Gartner is talking up the influence of various, so-called Web 2.0 technologies on businesses. AJAX and mashups, in particular, are expected to reach maturity in less than two years, the Gartner report said. You can expect enterprise portals to start applying AJAX tricks and mashups to improve the user experience, catching up with Yahoo and others who are pioneering better ways to use screen real estate.
Also, social network analysis--collecting massive amounts of data from multiple sources, analyzing the data to identify relationships and mining it for new information to identify new target markets, for example--will reach maturity in two years. That is the dream of every business--probing the data in hopes of discovering a new source of revenue or to stop some profuse revenue bleeding. Of course, data collection can blow up in a company's face, such as AOL's latest violation of the unwritten privacy rules of the Internet. Social network analysis is going to be a huge area of activity, in terms of companies building better products to extract business intelligence from disparate data sources, but unless the privacy issues are addressed, there is a substantial risk of alienating users/customers, who are looking for the best customer "service," not a rapacious company prying into their Web trails without permission or preventing users from accessing and owning that same data (see Steve Gillmor on that issue).
For in-depth, smart analysis of the Web 2.0 in the enterprise trend, check out Dion Hinchcliffe's analysis in a recent posting on his ZDNet blog. Here's a clip:
There's no doubt that trying to envision how Web 2.0 changes traditional business models a priori is difficult. That might be because Web 2.0 offers a sort of inverted way of looking at the way we do things now. Web 2.0 frequently embodies the emergent and freeform instead of the predefined and structured. It's often bottom-up instead of command-and-control. It's self-service instead of being mediated. The list goes on. And all of them lead into the ways that organizations will likely to have to refocus their business strategies. Based on what we're seeing now, organizations need to make conscious and informed decisions on what aspects of Web 2.0 they believe will affect them in the next few years and then move this thinking into strategic action. But whatever is decided, it's not necessarily about what organizations could do on high, more importantly, it's about what organizations could let emerge if they employ the right Web 2.0 architectures.