What is Web 2.0

These are my notes on a web” seminar that had one of the Oracle VPs and a professor from Harvard discussion discussion Web 2.0

Q: What is the difference between Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0.

A: They are both the same. We have web based communities to facilitate creativity, collaboration, and sharing. Enterprise 2.0 is inside the walls of a corporation, Web 2.0 is openly shared on the internet.

One of the trends that we are seeing is that technology remains the best lever for getting more value from employees making them more productive and sharing of ideas or procedures.

The key impact of Enterprise 2.0 is that it allows for innovation, transformation, and globalization. It becomes easier to find out who is working on what and exposes remote groups on new ways of looking at things and sharing information quicker. It allows us to keep tied to people that we interact with on an infrequent basis. The concept is the “strength of weak ties”. These relationships are ways of getting a net effect on information.

There is a rumor that information gets corrupted in a wiki (aka Wikipedia). Since Enterprise 2.0 actually logs changes and who makes the change, there is very little mis-information and more good information tends to get out. This also allows the corporate vision or corporate direction to come to the top and be expressed in a wiki or a blog.

Mashups are becoming more and more popular. It allows information to be shared with context. For example, if you have a training scheduled at a location, you can recommend hotels, required training material, a map of the facilities, and the product page. This allows people to come to the training prepared and on time.

Different class of users can be defined. This is easy to manage and maintain. You can allow people to contribute, edit, and view information. There are always different pools of informaiton and corporate security will allow or disallow access to this data.

One of the challenges is bridging the structured and unstructured information. Much of the unstructured information exists in email, IM, blogs, and wikis. Managed information exists in ERP, SCM, and eProcurement systems. How do you bridge between these systems? An example is setting a budget. Most of the discussion of a budget happens in an unstructured way but the final results end up in a structured system. The main problem is that the next year, the context and flow of the decision process is lost and not done in the same way. It makes it a little more difficult to improve the quality and processes if you don’t record and track this information. Typically this is done by sharing a word document and ending up with multiple versions of the document and does not show who changed something or why they changed it.

The early adopters that move into this space are high tech companies that work in dynamic environments. They also have a younger workforce who are not affraid to play with new technologies. There are some financial services, professional services firms, and some brick and mortar companies. These projects start with a grass roots project that has a flexible leadership that is willing to try new approaches. An example would be an HR director trying to create an employee handbook. They might recommend a wiki and have different groups or departments create a wiki to start the process.

Some examples of companies doing this:

US Government – intelligence community. It allows all of the agencies to share information and secure who sees what.

How to get started? Look at some of the external sites that exist. flickr, facebook, second life, reddit, wikipedia, digg. Look at www.web2journal.com/read/413654.htm to explore the foundation/framework behind these services. Look at Oracle 11g Technical Preview 3.