I read a little while ago about technologies that are businesscritical yet don’t render a competitive advantage. Collaboration toolswas one such application named. But I prefer to think of it as businesscritical apps that don’t render an obvious advantage. Collaborationtools, for instance, is one such business application that isincreasingly gaining popularity but has an indirect impact on thebottom line. I’m not sure it would be a very straightforward exerciseto calculate in a dollar amount the concrete contribution that workercollaboration has on the business, yet there is a contribution.

Maybe the difficulty in measuring competitive advantage has much todo with the fact that some tools are not labeled as businessapplications. Enterprise resource planning, customer relationshipmanagement, supply chain management tools are all obvious businessapplications that positively impact the bottom line. But there areothers that are emerging.

On our very own ITWorldCanada.com’sKnowledge Centres, the Enterprise Business Applications knowledgecentre lists many of the obvious candidates, like those mentionedabove. But I began to wonder about those not listed like an enterprisesemantic search application. Maybe it’s a little too soon for that ascorporate search technology is still evolving. But given companiesoften talk about the need, and of the clear value to the business, tobe able to search for content across an enterprise, isn’t it time thatenterprise search became recognized as an enterprise businessapplication as well?

Sure, like collaboration tools, perhaps the general competitiveadvantage of an enterprise search application is a little less direct(except in the event that money is saved when e-discovery isfacilitated by a good enterprise search tool). But companies thatsooner realize the importance of such technology as business criticalwill surely profit.



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