Closing the Enterprise 2.0 Expectations Gap

This week I’ve been asked several times to talk about challenges to deploying Enterprise 2.0 technologies within Enterprises, which is personal interest of mine.

In brief here's my current perspective:-

Most early Web 2.0 adopters were young consumers, drawn by ease of use, immediacy and social reach.

Recent data have shown growing adoption by older consumers, especially those with well established careers, leading to pressure for comparable tools within organizations.

Enterprises have been slow to understand the applicability of these technologies and to develop a balanced analysis of benefit vs. risk.

Recent changes in the Economy introduced new factors to this analysis:

  • Benefit – Specific 2.0-style technologies applied in a focused manner promise organizations very welcome operational savings
  • Risk – The longevity of many of these technologies is questionable as many small venture-backed startups offering similar tools are acutely, financially challenged
    • Creating mashups from several such technologies greatly increases operational risk

Enterprises have requirements which run counter to user experiences with consumer Web 2.0, including:

  • A need to control information sharing, especially in heavily regulated industries
    • Much Web 2.0 literature talks about the value of sharing information openly
  • A preference to only deploy relatively small toolsets and to try to limit silos
    • On the consumer web users are used to trying many similar sites and technologies, flitting to the next ‘hot’ site
  • Long deployment cycles, especially with current economic considerations
  • A need to consider long-term information preservation in a recoverable form

At least my predicted contraction and retrenchment in the number of Web 2.0 choices on the consumer web, and perhaps fewer free-to-end user services , may narrow the gap in user expectations… or not…

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