Ramana (welcome back to the blogosphere… we missed you) posted a nice summary of his experience moderating a panel at Office 2.0 and 7 technical barriers to adoption. It’s hard to find fault in anything on the list, and furthermore, what is interesting about several of them is that they aren’t technical barriers at all but rather strategic decisions the service providers need to make. Case in point is single sign on, which could be achieved today using OpenID but probably won’t because too many of these services have business models that rely on capturing user data. Actually, that’s highly speculative of me because in many cases I really don’t know what the business model is, however, it’s hard to not get hit with a pitch presentation these days that doesn’t have a slide about “advertising” in it, in which case having granular customer data is pretty valuable.
As an aside, Zooomr uses the MyOpenID service and it seems to work pretty well, which is where I got educated on the whole openid project. We’re taking a look at it here because managing a user directory is something that quite honestly I would rather not have to do… we do have an area that we are building out for roles and security events which is pretty important but there is nothing that prevents us from using an open source directory and saving ourselves from the hassle of having to build one.
Lastly, I do want to add one more barrier to Ramana’s list: Provisioning and Integrated Billing. Aside from the fact that no user is going to want to have 50 usernames and passwords for their office 2.0 scenario, they also aren’t going to be satisfied with 50 URLs and 50 bills to maintain, assuming that these services ultimately settle on a subscription or consumption revenue model. We really need something like a Visa model or a Star Network like it exists for ATMs whereby all of these services are hooked up to a common transaction backbone for billing and payments and the customers pays at one place. There is a business in here somewhere, I’m just not sure what all the dimensions are and more importantly, these services are still far too early in their life-cycle to see the advantages of adopting a scheme like this.
Single Sign-On â€” I canâ€™t imagine anybody attempting any degree of real Office 2.0 life (say 25% of time w/ online apps) having fewer than 50 online logins. Itâ€™s of course, a huge pain to manage all those logins, not just the process of logging in, but also the constant shroud of whether you are being â€œsafeâ€ (and who is?). Itâ€™s particularly a concern when Email addresses are so prominently used as IDs and wireless networking is so wide open.