Web 2.0 is here, and how.
According to this eWEEK article, a just-released Forrester report predicts Web 2.0 spending will grow to a hot global $4.6 billion within five years.
The article notes that Forrester expects companies with 1,000 or more employees to spend $764 million this year on Web 2.0. Already, the research firm reports large corporations -- including General Motors, McDonalds and Wells Fargo -- extensively use Web 2.0 technology. Further, the report states that 56 percent of North American and European enterprises say Web 2.0 will be a priority this year.
Much of this spending will focus on internal-facing social networking tools -- but that's expected to change to more customer-facing Web 2.0 tech.
Forrester also offered some good news for IT departments -- well, good depending on how you look at it. If you like to oversee technology and you don't mind another major initiative on your plate, then it's good. If you were hoping Web 2.0 would shuffle some problems off your plate -- bad news for you.
Some believe -- and vendors certainly promote this idea -- that mashups will allow business users to build their own widgets and essentially perform their own integration without IT.
That's not going to happen, according to Forrester's report, which found that business users will depend on IT to bring Web 2.0 technologies into the enterprise.
That's good news -- particularly if you consider the long-term implications of giving business users more access and use of information at the same time you're making more and more corporate data and systems available to Web 2.0 (or enterprise 2.0, if you prefer) technologies.
Intelligent Enterprise explored the compliance, security and sheer management implications of these new technologies in "Holy Web 2.0 Herding Nightmare," on April 19. The article points out that ultimately, it will be up to IT to untangle any problems that result from using Web 2.0 technologies:
"Sadly, all IT gets out of the deal is a big fur ball as it struggles to organize corporate content run amok. The potential for exposure of sensitive information or theft of intellectual property runs high, as do concerns about noncompliance with corporate or third-party requirements as end users scatter sensitive information around the Internet. If the company gets tangled in litigation, data relevant to discovery requests may be lurking unknown on third-party servers, exposing the organization to financial or legal sanctions."
But despite the risk, the article also makes it clear that Web 2.0 tools are much preferable to e-mail as a collaboration tool. For one thing, many Enterprise 2.0 solutions include an audit trail that logs changes and the author of those changes whenever someone alters something on the site.
The article is an excellent resource for those thinking about adding Web 2.0 tools -- and a must-read for those whose companies have already deployed them. It discusses specific vendor solutions, with a particular eye toward the pros and cons of Sharepoint's Web 2.0 functionality.
As a side note, Intel has an created a really cool mashup maker for consumers that could have implications for businesses -- such as a new, fast way to deploy a portal. And there's a good chance it will give a heart attack to all those people who wanted to "warn" surfers they were leaving a site on external links.
It's a free browser extension that allows you to build mashups on the client instead of the server. Basically, it allows you to modify Web pages, combining information from different sources. A long time ago, I wrote about the need for a personal portal for end users -- well, this looks like it could be that very thing.
The beta works with Firefox 3 and Internet Explorer 7, though Intel warns you'll get better results with Firefox.