Taking Web 2.0 into the enterprise, and its effects on IT

What do you get when you cross Web 2.0 with IT? Sometimes you get less IT....

The TechBizWatch blog has a good article on Web 2.0 and the enterprise. It's easy to gawk at the Web 2.0 consumer revolution, but it has been harder to sort out its near-term influence on enterprise software.

At my own company, Alfresco, we spend a lot of time figuring out the best ways to bring Web 2.0 (architecture of participation, an emphasis on data, etc.) to our enterprise customers. It's not easy.

Forget outsourcing. the real threat to IT pros could be Web 2.0. While there's a lot of hype and hubris surrounding wikis, mashups, and social networking, there's also a lot of real innovation - much of it coming from increasingly tech-savvy business users, not the IT department.

"We've cut IT staff by 20%, and we're providing a whole lot more in terms of IT services," says Ken Harris, CIO at nutritional products manufacturer Shaklee....Now, Shaklee gets its ERP from Workday and search from Visual Sciences, and it's looking at other IT functions that software as a service can replace.

So is Web 2.0 simply a reason to fire IT? Not at all. As the article goes on to mention, it can actually be used to offload some of the grunt work from IT's back, letting it focus on more critical tasks. It's a bit like open-source development in that way: the heavy lifting is still done by the core development team, but only because the "light" lifting (bug reports and fixes, etc.) comes from the community.

It's an interesting article. Take a look.

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About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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