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Bridging the gap between Web 1.0 and Web 2.0 in the Enterprise

bridging the gapI've been reading and seeing more and more Web 2.0 information (hype?) and thinking about the hurdles it will take to get the enterprise and general public to buy in more. The techno-geeks have long embraced it and now there is a litany of 2.0 suffixes everywhere. This got me to thinking about how major leaps in technology are actually executed and adopted. In general adoption rates for leaps in technology seems pretty low at the enterprise level--unless there is an intermediate step that can be taken that bridges that gap.

Take the typical fossil-fuel driven automobile. Long ago, visionaries predicted that everyone would drive electric cars. What happened? Almost nobody is driving electric cars, and those that do are doing so primarily in experimental or subsidized vehicles. Although I don't underestimate the political strength of the petroleum industry, the gap between the traditional car and the electric car has been too large for the average car consumer or manufacturer. Status quo prevailed for decades. Along comes the hybrid vehicle, which still burns gasoline but uses an electric drivetrain with regenerative braking. It is a transitional vehicle that is bridging the gap to electric vehicles for the masses. More interesting is what you could call, "Hybrid 2.0", or plug in hybrids. This technology was driven by clever consumers, like a youTube for auto making. Now the enterprise is starting to take notice as smaller companies are being created to retrofit existing hybrids with the technology. Check out calcars.org to learn more about plug in hybrids. The group that makes the first transitional vehicle for the masses will have more probability of success than the group that makes electric vehicles for the few.

I would apply this same analogy to Web 2.0, particularly the user generated content side. To really appeal to the enterprise, there needs to be more Web 1.5 - Web 1.9 if people are really serious about getting more buy in from the enterprise market, where many organizations are shy to embrace grass roots content publishing models and other Web 2.0 concepts. I think the key for getting us to Web 2.0 is by adding Web 2.0 features to existing Web 1.0 applications. I attended a demo of ConnectBeam the other day. They offer a social bookmarking tool for the enterprise. During the demo, it was clear this was a very powerful and useful tool, but how do you convince an existing user base to try totally new ways of doing things? One feature they had that was pretty cool was to overlay their technology to existing intranet search results. I think this additive approach has a greater chance of success than purely alternative models (e.g., instead, go here and do it this new/different way).

If we're serious about getting Web 2.0 into the enterprise, we need to build a passable bridge from Web 1.0.

Comments

Brian, I agree. The enterprises that I speak with regularly are all looking for tangible, economic reasons to allow and open their internal security paramters for the enhancements that Web 2.0 technology provides. Currently, there are only a few companies that are offering solutions in the commercial sector to provide the bridge that you mentioned. Most senior level executives are taking a wait and see approach especially around intellectual property content, CRM data, etc.

Saw this, thought of you..


Twelve tips for gaining adoption

Also, although for an external audience, you may find interesting:

What do do when your community doesn't want to share

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