Friday, June 09, 2006

What executives should know about Web 2.0 in the enterprise

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i listened to Tim O'Reilly's podcast on the plane ride east among some others that my RSS feeds had pulled in- and good thing i updated my podcasts-because the movie was about some teenager mermaid-awful.

O'Reilly's podcast is a supplement to BusinessWeek's recent Rob Hof's article on Web 2.0 in their 'CEO Guide to Technology' series which is a good read. During the interview, O'Reilly talks about how Web 2.0 is enabling companies to treat the web/network as a platform. If you haven't been following the conversation- the difference is that with the internet becoming the platform the key of web 2.0 is that you don't sell software to users/enterprises you deliver it and you monitize the service which is a very different business model from what many enterprise software providers have today. The power of the Web 2.0 is what is allowing Google and others to create services like the recent spreadsheet services. Rob Boothby has a good read on the 'spreadsheet wars'. Boothby's blog is a good resource on 'Web Office" and how it will be "The Next Wave in Productivity Tools".

I have definately seen a shift in the last 12 months on how Enterprises approach us about certain workflow tools that we provide around delivering external content across their enterprises. In the past hosted solutions behind corporate firewalls was the prefered option- more and more requests however are coming in for 'shared' web based services, with custom configuration to allow their own unique workflow and look-and-feel.

Ross Mayfield CEO of Social Text an enterprise social software company that i have been keeping my eye on -although until now i haven't run into them directly in my enterprise dealings, was interviewed by Rob Hof for this piece. Mayfield also has a good review of the BusinessWeek article and some interesting insight as well. Social Text wants/is playing heavily in the enterprise space and Mayfield writes about some of the differences between consumer and enterprise users. He touches upon security concerns and about the fact that as these tools become more culturally accepted it is making it easier to introduce them to the enterprise because there is less to explain or to train- and obviosuly less convincing to do at the executive level who subscribes to BusinessWeek! Being in the Enterprise content search business for 7 years-i have also seen search becoming easier to introduce across the enterprise- because search has become a cultural norm and RSS delivery in the Enterprise is also going that way.

I am glad that Mayfield doesn't "find chief executives wary of podcasts, blogs, wikis, or social networks" it is encouraging because like the example at the Royal Bank of Scotland where the executives nodded 'no' when questioned if they were using wikis internally-while at the same time the folks on the ground in the room nodded 'yes'-some users of web 2.0 services like myself are lurching in corners ready to pop-up.

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