Web 2.0: Emperor's new clothes?

Web 2.0 - Emperor's new clothes?
Written by Steven Deare, Contributor

Commonwealth Bank CIO Michael Harte this week publicly pondered popular Web technologies most IT managers must be looking at and asking "how can these make/save me money?"

Harte showed members of the Committee for Economic Development of Australia in Sydney he was well-aware of new-fangled Web technologies from Google, YouTube and the like, but conceded they posed "a large conundrum" for executives like himself.

Michael Harte, Commonwealth Bank CIO

"[The innovative] technologies out there look alluring or downright fancy but it's pretty hard to exploit those from an enterprise point of view.

"The customers want it because they see it on TV or they use it on their iPods," Harte said, but conceded that in comparison, banking sites generally looked pretty dull.

Harte's view seemed to be that while some of these Web 2.0 sites looked impressive and were popular with consumers, the bank couldn't find a business case for them at the moment.

That's not to say he doesn't respect them. Harte showed a healthy respect for the money being made -- outlining YouTube's billion dollar sale to Google, how MTV was selling avatars through the Second Life virtual world, and the huge potential of Web TV software Joost from trailblazers Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis, both co-founders of Kazaa.

But while he recognised the earnings potential and benefits of collaboration technologies and social networking, Harte's jury seemed out on their place in the enterprise.

Only time would tell, he concluded.

"Some of those very appealing new technologies might only be a distraction, and Web 2.0 may be nothing more than the emperor's new clothes," he said.

Where do you stand? Is there no place for Web 2.0 technology in enterprise IT, or have we just not found it yet? E-mail me at tips@zdnet.com.au or talkback below.

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