Enterprises Should Harness Web 2.0 Tools, But Carefully

Carl Weinschenk

Though it's only part of a larger business wrap up, this BusinessWeek report on panelists' take on entrepreneurial uses Web 2.0 is interesting. The panel, which included representatives of Wetpaint, Technorati and Facebook, says that businesses should define their Web 2.0 goals, that old marketing techniques should not be abandoned, and that businesses should "go beyond starting a conversation with customers" on Web 2.0-based sites.


It seems that the use of Web 2.0 tools by business is a hot topic.


This InfoWorld piece, which may set a record for the use of acronyms, reported on a webcast that was hosted by Nexaweb. The company used the occasion to announce a partnership with Kapow Technologies. Under the agreement, Kapow will help companies deploy Nexaweb's mashup server. The story details the deal, which is part and parcel of the message of the webcast (or, of course, the announcement wouldn't have been made there). The bottom line is that a key enabler of success is creation of lightweight mashup applications that automate business process. Beyond the acronyms and cutting-edge lingo, the webcast and the Nexaweb/Kapow deal suggest that the companies that best reposition Web 2.0 tools originally developed for consumer and entertainment purposes will thrive.


This CXOtoday commentary focuses on the use of Web 2.0 tools for business. He calls this Enterprises Web2.0 and, less awkwardly, Enterprise 2.0. These tools include Rich Internet Architectures, sharing and tagging for business. In a point that is a bit less specific but perhaps even more illusory, the writer suggests that Enterprise 2.0's strength is its participatory nature:

Another aspect of Web2.0 is that it assures to put users in the middle of the Web rather than on fringes.

Indeed, most people think of the use of Web 2.0 tools in business as a way to entice and involve customers and prospects. This certainly is true. Perhaps an overlooked use, however, is positioning these potent tools for managing internal business knowledge.


This post at the Financial Standard says that Web 2.0 "is by its nature helter skelter," but counsels companies not to see that as a threat. Indeed, Web 2.0, he says, is the equivalent of a permanent focus group -- and one that is more honest than those that cost a lot of money to set up. The trick is to use all the feedback constructively. The poster packs a lot into the last sentence. He says that keys are to focus on the message and not the technology, to partner, to continually monitor and not to "misjudge" return on investment.


How this all is happening is still rather amorphous. This Social Glass link is only one slide, but it provides a good graphical representation of the nexus of Web 2.0 tools and the way in which they relate to corporate tasks. On one side of the image are "enterprise search," "social bookmarking" and "knowledge marketplace." They are connected to "blogs," "wikis," "social networking" and "enterprise mashups." The links -- which go in both directions -- are "search," "categorize" and "rank." The idea, then, is that the tasks or corporate assets on the left are interactively accessed and managed by the tools on the right. All these elements sit behind a "consolidated user interface."


Clearly, the tools developed for Web 2.0 have great potential in the enterprise. That potential is beginning to be realized. Companies that throw up there hands and say it all is too confusing now will find themselves playing catchup later.

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