save my clients real dollars, not virtual Second Life money.