The idea of Web 2.0 implementations has taken a bit of a dive with the news that SuiteTwo, backed by Intel and SpikeSource is being discontinued.
SuiteTwo, is no longer being sold, and its maintenance period for existing customers will close at the end of this year.
"We're going through the end-of-life process for SuiteTwo," said Dominic Sartorio, senior director of product management at SpikeSource, Intel's lead partner in the effort.
When it was announced, SuiteTwo was seen as concrete proof that CIOs, IT directors and business managers had begun seriously considering the use of Web 2.0 technology in their workplaces.
In a bundle integrated and maintained by SpikeSource, SuiteTwo included blog publishing software from Six Apart, RSS content syndication software from NewsGator, and SimpleFeed and wiki software from Socialtext.
SpikeSource has notified the about 80 companies that use SuiteTwo regarding the phaseout and will provide migration assistance to them, Sartorio said. "We're going to be there to help customers, advise them, to do what's right for their deployments and users," he said.
The concept behind SuiteTwo was right, said Forrester Research analyst Oliver Young. Companies are adopting blogs, wikis, enterprise RSS and other Web 2.0 technologies to improve collaboration and communication among their employees, partners and customers. "The market has moved in that direction pretty aggressively," he said.
"The problem with SuiteTwo wasn't the idea. The problem was the execution. They were trying to cobble together products from five or six independent companies, and it never looked like anything more than a bunch of applications that were duck-taped together," Young said.
Consequently, after its initial splash, SuiteTwo didn't get nearly as much attention from potential customers as its capabilities would have otherwise merited, and it became a sideshow for the partner vendors involved as well, Young said.
"SuiteTwo had a lot of great ideas [behind it] but there were shortcomings in the implementation and go-to-market strategies," said Brian Kellner, NewsGator's vice president of product management.
SimpleFeed's CEO Mark Carlson concurs. "All of our involvement pretty much stopped three or four months after the initial SuiteTwo announcement," he said.
While SuiteTwo failed to gain traction, vendor partners like NewsGator and Socialtext noticed that demand for a suite like that was real and expanded their own offerings beyond their niche areas to offer more comprehensive collaboration and communication functionality.
"We started seeing that the social side of our solutions had a lot of value to offer and we started going down that path," Kellner said.
For example, in expanding beyond their original niches, SocialText and NewsGator have replicated not only the SuiteTwo components but also newer ones, like workplace social networking, activity notification feeds and Twitter-like microblogging status updates.
"It was difficult for example in the SuiteTwo architecture to get a notification that someone had posted a new blog post, or that someone had updated a wiki page, or to pass information back and forth between the various solutions. It was a lot of work," Kellner said.
There are no hard feelings between the SuiteTwo partners and SpikeSource, whose migration plans for SuiteTwo include steering customers toward the partners. Since SuiteTwo is a superset of partners' software products, migration should be straightforward, he said.
Forrester's Young agrees. "The underlying products in SuiteTwo and their vendors are still here and innovating. It shouldn't be hard for a SuiteTwo customer to go to these vendors and put the thing back together," Young said.
Young's advice is for SuiteTwo customers to identify which component is delivering the most value for them and approach that vendor first.
SpikeSource pulled the plug on SuiteTwo in part because it wasn't in its best interest to focus on any particular software market segment, such as enterprise 2.0 products, CRM or content management, but rather to stick to its strengths: to assist ISVs with services like code testing, software maintenance and development.
As such, SpikeSource is focusing on its new Solutions Factory, launched in April 2008 and described as an automated platform for assembling, testing, packaging, certifying and updating software from ISVs.
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