I run into a fair number of people who are skeptical about the actual business value of Web 2.0. Sure, they usually agree it's a terrific new movement in online software that encourages social collaboration, two-way use of the Web, services that are open and repurposable, Web-based applications, and more. But can you build and grow a real business with these ideas?
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.
As MashupCamp gets into full swing today, I thought I'd try my hand at projecting current trends forward and seeing how the mashup world might look in the near future. The fact is that the services and data available all over the Web, and inside our own organizations, are now just too tempting a target as significant new source material for our software efforts.
I believe the ongoing discussion here on ZDNet on the topic of in-house e-mail vs. outsourcing is missing some important points so I thought I'd chime in. David Berlind originally started the discussion with some speculation about Google's e-mail hosting service with Gmail. Phil Wainwright then jumped in with some useful information about the oft-misperceived TCO of e-mail as well as some decision points to use when deciding which approach to take.
It's hard to ignore the obvious contrast between the thriving and vibrant Web 2.0 software industry, rife with Ajax-powered web clients, and the too-often slow moving, ponderous Web services and SOA efforts in the mainstream IT community. Rich Internet Applications (RIAs) are getting lots of attention, turning heads with flashy graphics, immersive experiences, and roaming software and information.
Fellow ZDNet's blogger Richard MacManus wrote today about the release of Microsoft's Office Live into beta. A lot of people have been tracking this development because it seems to herald Microsoft's burgeoning seriousness about offering versions of its core products as hosted online services. The feeling being that if Microsoft puts its considerable muscle behind online business software, they just might be able to dominate this space as well. But of course, the biggest news about Office Live is that it isn't a port of its famed productivity suite to the online world.
One of the demonstrations I like to give to show the power of simple services is to use Iridesco's Suprglu to instantly wire together Web services into a new and useful service on the spot. This is the simplest possible mashup you can create but it does combine useful data from multiple sources into a single view. You can do it yourself: copy and paste a few feeds from a few sources of interest and you're off and running.
As the Web matures into a richly intertwined ecosystem of shared content and open services, what some call The Web As Platform, some innovative companies are beginning to offer potentially disruptive products that leverage the Web's growing "platformness". Increasing in popularity in particular are what some people call Ajax desktops, or personalized start pages.
With heavy, rigid, and too technical methods for weaving together systems and processes seemingly on their way out, it's sometimes easy to forget there are many inherent compexities in connecting systems to each other. But one of the promising concepts of Web 2.0 is the idea of small pieces, loosely joined.
One of the classic problems that enterprise integration efforts face is the provenance and accuracy of information aggregated from external sources. If the source information is wrong, how do you tell?
I was invited recently to a high-level enterprise architecture forum being conducted by Microsoft entitled SPARK. Being held the weekend before the increasingly buzz-generating MIX 06 conference, SPARK has the interesting and ambitious goal of creating a mapping between SOA, SaaS, and Web 2.0.