Over the years, one trend I have observed, especially when it comes to web-based technologies, is the movement of tools from the external web to the internal workings of organizations. In fact, this is similar to a common strategy used by those who make the tools so successful on the external web. At first, they offer tools for free in order to familiarize as many users as possible with them. The hope is that these users will like the tools and company and come to rely on them on a daily basis. After that, most companies develop another tool—usually a low-cost alternative to the free one—that adds additional support, extended features, space, or throughput. Finally, companies usually offer some type of corporate version of the tool that promises to provide the same benefits that people get from it on the external web but within the privacy and focused environment of an organization. One early example is Google search. Google’s general web search is and stays free, but Google now offers a whole range of features and services around search that are not free. In addition, on a corporate level you can get Google to supply you with an internal search engine that is focused on search within your organization and its websites and content. The strategy of offering several levels from free to fully paid has been so successful that recently vendors offer them right from the start of launching their product or service.

Another version of this process is ...

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