Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0: What’s that?

A recent item on SearchSMB provided an excellent piece of sanity counter-balancing the hype around Web 2.0 and starting to bubble up around Enterprise 2.0.

A speaker at the IDC IT Forum and Expo in Boston asked his audience how many of their employers were using Web2.0 technologies: The answer zero. The writer points out that this is in stark contrast with IDC findings that around 45% blogs, 43% RSS and 35% wikis (the core technology components of Web2.0 by most definitions). Unfortunately, he goes on to claim that the divergence is because rogue users are experimenting without telling the IT managers – a conclusion which I find a little implausible. It seems more likely that the 0% rate is probably too low but the other findings are much too high (reflecting the usual over-statement when asking people soft questions like ‘experimenting’ and ‘piloting’ or ‘planning’ as I have previously blogged about).

Of course, there is real value in Enterprise 2.0 – taking the Web2.0 technologies and philosophy of user engagement and putting them into the work context. As a starting point, I would mostly ignore blogs, and instead focus on wikis and RSS and of course AJAX-based mash-ups if you regard them as part of the web2.0 palette. For those of you who have yet to get to grips with Web 2.0 concepts, look at the now famous and still excellent article by Tim O’Reilly here. On the Enterprise 2.0 side, Don Hinchcliffe has a blog worth tracking.


Posted in Enterprise 2.0, Imported, Web2.0.


  1. Hi Ronan,
    Great points on the emergence of the next business and social networking phenomena, Enterprise 2.0.
    Enterprise 2.0 is an evolving phenomenon, and has been termed as use of freeform social software within companies (as defined by Andrew McAfee, Associate Professor, Harvard Business School, one of the thought leaders in this space).
    The challenges with Enterprise 2.0 are twofold. First is the acceptance and use by non-technology business people. Here the problem is in the adoption and use of the Web 2.0 tools by technological neophytes, which would allow for the creation of any corporate value from a business collaboration standpoint. The second challenge is overcoming the managerial fear of unrestricted corporate communication both inside and outside the company firewall. Old school management philosophies and new era security methodologies can extinguish any free form collaboration value that Enterprise Web 2.0 can bring into an organisation.
    Both these points can stall and stop any adoption of enterprise collaboration thus negating any value derived by a company.
    Web 2.0, Enterprise 2.0 and SOA are buzzwords, concepts and practices which are being played with by the business and technology communities.
    Business Collaboration (the outcome of the combination of the above buzz words) is the symbiotic relationship of the various technology components that facilitate a knowledge sharing environment and the ability to have an actionable outcome. Once we begin communicating to business the value proposition of the new technologies and what is in it for them if business adopts Enterprise 2.0 we will see adoption rates move towards the numbers that the analysts and media are espousing.
    Michael Kuhbock
    Chief Business Guy, Collabalache

  2. Interesting that you think that a straw poll conducted in a situation where people are about as likely to raise their hand as a teenager is to dance with his mother at a wedding. I see the point you are trying to squeeze from this, but I don’t think you have a valid point. There are far better, quantitative indicators that maybe used such as the growth of Wiki (confluence et al.) with respect to source code documentation – the kind of voodoo that you claim enterprise / management are so frightened of…
    It’s easy to trash a trend as hype… or even back-off and say “well there are some valid uses but it’s all a little overhyped

  3. Paul,
    And the IDC numbers are a little like asking one teenager asking another whether he is a virgin in front of his friends :-).
    What I was trashing was the hype (and no web2.0 isn’t the first time this has happened – for instance IDC has claiming a 90% SOA adoption rate a couple of years back). Of course, there is a real trend towards using wikis (as you and I both point out).
    Furthermore, I am a supporter of their use not only for source code documentation but also for service descriptions in SOA.
    And finally, I would love to see the quantitative indicators on wiki adoption that you are talking about and happy to comment on them if you send me a copy or point me in the right direction at ronanb@lustratus.com.

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