Web 2.0 Changes The Information Workplace

by Erica Driver and Connie Moore.

When Forrester first published the report The Information Workplace Will Redefine The World Of Work At Last in June of 2005, we described the Information Workplace as contextual, role-based, seamless, guided, visual, and multimodal. We included some Web 2.0 technologies like blogs and wikis in our discussion about the elements of the Information Workplace. But the impact Web 2.0 will have on the way people work goes way beyond new collaboration tools. With Web 2.0:

  • Role-based evolves into individualized. While Information Workplaces must be role-based at their core to deliver relevant tools and information to a user in context, this is just the beginning.  Information Workplaces will move beyond role-based to become individualized. Web 2.0 technologies that will contribute to an individualized user experience include tagging and tag clouds, social networking, personal Web sites, syndication, mashups, and rich Internet applications (RIAs).
  • The Information Workplace is social. People can network and build communities via social networking tools and present a digital face to their communities with a personal Web site. In the more distant future, avatars may become part of this digital face. Workers can communicate with others through blogs, posting thoughts and opinions and having others comment on them, and commenting on other peoples' posts. People can collaboratively create shared content with wikis — co-authoring material and contributing to and modifying FAQs and knowledge bases, for example. They can collectively apply metadata through tagging, leveraging tags others have already applied to a particular piece of content.
  • The Information Workplace is quick.Web 2.0 makes Information Workplaces easier to deploy, modify, and use than ever before. Web services and Software as a Service (SaaS) make them easier to deploy. Mashups make them easier to modify. Many Web 2.0 technologies make them easier to use. As a few examples, tagging makes information easier to find. RIAs make it easier for workers to make their way through complex-multi-step business processes. And social networking and personal Web sites make it easier to locate, share, and exploit expertise.


re: Web 2.0 Changes The Information Workplace

The individualized aspects of this are critical (thanks for calling it out). I call it "connected autonomy". This is a significant contextual element to consider when assessing possibilities.You also mention how much 2.0 simplifies the ability to implement Information Workplaces. This is conceptually true but fundamentally flawed. It assumes that three necessary conditions can be met: vision, funding and staffing.I address this at length in a post called “Crossing The Chasm”: http://www.fastforwardblog.com/2007/09/20/crossing-the-chasm

re: Web 2.0 Changes The Information Workplace

I just got back from Forrester's Technology Leadership Forum in Carlsbad CA, where I did 3 highly interactive (lots of Q&A and discussion) presentations on collaboration- and Information Workplace-related topics, had 16 one-on-one meetings, and talked with numerous information and knowledge management professionals during meals and breaks. This topped off 65 client inquiry calls and numerous client consulting engagements during the quarter that just closed. With these fresh insights top of mind, here a couple of thoughts about points you raised.Vision: Some IT leaders have it, some don’t. Some IT leaders are highly visionary -- you can commonly find this trait among enterprise architects and technology strategists and sometimes in the CIO. You’ll also find it in business architects, who are liaisons between business and IT. Naturally, some IT leaders are more tactical in their thinking. This depends in large part on the type of IT organization they work in: solid utility, trusted supplier, or partner player (for more on this see the March 22, 2006 Forrester report “The Three Archetypes Of IT”). Regardless of how visionary IT leaders are on their own, they are realizing they must work closely with business stakeholders to directly relate Information Workplace strategies (which almost always include Web 2.0 technologies, these days) to the organization’s highest-level objectives and strategic initiatives.Information Workplace projects are being funded in forward-thinking organizations. Based on the types of consulting work we are doing with our clients, as well as on survey data we collected in early 2007, Information Workplace projects (which, again, tend to include Web 2.0 technologies within the scope) are getting funded. Typically the project kicks off with an intensive multi-day workshop or a quick-start 100-day strategy development effort. An indicator of projects getting under way is the answer we got to the question, “With regard to an enterprisewide Information Workplace strategy, which of the following best describes your organization?” in the February 2007 US And UK Information Workplace Online Survey. Fourteen percent of respondents said they have a documented Information Workplace strategy and another 44% said they are in the process of developing one.