It’s always the short questions that make my job interesting. Like this one.
Gil, do you think companies will cut back on Enterprise Web 2.0 in light of the economy?
First reaction--it depends. I’m an analyst, that’s always our first answer. But what does it depend on? What are all the factors at play and how will this impact your decisions? So, here’s my read of the Enterprise Web 2.0 trends based on many conversations with my clients and vendors. I will focus specifically on wiki and social networking tools used to improve internal collaboration and knowledge sharing. These are gaining momentum and acceptance within the enterprise. (See my TechRadar report for the details on what Forrester sees in scope for Enterprise Web 2.0.)
There will be a slowdown of IT-driven collaboration projects in 2009. But there will be increased interest in business-driven collaboration projects. Why? There is a technology populist movement, and has been for a while. Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) typically operate with little IT support and rely upon vendors for collaboration services – nothing new here. But we find that business units in enterprises, especially those in companies with politically weak IT departments, are increasingly behaving like SMBs, and they are going out and provisioning technology on their own. This is a form of institutional Tech Populism.
By Gil Yehuda Those who drink the Web 2.0 Kool-aid live in a idealistic world where we can mentally connect a great idea to a great implementation of that idea. We live on faith that the great implementation will come, since there are plenty of smart people out there who will eventually figure out how to make value out of technology building blocks. Sometimes our faith is tested when the killer-app does not show up for a long time. But evidence can restore our faith.
Why? The truth is, I learn by doing and by speaking with others who do. So I dabble with Twitter, Plurk, Pownce, Spoink, Rakawa, Tumblr, Utterli, Yammer, FriendFeed, 12seconds, and probably a few others that I signed up for and forgot to use. I have found a nice collection of people that I like to follow, and some people follow me too. So microblogging appeals to the extrovert in me, and I'm strangely fascinated reading what other people are doing (or what they say they are doing). Narcissism and voyeurism are at play.
I had a conversation with a client the other day about Blogging at work. The question came up, as it often does, how to ensure that employees blog appropriately at work. We spoke about corporate policies regarding appropriate use of the intranet, discussing if they really make an impact on behavior, or if they only exist as leverage when it comes time to take action.
It occurred to me that there is a simple analogy that all professionals can relate to, which brings clarity to the issue: How do you determine what to wear to work?
At every company I have ever worked in (with the exception of Forrester, ironic), there was an explicit policy about dress code. In some organizations, men are expected to show up in a pressed shirt, perhaps a tie and jacket. In others, the code is more lax, but denim jeans are verboten. Of course, men have it much easier, we have fewer choices and they all work pretty well for us. In my last company, a memo forbidding open-toe shoes angered many women in my team, including my boss, who loved her shoe collection. Why forbid open-toe shoes? Perhaps it could lead to sandals – or, heaven forefend – crocs! Crocs in the workplace – oh my word, that could be terrible!