Steve Wylie, the conference GM (you'll find tweets from the show at #e2conf), points out that while businesses are taking advantage of game changers like cloud computing and data center virtualization, applications that exploit these infrastructure technologies have lagged the application advances being made in the consumer market.
As you might suspect, most of the exhibitors on hand are smallish, privately held software companies. The big guys were there too, including Novell, IBM and Cisco. But the vast majority are innovative, emerging companies developing very exciting social and collaborative solutions for business.
In one day it's impossible to get a close look at all the companies there, but I was able to take a look at quite a few. From what I saw and heard, these three are my picks for the coolest companies at this year's e2conf:
- Doodle, in their own words, "makes scheduling virtually effortless." Using Doodle, scheduling a meeting with busy coworkers is as easy as creating a poll, casting a vote for the preferred date and time, and informing participants of the outcome. Doodle was founded in 2008 in Zurich, Switzerland and has about 10 employees. And I love the name. Do you Doodle?
- At the other end of the emerging company spectrum is Jive Software, a well-funded, well-established company with more than 2,500 customers (they claim). Jive Software, now based in Palo Alto, Calif., (the firm was started in Portland, Ore.), is eyeing an IPO in 2011 and is led by industry veteran Tony Zingale, who led the sale of Mercury Interactive to HP four years ago. I saw Zingale's keynote earlier today and he still turns it on. Jive Software is partnering with heavyweights like Google and Twitter and looks to be well on its way to building an enterprise 2.0 company with staying power.
- I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Baydin, a San Francisco-based company and winner of today's "Launch Pad People's Choice," a fun text message-based audience-participation contest pitting four newish companies against each other. Baydin has an "Unsearch" product that's built into Outlook and hunts down or "automatically discovers" in your email, documents and colleagues who could help you with any given project. I love this: at Baydin, they talk about "the future of search...is not having to search."