Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The business value of Web 2.0

Is it possible for business users to design their own applications? Are Web 2.0 methods and mashups ready for the rigors of enterprise-scale computing?

In recent years, many organizations have become acquainted with the power and agility of service-oriented architecture (SOA), in which enterprise applications are abstracted as flexible, standardized and componentized services available to other systems or applications. Now, as organizations become more service enabled, they are recognizing that a new generation of approaches – often referred to as either “Web 2.0” or “Enterprise 2.0” – can now extend this flexibility and agility seen on the back end to the front end.

Business trends come and go, but innovation never goes out of style. And in today’s fast-evolving business world, if you can’t get a jump on—or at least keep up with—the competition, then you’re in trouble. Ideas and collaboration are the fuel for innovation. And organizations that can tap into and quickly leverage the collective creativity of their employees and customers have greater potential to disrupt the status quo and leapfrog the competition.

In fact, this is exactly what leading companies in many industries and new breeds of user-driven, Web-based, not-for-profit user communities have already done. They’re early adopters of Web 2.0 philosophies and approaches.

Obviously, these organizations aren’t using an Internet replacement or a single groundbreaking new technology. Rather, they’ve created business approaches using a set of philosophies and technologies, known as Web 2.0, to foster innovation and responsiveness to customer and marketplace trends and to simplify communication and collaboration among members of the extended value chain. Web 2.0 approaches can enable organizations to create community value by tapping the collective knowledge of extended teams. And they can enable large companies to more efficiently and effectively market to small customer segments that have specific interests or requirements. Without Web 2.0 approaches, cost constraints may force these companies to broaden their marketing message to appeal to the widest possible audience.

What’s more, Web 2.0 technologies are based on simpler programming models that can help accelerate time to market by improving the usability of enterprise assets. Web 2.0 is about using the Internet creatively, as a platform to foster innovation, speed and simplicity. It’s not about using the Internet to provide isolated information silos designed primarily for posting or researching information, and for completing transactions.


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