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The Best Way to get Web 2.0 Into the Enterprise

There are a few ideas circulating in the blogosphere as to what will bring Web 2.0 into the enterprise, including …

The Influx of the Millennials; recent college graduates who have come to expect social networking, instant messaging and collaboration via the cloud. This groundswell of pressure will force IT to implement these new technologies.

Consumer High-Tech; populist technologies like Apple hardware and Google’s suite of software has taken hold in our homes; folks who expect interoperability with their employer’s network will create the demand.

The Innovation Imperative; apparently, the only way for IT to demonstrate relevance and appear innovative is to slap Ajax and some pastel colors into their enterprise projects.

I suppose these things will start some conversations, but there are entrenched forces within the business that are tough to overcome –

  • The Millennials will be in the minority, with low positions on the corporate totem pole, for a few years still. There is still a critical mass of folks who only know how to communicate / collaborate via e-mail – folks who still own the decision-making power.
  • Consumer gadgets change too fast, and sport an ever increasing array of connection technologies. Savvy corporate IT groups have standardized on a small number of technologies, so they can keep overall costs down. Few businesses will want to explode their IT costs just so folks can check corporate e-mail on their iPhones.
  • Innovation based on a fancy look-feel probably delivers nothing to the bottom line. Words like wikis and blogs are fun to say, but most executive management teams prefer terms like 30% annualized growth, category killer, lower inventories with higher customer service, and market outperform.

Still, all is not lost. For those who dream of seeing more FOSS and Web 2.0 offerings on the corporate servers, the door is cracking open, due to the economic pressure we all feel. It gets tougher and tougher to justify increasing maintenance fees and license costs for the traditional software vendors, when competitive alternatives exist at little to no cost.

If you’re trying to get Web 2.0 into your company, sell the economics – not the ergonomics.

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