Time to Encourage Web 2.0?

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In a recent interview with JotSpot co-founder and CEO Joe Kraus, we went a little beyond our normal focus on data and process integration and uncovered some perspectives that may have huge implications for the enterprise.


To take a step back, JotSpot's product offering is a corporate wiki. A wiki, as almost everyone now knows due to Wikipedia, is a free-form text-based database where anyone can edit anyone else's entries.


In early 2005, this had to be spelled out, and the idea that corporate wikis could work was suspect to say the least. Not anymore. JotSpot, for example, can be found in eBay, Symantec and Oxford University Press. This fact is certainly a proof point for the recent strong intimation by Ron Schmelzer of ZapThink that Web 2.0 has a place in the enterprise.


Kraus's most interesting comment about JotSpot was about the cost of taking it to market -- around $100,000, as opposed to the $3 million it cost for Excite, the company he previously founded. What does that have to do with the enterprise? Plenty. Many of the enablers of today's low cost of entry for start-ups -- cheap hardware, open source software and access to offshore labor -- are as available to enterprise IT departments as they are to college drop-outs in garages (or successful entrepreneurs like Kraus).


Instead of fighting rogue applications -- which are getting pretty easy and cheap to assemble these days -- IT leaders should begin to consider finding ways to support them and, yes, toss in a little centralized control in the process.