At the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco, I moderated a panel on Web 2.0 in the enterprise (also known as Enterprise 2.0) with Ross Mayfield, CEO of SocialText; Matthew Glotzbach, product management director of Google Enterprise; and Satish Dharmaraj, CEO of Zimbra. We discussed the impact of wikis, Web apps, blogs, search and other facets of what is considered Web 2.0 on enterprises.
It's a major cultural shift for organizations governed by centralized command and control to allow usage of bottom up, lightweight, less costly, distributed, collaborative Web tools that offer more flexibility and less rigid work flows. Over time, the new generation coming into the workforce, who have grown up digitally, will force that cultural shift. Organizations that fail to embrace Enterprise 2.0 and facilitate it will get left behind by competitors who do.
What strikes me as the most important facet of Web 2.0/Enterprise 2.0 is applying collective intelligence--the wisdom of employees, partners and customers--to enterprises. This is the social networking piece, using corporate data, such as employee and customer profiles and directories, and user generated data--tags, voting, ranking, comments, feeds--to make connections, such as identifying people within a company with a particular expertise or rapidly forming ad hoc groups with the right set of people to solve a problem or even connecting people within a company or as part of a federated network who have shared interests.