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Web 2.0 Changing Companies Inside Out

The buzz surrounding Web 2.0 seems to be getting louder by the minute and not just in the consumer space. Business Week has published an article titled, "Web 2.0 Has Corporate America Spinning" in which it discusses how corporate blogging, social networks, podcasting and wikis are changing companies. We agree with them and especially with John Hagel who is quoted in the article as saying, "There's a big cultural difference between the Web 2.0 people and the IT department."

There's nothing wrong with your IT department. It is critical to the success of your business and always will be. But at the same time, your IT folks may not be the best people to advise you on Web 2.0 and what you need to be doing about it. Web 2.0 is much more of a social phenomena than a technology one. It is more about customers, knowledge sharing and organizational development than about servers, platforms and computers.

More broadly speaking, Web 2.0 is fundamentally different to everything that has come before. It has changed the internet from being a publishing medium to a participatory one. People are less interested in finding information online as they are in finding and learning from each other. As the article points out, this has significant ramifications for Corporate America. Employees seek Web 2.0 experiences on their corporate intranets and employee portals. They want them to be participatory, informal, synchronous and more personal. Likewise, companies hoping to connect with customers will need to be willing to participate online even more.

So where do you start? Business Week has the best advice - begin by visiting Web 2.0 websites and experimenting yourself. Wondering which sites to visit? Sorry, we're not going to make it too easy for you.


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Hi Shiv,

Interesting points, but I don't think we should just treat our techies as just engineers, with no understanding of user experience. Over here it's often our interface developers who are most evangelical about Web 2.0 experiences, because they're amongst the early adopters, and so spot the trends before everyone else.

It's true that Web 2.0 isn't about technology, but there's no getting away from the fact that technology powers it. If Web 2.0 thinking is to be successful, there has to be a dialogue between everyone involved - creatives, designers, strategists, architects and developers. It's exciting stuff, and ideally everyone should be involved :)

I've been writing about Web 2.0 recently - you can read some of my thoughts on DNA's blog: http://blog.dna.co.uk

Thank you for your comments. You're right, Web 2.0 is a shared phenomenon however, and I do feel that it is more a business one than technology centric. Many of the technologies driving web 2.0 have been around for a while.

Still, this doesn't mean that technologists aren't critical to it. In fact, it leads to the next question - are universities in the US and Europe educating students to be multi-disciplinary in their thinking. Without the dialogue that you mention, there would be no web 2.0.

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