Best Web 2.0 Advice: Make Sure It Solves a Business Problem


When evaluating Web 2.0 technologies, most companies tend to focus on security or control. But instead of asking themselves questions like "Could this expose sensitive data?" or "Will our IT department flat-out refuse to support it?" maybe what they should really be asking is, "Will this solve a business problem or create a new business opportunity?"


D'uh, right? Yet as I wrote back in November, folks like Harvard Business School's Andrew McAfee have pointed out that many companies appear more interested in maintaining the status quo than in adopting technologies that may require them to adjust -- or at least to examine -- many of their longstanding business practices. McAfee took particular offense at an "Impact Assessment" table included in an InformationWeek article that gave equal weight to Web 2.0's impact on the IT organization, the business organization and business competitiveness. It's the old story of companies somehow losing sight of the fact that IT's purpose is to enable business, and instead treating IT as if the inverse is true.


I found a post on socialwrite.com that sums this up nicely. It's written more for Web 2.0 entrepreneurs than potential Web 2.0 customers, thus the title Enterprise 2.0: Where the f$#@ is my market? (And it substitutes the term Enterprise 2.0 for Web 2.o, which is a whole other discussion, as this post on the FASTforward Blog proves.) But it offers some great advice for those considering Web 2.0 technologies. Namely:

What specific problems in your organization could benefit from a blog-based approach, or under what circumstances would a wiki solve a real headache. What I am saying is: Turn off the noise and get down to work. Don't trumpet Enterprise 2.0, talk about those real problems. When you find or solve a problem then you should talk about it not in terms of Enterprise 2.0, but in terms of an agile, low-cost approach. This makes sense to a lot more people.