I'm in gray and rainy San Francisco attending the RSA security conference at the Moscone Convention Center, and the big item on the agenda Monday was the Cloud Security Alliance Summit. The CSA is a very cool organization chartered to provide and promote best security practices for cloud computing, and to educate on cloud computing. It has very broad and deep support in the cloud vendor and security community, and due to the major focus of concern on cloud security, its membership and general visibility level has skyrocketed in the two years it's been in existence.
I attended the summit's keynotes, and somehow ended up sitting in the front row with the speakers (a long way from my "hiding in the back of the classroom" school practice). I found myself sitting next to Chris Hoff of Cisco, one of the guiding lights in the cloud security area and a founder of the CSA, and also talked to great folks like John Fontana, identity evangelist at Ping Identity and Gartner's distinguished analyst for security Dan Blum.
Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com, was the kickoff speaker, and he presented a simple, yet confounding thesis: If we like Facebook so much (and we apparently do), and dislike working with traditional enterprise software so much (social media use eclipsed email use last year), why not make enterprise software more like Facebook? Can you fit the requirements of enterprise software into a feed based interface that's highly collaborative? Can you make mobile versions that allow you to instantly see what your coworkers are doing, or get help from them? Well, Kraig Swensrud, Salesforce's SVP of product marketing stepped up to demonstrate how they did. It's uncannily Facebook-like, and Kraig made a convincing case for its usefulness.
Now, this makeover won't work for all kinds of software, nor is it needed. SQL Server doesn't need a news feed. But highly collaborative processes such as CRM may well benefit from adopting this model.