Research on Web 2.0 in the Enterprise

The December issue of Communications of the ACM has an article on “Business Impact of Web 2.0 Technologies” by Stephen J. Andriole. As he correctly notes, there has been a lot of talk about the impact of Web 2.0 technologies (wikis, blogs, podcasts, social networks, virtual worlds, RSS filters) in the workplace but little published research on their contribution to corporate productivity and management.Andriole’s research was based on interviews with 15 senior technology managers conducted in 2008 and a survey of 98 companies around the world. His conclusion: “The results include caution, skepticism, and a significant contribution to collaboration and communication. Wikis, blogs, and RSS filters have had the greatest impact, while virtual worlds have had virtually none. Security remains a concern, but we found that communication and collaboration are generally well served by Web 2.0 technologies.”

While the article takes an empirical and practical approach to discussing Web 2.0 in business, it  ends with an enthusiastic endorsement of Web 3.0 technologies, proclaiming “when technology integrates seamlessly into business processes at all levels we can expect impact to be immediate and dramatic.” This will be nothing short of a miracle, according to the findings of the research reported in the very same article: “One important factor constraining adoption of Web 2.0 technology is the existing applications portfolio in companies with substantial technology budgets. In addition to the perennial issues around asset amortization, not-invented-here constraints restrict introduction of new applications based on new technologies. This walled-garden effect is real in many companies, restricting adoption of new technologies, applications, and even processes.”


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