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How enterprises are winning with web 2.0

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Jeff Hammond’s theme for this presentation is that as enterprise experiment with web 2.0 some successful adoption patterns are emerging. There are three ways to look at web 2.0:

  1. Enabling technologies
    Flex, Air, Silverlight, XML, Ajax, cloud computing
  2. Core applications
    Blogs, wikis, social networks, tagging, rss, mashups built on these core technologies
  3. Behavior shifts
    Information workplaces, social computing, dynamic business applications, tech populism using these applications

He also identified 5 types of web 2.0 enterprises – web aggregators, social networks, business networks (priceline, amazon.com, eBay), SaaS for enterprises (salesforce.com, RightNow) and Brand Servants (Coke music). Plus of course there are enterprises using these technologies inside, primarily on high change, low risk processes like onboarding, team collaboration etc.

Patterns are common in architecture, writing, creative thought and computer science (MVC, adaptor design pattern, portfolio analysis pattern). Jeff has 7 patterns for web 2.0 that solve recurring problems designed to create a common vocabulary and provide a starting point for further design.

  1. Client-Server replacement
    Out of date rich client applications that can be rewritten using Rich Internet Application (RIA) frameworks to reduce maintenance costs, ease deployment. However it does require investments in new technologies and thinking about RIA security.
  2. Widget
    Use RIA or RSS to syndicate content to customers either on the web, in a social network or on their desktop. Increases click through rates and increased visibility but risks brand diffusion and expense of porting to multiple widget platforms. There are aggregator widgets (google), portable widgets (widgetbox), social widgets, desktop widget engines (Apple, Google Desktop), RIA widgets (AIR, Silverlight) and some mobile widgets.
  3. Dashboard
    Using RIA framework or a mashup to aggregate multiple information services into a one page balanced scorecard. Improved visibility, easy to aggregate and easy for users to customize. Not, however, good for CRUD or process execution.
  4. Expand Self Service
    Expand web self-service options through a combination of self-help (forums, social networking), RIA and wikis etc. Lower costs as users help each other though it does bring in possibly disgruntled users and there may be security issues with user generated content.
  5. Location services
    Use SaaS services like Google or Yahoo Maps to add location context where it is helpful. This adds value but really requires mobile support to be truly useful.
  6. Executive Communications
    Using blogs and RSS to help push executive visibility and corporate branding. Reduces email traffic and may be re-syndicated using RSS and creates an opportunity for dialog through comments etc.
  7. Affinity
    Using social networking to create affinity groups either internal among employees or customers. Improved morale through support groups that become self-supporting. It can create censorship and freedom of association issues.

Companies using these patterns have reduced costs and helps “fast followers” keep up with the “first movers”. These simple patterns are good to get started, help clarify web 2.0 terminology and hype and they start to bridge the gap with users. Pick patterns and projects based on the kind of web 2.0 role you see yourself filling and the current technologies you are using.

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