Web 2.0, Sea Changes and the Enterprise: Page 2

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4) RSS filters can be used to fine tune information flows of all kinds to employees, customers, suppliers and partners. These custom news feeds can leverage information in almost effortless ways. I love the fact that we tell them what to do and they just do it. (Does anyone remember PointCast?)

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5) Mash-up technology makes it easier to develop applications that solve specific problems – if only temporarily. Put some end-users in a room full of APIs and watch what happens. Suddenly it’s possible to combine incompatible pieces into coherent wholes with the complements of companies that understand the value of sharing (for profit, of course).

6) Crowdsourcing can be used to extend the enterprise via the Web and leverage the expertise of lots of professionals on to corporate problems. If it’s good enough for Procter and Gamble and Dupont it should be good enough for everyone. Got some tough R&D problems? Post them on the Web. The crowdsourcing model will change corporate problem-solving – once everyone gets over the fear of taking gifts from strangers.

7) Service-oriented architecture is the mother of Web 2.0 technologies. The whole notion of mix-and-match with help from strangers tethered to each other on the Web is a fundamental change in the way we think about software design, development and delivery. SOA is actually a decentralizing force that will enable companies to solve computational and display problems much faster than they ever did in the past. What will it be like when we can point to glue and functionality and have them assemble themselves into solutions?

Look, I grew out of the hype culture a while ago, but I must admit that the things happening now clearly challenge the industry’s fundamentals – at least the fundamentals that have managed IT for decades. The good news is that there are legions of Web 2.0 devotees that will accelerate the changes occurring now. The bad news is that for every two steps we take forward we’ll take one backwards because change always has as many enemies as it has champions.

Ignore Web 1.0 Luddites and focus squarely on Web 3.0 while you happily exploit Web 2.0 tools, technologies and perspectives. In less than a decade we’ll look back on these days as the beginning of the next new thing, a time when collaboration redefined itself right in front of our screens.

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