Peter Rip of Leapfrog Ventures did a really good take recently on what Web 2.0 will look like in the enterprise. I bring your attention to it because it brings out a few essential points and almost makes a few others I think are still missing in the larger industry conversation about Web 2.0 and its increasing push into the enterprise.
Enterprise Web 2.0
Dion Hinchcliffe on leveraging the convergence of IT and the next generation of the Web.
Dion Hinchcliffe is an expert in information technology, business strategy, and next-generation enterprises.
Interesting information from Gartner's recent Symposium/ITxpo about the future of IT continues to be the subject discussion in the blogosphere. While I'm far from being an unabashed Gartner fan, I will admit they tend to capture of the pulse of the IT business better than almost anybody these days. Their most recent prescription for curing IT budget woes (which have been relatively flat for four years running) describes nine major initiatives that could alleviate this situation. And it is also one of their more interesting information releases in recent memory.
The REST vs. SOAP debate can seem like an esoteric discussion about Web services, but it's not. REST puts the Web back into Web services by taking what's been so successful with the fundamental protocol of the Web, namely HTTP, and making it into a seemingly ideal Web services architecture. This model has been called Web-Oriented Architecture in certain quarters, and the label does seem to fit. REST, and it's little brother XML over HTTP, have increasingly gathered mindshare lately by sheer Darwinian competition.
I was in San Francisco last week at JavaOne at the same time that Gartner's IT/Symposium was taking place, though I was unable to attend Gartner's event. I was however on a JavaOne panel that discussed Ajax, SOA, and Web 2.0, the convergence of the latter two in particular which is a topic of special interest to me.
The idea of reductionism holds that the nature of complex things can always be reduced to simpler, more fundamental ideas. In contrast, Tim O'Reilly's now-famous meme-map of Web 2.0 is a terrific piece of largely holistic analysis. Holisim, which is the opposite of reductionism, says that the properties of any given system cannot be determined by the mere sum of its parts. In a small but important way, this captures an essential aspect of the debates that swirl around Web 2.0 and the next generation of the Web in general.
I've been spending a lot of time lately looking at solutions for automated business processes that are based on the online, low-barrier, and highly collaborative worlds of SaaS and Web 2.0. Primarily, this is part of my exploration of using Web 2.0 in the enterprise, sometimes called Enterprise 2.0, but which we call Enterprise Web 2.0 here.
As part of my recent exploration of developing strategies for using Web 2.0 in the enterprise, I find that time and again the lowly wiki presents itself as the most likely target for the initial adoption in the enterprise. For one thing, almost everyone has heard of a wiki, that Web page that anyone authorized to can edit at the push of a button, all without knowing even a smidgen of HTML.
As I wrote about early this week, I'm going to start looking at the context that needs to be added to Web 2.0 software for it to be more appropriate for the enterprise. Of course, that means the premise here is that many of the significant trends on the Web – the continued rampant growth of blogs, the increasingly widespread use of wikis, and even the social networking phenomenons like MySpace and Facebook – are both possible and desirable to replicate in the enterprise. Why do we believe this? For one thing, consumer Web 2.0 focuses on radical ease-of-use, or it wouldn't achieve the high level of adoption it has in many cases.
With the all the talk recently about Web 2.0 and the enterprise, particularly around SOA, I find that's its always good to point to specific examples to bring all the pontificating down to earth. Along this line of thought, while I was catching up with the tail ends of the conversation today, I came across these excellent points by Barry Briggs...
Noted business and IT forward-thinker John Hagel wrote a detailed piece yesterday about what he calls the "highly dysfunctional gap" between SOA and Web 2.0. And it's true, there are few worlds in the IT industry that seem more opposite from each other, yet are more strangely intertwined, than SOA and Web 2.0. What will happen?