Dennis D. McDonald ( consults from Alexandria Virginia. His services include writing & research, proposal development, and project management.

Have We Reached an Enterprise Web 2.0 Tipping Point?

By Dennis D. McDonald

Have we reached a "tipping point" for enterprise acceptance of Web 2.0? According to  Martin LaMonica's Corporate America Wakes Up to Web 2.0, published June 26, 2006 on ZDNet News, we may have.

Jeremiah Owyang and I addressed similar issues back in January with our white paper on IT department  "resistance" to Web 2.0. Following that I conducted a Web 2.0 Management Survey that addressed the issues related to enterprise acceptance of social networking technologies, blogging, podcasting, and other collaborative techniques.

My conclusion back then was that factors unrelated to technology, such as corporate culture, were at least as important as, if not more important than, "IT department resistance." That survey's progress reports are listed here. A journal article that incorporates some of these same concepts is here.

But now we have the Boston conference LaMonica reports on and the multitude of blogs, events, wikis, other conferences, and workshops. As a consultant who regularly talks with clients, customers, and employers about business plans and opportunities, I have also become aware during this same time of a burgeoning corporate interest in Web 2.0 technologies and processes that is beginning to translate into serious money. Just in the past couple of months I've personally seen the following:

  • RFP's are being issued to incorporate technology based collaboration methods.
  • Staffing requirements for large web development projects are beginning to include "web 2.0" experience requirements.
  • Job ads seeking AJAX architects and developers are appearing.
  • "Knowledge management" projects in both the public and private sector are beginning to reflect increasing availability of web based collaboration tools that are already popular on the web.

The tide does seem to be turning from what was previously seen by some as a "bubble" or another "West Coast" phenomenon that was popular among "kids" but not necessarily "business-ready."

Still, the devil is in the details. How this is all playing out will still have to take into account corporate realities such as:

  • The clash between corporate cultures that emphasize control and those that emphasize collaboration.
  • A continued need to protect corporate secrets, privacy related information, and competitive information.
  • The requirement that new technologies integrate with legacy technologies -- and the processes and resources that maintain them.
  • The continued need to generate a positive Return On Investment (ROI).

The next six months will be key. The Web 2.0 momentum that has been building since last year will have to show major progress not just among technology and knowledge intensive companies but among more traditional service, manufacturing, financial, membership, and educational organizations as well.


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