The continued aftershocks from the financial liquidity crisis which started in August 2007 continue to be felt this weekend, with venerable institution Lehman Brothers descending into insolvency, Merrill Lynch being absorbed into Bank of America and AIG seeking to raise cash.
This is clearly a very bad economic situation and will continue to have a major impact on international business in the coming months if not years.
Obviously this is not a good thing. However in the context of influencing IT departments around the world this may well be a harbinger of accelerated future strategic shifts: for cash strapped companies striving to retain their competitiveness, open source and agile development may have just popped into a new dimension of greatly increased credibility.
The uneasy balance between costly legacy infrastructure and the surging informal usage of enterprise 2.0 applications is likely to be scrutinized in much greater detail and with greater interest by senior management of those enterprises interested in maximizing their efficiency.
Hard questions at an executive level are already being asked about huge IT budgets, and the viability of outsourcing legacy infrastructure maintenance. The increased cost of maintenance agreements with enterprise application software vendors are also under scrutiny in boardrooms worldwide.
IT departments which are about to take a major budget haircut but are still expected to deliver more with less may well unexpectedly now find allies among people they have formerly had an adversarial relationship with: those who are attempting to formalize the ad hoc usage of Enterprise 2.0 tools and technologies.
This sea change is contingent on credible adoption policies. The strategy and tactics around enterprise 2.0 applications usage still tends to evolve at a departmental or divisional level, hitting its head on the ceiling as it attempts to outgrow the silo it was born in.
While simultaneous multiple silo grassroots adoption can be terrific for rapid uptake and adoption of enterprise 2.0 by collaborators, it opens up a whole new set of issues and longer term challenges around standardization of management policies across units.
This next generation of companywide synergy between agile systems will be key to a coherent management structure that considers enterprise 2.0 applications to be at the heart of global business efficiency rather than just multiple support tool adjuncts on the periphery.
The coming strategic collaboration planning in many cases will be around doing more with less.
This is a golden opportunity for tools currently considered to be in the supporting cast to take center stage as the stars of next generation infrastructure.