These are my notes from a free webinar titled “Web 2.0 for your Business” offered by Irwin Lazar, Principal Analyst and Program Director for Nemertes Research. This webinar was offered via the AT&T Networking Exchange on March 25, 2008. Presentation slides for this webinar are available as a PDF. A recording and link to an on-demand version of this presentation is available also. (I’ll add that link when it becomes available.)

MY COMMENTS ARE ALL IN CAPS.

The virtual workplace is here, and growing!
– this is leading to a virtualization of the workplace
– web 2.0 are helping virtual workers to succeed in many ways
– this webinar is an example of this!

We are living in an information society now, and we have to react quickly to news and trends
– brokers, real estate agents have certainly seen this in the past few weeks
– need to be able to process information, share it, aggregate it
– agility: the ability to react quickly to change
– agility is key in the 21st century business environment

Classical definition of web 2.0 from O’Reilly, 5 characteristics
1- web as a platform (browser-based)
2- social networking: the wisdom of crowds
3- data is king
4- applications via the web (leveraging hosted services)
5- rich web-based user interfaces

The pillars of web 2.0
– web browser as UI (user interface)
– people should be able to bring their own browser, from IE to Firefox to Safari to a mobile browser
– users are in control, liberates user community from structured experiences
– giving people a framework and letting people self-create their own frameworks

applications should be extensible, which means users can build upon a base-level functionality

Web 2 architecture
– blogs: web-based journals
– wikis: editable web-based documents
– social networking: shared workspaces, community building

RSS/ATOM syndication and AIR/AJAX/Ruby/Gears underly this architecture (application environments)

Whenever you build a social community, you can expect only about 5% of your users to actively use it and the rest of people will be in “read-only” mode
– getting people to update a wiki and participate is a real challenge
– management buy-in and support is important too

Most people are still relying on email now to make decisions with digital tools
– getting people to commit to using a wiki can be positive for a variety of reasons, one is the ease of later retrieval

Web 2.0 products and services that are available now
– matrix: consumer v commercial
– services v products

consumer services
– del.icio.us
– myspace
– flickr
– facebook
– twitter
– youtube
– WikiPedia

consumer products
– bittorrent

commercial services
– Google Apps
– thinkfree
– Linked-In
– WebEx
– Windows Live Spaces

commercial products
– nextaweb
– moveable type
– newsgator
– socialtext
– atlassian
– social software for business

the younger generation is “living” on these sites
– there are big marketing opportunities here on these sites

all of these are based on the same core concepts:
– openness, let users share their own information, establish their own communities

Applications can reside inside your own business / intranet or as a hosted service, or they can be a mix

the more users you get into a social community, the better it gets

leveraging the power of the user community can be very powerful: especially with tagging capabilities, sharing of documents, rating information

Digg is a good example of this

Businesses need to monitor and respond to things being said “out on the web” on social networking sites

Web 2.0 frees data and permits mashups to be created which integrates data from different applications
– example of Google Maps and California wildfires, including shelters and evacuation routes
– new applications can be created as a result of this mashup capability

What are the downsides to Web 2.0?
– the web 2 hype meets the business reality
– there are concerns about individuals using public services, where data is housed, is it secure and stable, what bandwidth requirements will change, etc?

Have several fears: of out of control users, that sensitive information will be published openly
– concerns over ensuring compliance and governance are common

Opportunities can come from the act of giving users the power to generate their own content and form communities
– need to address governance, compliance and security policies

Many times we hear people say, “There is no business justification for giving my employees access to Facebook”
– we have to recognize that “the water cooler” is gone in many organizations now, however
– sites like Facebook can permit individuals to build personal relationships together which are really important for teamwork

silos of information is a risk/problem with web 2 tools potentially also

THIS WAS THE FIRST QUESTION I SUBMITTED DURING THE WEBINAR:

So many web 2.0 tools are totally blocked in most of our public schools. How can the business community encourage teachers (and administrators) to safely allow students to use web 2.0 tools now, to acquire relevant job skills?

Web 2 tools can let organizations appear bigger than they actually are
– being able to directly communicate with your customers can be very powerful

THE SECOND COMMENT I SUBMITTED WAS RESPONDED TO BY THE PRESENTER. THAT COMMENT WAS THAT MY GREATEST CONCERN WAS NOT INCLUDED IN THE THIRD POLL. THE QUESTION WAS, WHAT IS YOUR TOP CONCERN ABOUT WEB 2 TECHNOLOGIES: SECURITY, OR NEED MORE INFORMATION. I SAID MY MAIN CONCERN WAS THE HUMAN ELEMENT: PEOPLE WHO OPPOSE THESE TECHNOLOGIES AND WANT TO STOP PEOPLE FROM USING THEM

– response was: strong support from management will force many people to utilize these tools
– the option for people to setup private communities can also give people more of a comfort factor
– business value: by using the wiki, people can track customer support functions more effectively

Recommendations for learning more
– the initially cited web 2.0 manifesto
– looking for existing web 2 communities you can join
– lots of services available for setting up web 2 tools

THIS CERTAINLY IS AN OPPORTUNITY NOW: ADVICE FOR PEOPLE IN BUSINESS ABOUT HOW TO UTILIZE WEB 2 TOOLS EFFECTIVELY


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