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.
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.
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?
I write often here about the future of software and the Web; two subjects growing ever more inextricably linked as the Internet evolves and as our expectations and habits evolve along with it. While the Web now offers a level of user interface diversity that's almost beyond comprehension, the edge cases of even our common experiences continue to widen. Some of us have started noticing that our Web experiences have become spread across two well-defined extremes, and not necessarily in a bad way.
While surely inevitable, investors have taken a recent interest in capitalizing on the social network phenomenon, as represented today by the likes of online social giants MySpace and Facebook. MySpace alone has been absorbing the daily attentions of tens of millions of young people over the last year, and is growing at a truly staggering rate. Facebook actually just launched in January and is already one of the leading social networking sites.
I read with interest the recent CNet interview with SAP CEO Henning Kagermann where he was asked more questions about on-demand software and social software than not. Kagermann isn't overly impressed with the on-demand model and crisply defends what SAP, one of the largest software companies in the world, is doing with their hybrid model. He makes the point that their customers run their core businesses on SAP and would be out of business if their SAP implementation goes down.
One premise of Enterprise Web 2.0 is that Web-based software is beginning to credibly encroach on many solution areas that traditional software previously addressed. According to proponents, this maturing method of online software delivery provides more usability, convenience, and value. The flexibility, mobility, and sheer connectedness of Web software is indeed increasingly hard to ignore. And many of us, consciously or not, are doing more and more of our daily work in the browser, either using applications hosted on the Web, or inside our organizations using Web technology.