Monday 17 September 2007

Web2.0 - What's different this time around?

While thinking about the role of Web2.0 in the enterprise, a contact has asked the following question - "What's different this time around?"

They were referring to the language being used by vendors to sell the idea of web2.0, noting that it is very similar to the "spin" used back in the 90's during the emergence of the Internet.

This is one of the reasons I chose to tackle this issue. As I outlined in my dissertation proposal - "the adoption of web2.0 tools and methods is being prohibited by misunderstanding of purpose and lack of defined ROI for business cases".

In this context, I would say that where the emergence of the Internet created channels for business to exploit a new market with their customers (e-commerce), web 2.0 is more an enhancement of "How" organisations operate internally.

Using Wiki's, Blogs, Intranet Portals, RSS etc will not present an immediately obvious ROI like Internet Banking or Online Sales did. However, they can help empower organisations to become "learning organisations" i.e Reducing repetition of mistakes, improving knowledge retention, creating collaborative environments, and encouraging a knowledge sharing culture.

A quote I like is by Kahlil Gibran:

A little knowledge that acts is worth infinitely more than
much knowledge that is idle.

There are also externally facing uses of web2.0 for organisations emerging (RSS feeds, Podcasting, Support Wiki's etc), and as their popularity grow, we will see more exploration in this domain.

1 comment:

Patrick said...

I think the other thing that's different is that this time round it's cheaper and easier for guys in the operations to do something simle and effective - in the last round it was large scale infrastructure-building, and permissions and strategies and budgets from the top level down.

Great post from Matt Moore today on these lines:
http://engineerswithoutfears.blogspot.com/2007/09/engineers-with-fears.html

And if you don't already know it, Nathan Wallace's case study of how a pharmaceutical company was persuaded to adopt a wiki for its intranet.
http://www.e-gineer.com/v2/blog/2007/08/our-intranet-wiki-case-study-of-wiki.htm