IT Scene and Changing Trends from an Indian Perspective

Udayan Banerjee

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Why Web 2.0 Won't Work Inside Enterprise

I am writing this post with the hope that you will prove me wrong

I am writing this post with the hope that you will prove me wrong – you will point out all the fallacies in my argument. These are the collections of views that I have come across, on why web 2.0 concepts and tools are not much of use inside an enterprise.

Incompatibility – Structured approach in enterprise vs. Self-organizing approach in web 2.0
There are fundamental differences between how an organization works and the basic principles of web 2.0. Every organization has a clearly defined hierarchy. Goal setting and responsibility allocation is normally top down. Most activity has a clearly defined deadline.

In web 2.0 all these are suppose to happen in a voluntary – self organizing manner. It is not clear how these two mechanisms can coexist?

Web 2.0 hype – Solution in search of a problem
Any technology enthusiast will naturally be excited about wiki, blog, social networking etc. As a result, the first question that gets asked is “what Web 2.0 tools can we use within the enterprise”? This is followed by the question “where can we apply these tools”?

This is the wrong way of approaching any problem. The right way is to start with a business problem and search for the best way to solve that problem. The search may lead to specific web 2.0 technology or it may lead to some other solution which is better than using any web 2.0 tools.

However, in most organizations, the starting point is technology to be followed by a search for problem. If a suitable problem is not found then something is invented.

Small size of community
All web 2.0 usage statistics indicates that only a small portion of any community becomes an active contributor. Others are only passive reader and the ratio is typically 1:100. To make any of these initiatives successful, significant number of people has to contribute. (See this interesting article – New Twitter Research: Men Follow Men and Nobody Tweets)

To get a significant number of contributors, one of the two thinks has to happen. The first possibility is to select a subject or an area where there is a large community already in existence within the enterprise. Such situation is not very common.

The other possibility of success is when the size of the enterprise is really large, may be more than 100,000 people. So, for a typical organization, the chance of success of web 2.0 initiative becomes very low.

Limiting impact of the organization boundary
Typical social networking technologies work well in a social situation. It is about establishing link between people you know and expanding the chain through existing links. It is about expanding the horizon.

Therefore, the whole process will lose its effectiveness if it is bound by the enterprise boundary.

Conflicting need – Security restriction vs. Open access
In recent times, enterprises are highly conscious even paranoid of security needs, both physical as well as electronic. More and more checks and access restrictions are being implemented.

Such a restrictive environment is in total conflict with the open culture and free access required for web 2.0 to succeed. So, how do you even start implementing it in the current environment?

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More Stories By Udayan Banerjee

Udayan Banerjee is CTO at NIIT Technologies Ltd, an IT industry veteran with more than 30 years' experience. He blogs at http://setandbma.wordpress.com.
The blog focuses on emerging technologies like cloud computing, mobile computing, social media aka web 2.0 etc. It also contains stuff about agile methodology and trends in architecture. It is a world view seen through the lens of a software service provider based out of Bangalore and serving clients across the world. The focus is mostly on...

  • Keep the hype out and project a realistic picture
  • Uncover trends not very apparent
  • Draw conclusion from real life experience
  • Point out fallacy & discrepancy when I see them
  • Talk about trends which I find interesting
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