It's hard to talk to people about Google's Wave without enduring a certain amount of eye-rolling. So I take comfort in seeing that Dan Woods of Evolved Technologies is taking it seriously.Woods is no starry-eyed cheerleader for Web 2.0, and his enthusiasm for collaboration technologies in the enterprise is tempered by a realistic approach to the strictures of corporate organizations, from the IT department itself to the business units that are its customers.
That's why I pay attention when Woods gives a platform to someone to talk about Web 2.0 in the enterprise, particularly when the person in question is talking about Google Wave.
By way of background, I saw Woods speak at an EMC-sponsored event earlier this summer, where he talked about "collaboration for grown-ups."
He wasn't being pejorative, but simply making the point that, for Enterprise 2.0-type collaboration to succeed, "we must do things differently when we are working than when we are collaborating as individuals and consumers."
His argument isn't that Enterprise 2.0 isn't a good idea -- just that it has to address a different set of issues than Web 2.0 does for individuals, like security and productivity.
But as he also put it, "We can't say, 'well, the future generations will use collaboration tools when they take over and we'll wait for that.'"
Woods just published a Q&A with Tom Mornini, chief technology officer and founder of Ruby on Rails developer shop Engine Yard, who described Google Wave as a "new way to build distributed applications… [that] will open the door to an explosion of innovation."
All well and good, but I'm sure that what caught Woods' eye most was Mornini's description of workflow, versioning and security features that could make Wave as viable from a risk management perspective as it is a potential bonanza of productivity enhancement.
Google started allowing developers like Mornini to tinker with Wave earlier this summer, and is rolling it out to a limited number of Google Apps customers and educational institutions later this month. Google said it won't make Wave available generally until early 2010, but there is sure to be more information about it before long.
Will it be all that and a bag of chips? Here's hoping, because as our own Bob Evans recently noted, we've all got to start being more productive, and fast.