Web 2.0 poised for bigger enterprise role in '08

Business yet to fully harness capabilities of blogs, RSS feeds and wikis

Web 2.0 will take on an increasingly important enterprise role in 2008,, but CIOs have a ways to go before harnessing the full value of collaborative technologies like blogs, RSS feeds and wikis.

"If I look at the Web 2.0 space in the enterprise, I see a lot of experimentation right now, and a lot of frustration," says Forrester analyst Oliver Young. "Are enterprises ready to deliver on the value the businesses are asking for? Probably not yet. But I think in 2008 they're going to get much closer."

When a company has a globally distributed workforce with tens of thousands of employees, workers can't collaborate effectively via traditional methods -- for instance, meeting in person with colleagues. That's where new Web 2.0 technologies come in handy. Out of all of them, wikis will probably have the biggest positive impact, says Paul Gillin, a writer and commentator on the tech industry and former executive editor of Network World sister publication Computerworld.

"If you have a large number of people who have to share information, e-mail is a horrible way to do that," Gillin says.

With a wiki, you can set up a blank page workspace, and leave it up to users to decide who's involved, what the tasks are and how the work will be organized, Young says. It's a lot more efficient than overflowing e-mail inboxes with mass e-mails.

RSS feeds also have a lot of potential. Young says the lawyers at one law firm he knows use feeds to stay up to date on cases, rather than e-mailing spreadsheets and documents all over the place.

But achieving successful collaboration isn't as easy as flipping a switch or installing a piece of software (although a proliferation of open source Web 2.0 software certainly makes it less expensive).

"The challenges are getting people to use it," Gillin says. "People are accustomed to e-mail, they know how to use e-mail." On the other hand, it's sometimes hard to get funding for Web 2.0 projects, because management teams at some companies aren't convinced the new tools deliver real business value, Young says.

Web 2.0 brings its share of problems: One Forrester survey found that enterprises are not prepared for security threats posed by Web 2.0 usage, particularly employee use of social networking and other applications for non-business purposes.

"Web 2.0 can make it easier for employees to share data, and in doing so make it easier for employees to abuse data," Young says. "The best way companies are starting to approach this is through strong permissioning, compliance and archiving," as well as education to make sure employees know what constitutes acceptable sharing of data.

Enterprises must carefully perform a balancing act, he says, erecting technology barriers to prevent data leakages while giving employees the freedom to collaborate effectively and without undue restrictions.

Gillin thinks security concerns are overrated. He forecasts a growing reliance on current Web 2.0 tools and adoption of new ones. Some corporations are interested in deploying social networking applications, sort of like an internal Facebook for employees, he says.

"The promise of intranets has never really been realized because of complexity and the difficulties managing them," Gillin says, noting that Web 2.0 technologies will help businesses take full advantage of intranets.

"It's kind of a no-brainer for CIOs who spend a lot of money putting in these highly engineered proprietary applications to do stuff they can now do with wikis and blogs at a tiny percentage of the cost," Gillin says.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jon Brodkin

Network World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?