Blog post

Australia Big on SOA but Not So Much on Social

By Anthony J. Bradley | June 25, 2009 | 10 Comments

I just returned from a tour in Australia that took me from Brisbane to Canberra to Melbourne to Sydney where I met with 25 organizations in five days (which is why I have not posted much in the past few weeks).

Most of my meetings concerned SOA and many of the orgs were in the midst of or just beginning SOA initiatives. Very few were interested in social software and the couple that were interested were in the very early stages.

A few of them brought up Burton Group’s “SOA is Dead” shock marketing campaign [my categorization not theirs] and were concerned that their efforts are now somehow obsolete. I addressed Burton Group’s bad analyst behavior (I consider sensationalizing to be bad analyst behavior. Leave that to CNN 🙂 and assured them that SOA was alive and thriving.

Why Enterprise 2.0 (social software use by the enterprise) isn’t catching on down under is an interesting question. I had a quick discussion with a local Oz analyst and we postulated that, since Australia is relatively small, maybe they don’t see the value in mass collaboration. I fully admit that this is speculation and I’m not saying that there is no value in Enterprise 2.0 for Australia because of its size. On the contrary, engaging effectively with the broader community can give smaller organizations the Web presence of much larger ones and can pay solid dividends. Australia doesn’t quite seem there yet. Maybe when I’m back to Australia in November I’ll investigate further.

These are observations from my trip and 25 organizations is not representative of the entire country. Any thoughts on my observations?

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  • Anthony Bradley says:

    And I should also mention that there was a good amount of interest in enterprise mashups.

  • Welcome back. I am campaigning to change the perception that Enterprise 2.0 is just about social software in the enterprise context. I consider that it covers the entire scope of Web 2.0 in the enterprise context, and certainly also Enterprise Mashup’s and Enterprise RIA.
    Looking forward to discuss this next week.

  • Anthony Bradley says:

    The definition of E2.0 seems to be in constant flux. I have esed Enterprise Web 2.0 in the past.

  • Assessing the interest in social software is best done by looking at the uptake of Facebook, LinkedIn and other popular sites. Asking IT staff is probably not the best way of figuring this out.

    Here are a few stats (found here – As of August 2008, Australia had the 6th highest Facebook population in the world. That represents a penetration of 20% of the nation’s population compared to 10% of the US population. Also, Australia is one of the only offices that wasn’t closed by mySpace. mySpace population is 2.1 million in Australia. LinkedIn is 647,000. ( This is in a country of 21 million people.

    With all due respect Anthony I think that Australia is very much there. Just because some SOA-focused IT guys didn’t want to talk about social software doesn’t mean it’s not important to everyone else!

  • Anthony Bradley says:

    Thanks for the stats. I should state that Brian is a Gartner Analyst in Sydney.

    I want to clarify that I am talking about enterprise social software use not consumer side social software (Facebook, MySpace, etc.). I met mostly with CIOs, CTOs, and IT directors not the “SOA guys.”

    The fact that the general populace is active doesn’t necessarily mean that enterprises are. Although over time I would expet a correlation.

    BTW, I was at a local pub with some Australians who were very actively communicating with friends on Facebook.

  • Thanks for the full disclosure Anthony 🙂

    From my observation, we can’t completely dismiss end user adoption of consumer-facing social networking sites from the discussion of enterprise social software use.

    All I can say is that from my conversation with many clients in this country there is definitely an interest in social software – where it fits, how to benefit from it, issues & challenges. Aussies, however, are far more pragmatic when it comes to spending up on technology. They tend to hold off until the is a solid business case and the hype has died down before jumping in. If anything I’d suggest you might have been experiencing that dimension of the Australian IT culture.

    BTW – the pub is a great place to get some quality research done!

  • Anthony Bradley says:

    Glad to hear it. Because I’m hoping to do my Enterprise 2.0 Strategy presentation at Symposium Australia in November.

  • Mark Elliott says:

    While I agree, Australia seems to be lagging a bit in the Enterprise2.0 arena, I’ve been a part of some pretty great world-leading projects in gov2.0 space. Interesting that there’s such a distinction.

    Have a look at and if interested – both employing wikis for internal collaboration on drafting management plans as well as collaborative public consultation (Melbourne’s city plan in the case of Future Melbourne).

  • Anthony Bradley says:

    Excellent Mark, thanks!

  • Anthiny, I’m not sure about this either. Australian government clients have been amongst the very first to really get “web 2.0” behind the hype. Of course, as you know, I don’t believe there is much of an “Enteprise 2.0” need in government, but I would argue that Australia is in much better shape than most of Europe when it comes to figuring out how to make good use of social software.