Twitter’s New Business Model

twitterThere has been a lot of chatter lately about Twitter and making money. Suggestions have ranged from creating a Brand subscription model to Jeremiah Owyang’s suggestion Twitter engage in CRM.

Despite the 35 million dollars in new capital, Twitter needs a business model and the time for Twitter to strike is now. Twitter has tremendous brand recognition and are riding a tremendous wave and there is a business model out there. I think Twitter is just looking in the wrong place. Twitter should be looking to the enterprise 2.0.

A huge transformation is occurring in enterprise communications. Voice, once the central component of enterprise communications is giving way to Email, IM and other non voice centric tools. Users no longer rely on just phone calls. Users now compartmentalize their communication choices. They effortlessly move between Voice, IM and Email through out the day, depending on their need. Voice is no longer at the core of business.

Companies are investing 100’s of millions of dollars to capitalize on this transformation. With Microsoft’s OCS 2007 R2, Cisco’s purchase of Jabber, and Avaya’s One X portfolio enterprise communication companies are scrambling to capture this transforming market called Unified Communications.

Unified Communications is quickly gaining momentum. Displacing Voice as the core way to communicate UC integrates; voice, email, IM, mobility, applications, conferencing, collaboration tools and more. UC seamlessly connects user communication. Twitter has a play here. Yammer and it’s competition Qikcom and are quickly capturing a piece of this market. Yammer gets a dollar a user. This is a real business model. Twitter needs to flex it’s muscle and it’s brand recognition to penetrate this space.

The benefits are many;

1) They have the muscle, and brand recognition to quickly penetrate the market and take enterprise customers on quickly. It’s a real market with real dollars

2) Brands would be able to watch how their internal users use Twitter; gaining insight in how to leverage “Public” Twitter. This would increase Brand adoption on Twitter’s public platform

3) User adoption would accelerate as enterprise users familiar with Twitter in the workplace begin to adopt it for personal use

4) Twitter could leverage their enterprise relationships and platform to create new products and services, allowing Twitter to become a legitimate enterprise 2.0 as well as a web 2.0 company, creating scale and diversity.

The enterprise is changing rapidly. Softphones, IM, Email, integrated mobility services, collaboration are all quickly finding their way into users daily work flow and the enterprise version of Web 2.0 — Enterprise 2.0. The opportunity is now. Twitter would win by developing a secure version of it’s application. They should partner with MS, Avaya, and Cisco to integrate with their tools and establish themselves as an Enterprise 2.0 company.

The enterprise transformation is real. The difference between web 2.0 and enterprise 2.0 is real revenue. Companies are paying and Twitters cousin Yammer is collecting.

I’m headed to Voicecon this week. If I were Twitter I would be there.

Twitter has a legitimate chance to be the first true Web 2.0 crossover company . . . that is if they choose to be.