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7/19/2006
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Growing Corporate Interest in Web 2.0

It was great to see such a large Web 2.0 presence at the Collaborative Technology Conference (CTC) last month. A year ago, the term "Web 2.0" was not used in any CTC session title or description. There were only a few presentations that even mentioned Web 2.0 technologies.

This year, two of the keynotes addressed Web 2.0 directly. John Seely Brown said he expects Web 2.0 technologies to make their way into enterprise intranets through corporate workers because of their familiarity with consumer web applications. John also said Web 2.0 enables "the dawn of emergent collaboration". Mike Rhodin, GM of Lotus, also mentioned Web 2.0 and focused a lot of his time on social networking and mashups in his keynote.

In the Web 2.0 track Dion Hinchcliffe, Editor-in-Chief, Web 2.0 Journal, gave a great introduction to Web 2.0 and enterprise opportunities to leverage it. Rod Boothby, a Manager at Ernst and Young and part time chicken photographer, gave the most engaging presentation of the conference. He covered the many ideas he has for using Web 2.0 inside companies and about his efforts at E&Y. Andrew McAfee's topic was Enterprise 2.0. I wasn't able to attend the session, but the slides  look fascinating. I need to explore Andrew's writing some more.

So, using CTC sessions as my metric, corporate interest in Web 2.0 is growing rapidly. In my opinion, the popularity of Web 2.0 is the best thing to happen to the collaborative technologies marketplace in a long time. One of the largest benefits of this are the increasing recognition of the value of collaboration and the building of a user base familiar with the most popular Web 2.0 technologies. Clearly, vendors like Microsoft and IBM recognize this trend and are building these capabilities into their products to take advantage of it.

This is great news since proprietary interfaces have long been a big barrier to adoption. Microsoft's SharePoint is different from Lotus' Quickplace which is different from EMC's eRoom, etc. We are starting to see de-facto application interface and behavioral standards emerging that could make switching between solutions from different sources easier. Today rarely is a corporate worker trained in using a company's standard email program when they are hired. However, this is not the case with collaborative workspaces, for example. Every one of these systems is different.

Let's hope the enterprise Web 2.0 train stays on track and starts simplifying our work lives.

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