Welcome to the Enterprise Web 2.0

The convergence of Web 2.0, software services, SOA and enterprise computing is gathering pace, but overcoming the obstacles will take a lot of knowledge sharing.
Written by Phil Wainewright, Contributor on

It's difficult and dangerous to ignore an idea that has started to gain the momentum and velocity of a speeding express train. For the past few months I've been writing about something I've called Web 3.0 — a convergence of mashups, on-demand applications and service-oriented architectures with enterprise computing.

This week the crashing sound of that convergence has become overwhelming here on ZDNet's family of bloggers.Bringing these answers together will mean breaking down some hefty barriers First Joe McKendrick in his SOA blog came up with the nifty phrase, mashups as a service (MaaS). Then Dion Hinchcliffe, probably the most inspired writer on this topic, joined the ZDNet blogging community with a new Enterprise Web 2.0 blog, dedicated to commenting on the "fundamental shift in software and user experience" brought on by the convergence of Web 2.0 with enterprise computing. Welcome, Dion.

It seems the notion of enterprise mashups has taken hold just in the past few weeks. Now Dion sounds an interesting note in his first posting here on ZDNet:

"... just about any examination of the vibrant, integrated service ecosystem of the Web invariably makes SOA and EAI appear far too rigid and slow-moving in comparison. Once you see a much better way to do something, you can't wait to start."

You know what this reminds me of? Back in the early days of Web 1.0, when enterprise software vendors pursued tortuous roadmaps to 'web-enable' their existing catalogs of applications, CEOs started to ask, "Why is it so hard to get hold of information about how my company is running when my teenage daughter can instantly bring up the answers she needs for her homework just by tapping queries into a search engine?"

How long is it going to be before CEOs start asking the same question, not about information this time, but about functionality? "Why does my billion-dollar organisation take six months to change a business process or implement a new capability when my sixteen-year-old son can set up a new business on the Web in a few hours?"

The obstacles, of course, are factors like security, reliability, scalability and commercial accountability — the factors that represent the difference between Web 2.0 as it now stands and the vision of what I still want to call Web 3.0 as it needs to be to win the confidence of enterprise users. What's fascinating is that the answers to overcoming these obstacles are all there, but some of them are rooted in the practical experiences learned over the past few years in the on-demand space, some of them are emerging among early adopters of SOA, and others lurk within the annals of enterprise computing. Bringing them together will mean breaking down some hefty barriers.

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