This post is to announce and describe the 2011 Groundswell Awards, specifically the internal "management" category: innovation, collaboration (including social), and mobile. As my Empowered coauthor, Josh Bernoff, writes:
"We had this idea in 2007 that we could surface the best, most interesting, most effective social applications with an awards program. At the time, I never realized just what a fascinating variety of programs we'd encounter. So we kept doing it."
"The purpose of this post is two-fold -- to officially announce and open up the site for entries to the 2011 awards, and to celebrate some of the most amazing entries of the last five years."
Read Josh's recap of the award's five-year history here.
Starting last year, we expanded the field to include three internal “management” scenarios in line with our book Empowered. The awards this year are for:
Employee Mobile Application:Help employees solve customer and business problems using smartphones and tablets.
Employee Collaboration/Social Application:Help employees connect and work together.
I'm not going to comment on the $8.5B purchase price, though I'm sure Marc Andreesen's investment company is happy with their return. And I'm not going to comment on the impact on Xbox, Hotmail, and Live.com. And I don't think this has anything to do with Windows Mobile.
But I am going to comment on the impact of the deal on the enterprise, and specifically on content and collaboration professionals responsible for workforce productivity and collaboration. When you strip it down to its essence -- Skype operating as a separate business unit reporting to Steve Ballmer -- here's what you need to know about the Skype deal:
First, Microsoft gets an important consumerization brand. Skype is a powerful consumer brand with a reported 600+ million subscribers. But it's also a "consumerization brand," meaning that it's a valuable brand for people who use Skype to get their jobs done. Consumerization of IT is just people using familiar consumer tools to get work done. It's a force of technology-based innovation as we wrote about in our book, Empowered: Unleash Your Employees, Energize Your Customers, Transform Your Business. Google and Apple and Skype have dominant consumerization brands. Microsoft does not. Until now. And as a bonus, Google doesn't get to buy Skype. And more importantly, neither does Cisco.