A visitor walking the demo floor at the recent Enterprise 2.0 conference would find it hard to define what all these companies and product offerings have in common and what qualifies them to be categorized as Enterprise 2.0 solution providers.
While vendors of organizational social networks are a clear fit, what is common to advanced search vendors, enterprise mashup providers, Content Management vendors and video broadcasting solutions?
It seems that the common thread is a shared vision of the future enterprise as a social, open and collaborative place where data, content, knowledge and expertise are more easily available and where productivity results from enhanced collaboration and information sharing.
Finding information and data across silos and systems is still the holy grail of today’s information systems. Our information workers are dependent on their access to information but the ever growing amount and complexity of the data makes it harder and harder.
Most basic Enterprise 2.0 products cover the first 4 levels. They include a basic search for content within the network, provide tools for creating new content, sharing, and collaboration using technologies like discussions, wiki’s, blogs, RSS, Public Profiles, and groups.
The fifth level offers a unique opportunity to leverage the interactions, conversations and links to add context and intelligence. By using Tags or by auto detection of terms and traffic patterns, some of the solutions can help create a layer of relationships and meaning on top of the content and link together disparate pieces of content, data and people for a complete picture.
The 6th level in our stack consists of tools that try to bring together and connect data from disparate systems and source and allow the user to connect them and create custom applications and views on demand. By using open standards and web services, these tools called Mashups attempt to simplify our search for information across multiple systems by allowing us to pull from them without creating a separate datamart as the baseline for data and correlation.
At the final level, we would all like to have a toolset that will allow us to discover ideas, bring important knowledge to our attention, alert us in real time to activities and trends we should be watching, feed us in real time information that is relevant to the tasks we are performing. No tools in this category yet but check again in a few months…
The ROI and game changing benefits of Enterprise web 2.0 internal implementations can go well beyond important outcomes like of employee involvement, morale and collaboration. It would come from harnessing the intelligence, context and knowledge within the organization (data, content and people) and outside sources to increase productivity, shorten development lifecycles, enhnace relationships make better decisions and inspire innovation.