This chapter examines the elements of the new Web 2.0 technology base and reviews the lessons learned when implementing these technologies. Collaborative applications have made enormous inroads into the enterprise and bring unprecedented speed and transparency to communications. Researchers and practitioners alike are focusing on how collaborative applications can replace the one-way communications inherent to Intranet sites. This chapter is intended for individuals who are looking toward the possibility of integrating these new technologies into the core communication medium. Unfortunately, there are still large barriers such as politics, turf battles, integration, and poor usability with the current product set. A company’s ability to manage information effectively over its life cycle, including sensing, collecting, organizing, processing, and maintaining information, is crucial to the long term success in a global economy. The success or failure of this integration may very well create or lose a competitive advantage for the enterprise. What is missing is a framework or roadmap in which organizations can plan out their execution of We 2.0 deployment.
Web 1.0 Intranets
The term Web 1.0 emerged from the research around Web 2.0. Basically, Web 1.0 focused on a read only Web interface while Web 2.0 focuses on a read-write interface where value emerges from the contribution of a large volume of users. The Internet as well as the Intranet initially focused on the command and control of the information itself. Information was controlled by a relative small number of resources but distributed to a large number which spawned the massive growth of the Web itself. Like television, the Web allowed for the broadcasting of information to a large number of users.
Inside the organization, the Intranet has changed the way organizations structure and operate their business. Specifically, the Intranet has centralized communications and corporate information as well as built a sense of community across organizational boundaries (McNay, 2000). Typical organizations will have office-based employees in various locations, telecommuting, and off-shoring staff. The traditional day by day communication landscape has changed from personal to electronic. The migration to electronic communications emerged as standards, technology and infrastructure matured. This allowed more information sharing and community building to occur without a requirement of physical location. Over the past several years Intranets have emerged as the key delivery mechanism for application and business information. Intranets may be thought of as providing the infrastructure for intra-organizational electronic commerce (Chellappa & Gupta, 2002). This allows organizations to utilize the technology to achieve its organizational goals and objectives. Web 1.0 allowed the organization to govern the information flow and focus on achieving the business goals.
Unfortunately, most technologies fail to deliver competitive advantages over an extended period of time. Investments in information technology, while profoundly important, are less and less likely to deliver a competitive edge to an individual company (Carr, 2003). This is especially true in the world of the Web 1.0 since much of the knowledge and information is disseminated all over the world as quickly as it gets published. Organizations are beginning to see that the command and control model is no longer effective at developing a high performance work force which opens the door for the next evolution in technologies as described by the Web 2.0 framework.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Wiki: A wiki is software that allows users to easily create, edit, and link pages together. Unlike a blog, the end user can actually update the original authors information.
Collaboration: Collaboration is defined as people working together on non-routine cognitive work. This activity is about behavior, work habits, culture, management, and business goals and value generated we people from diverse backgrounds come together.
RSS: In the simplest form, RSS shares the metadata about the content without actually delivering the entire information source. An author might publish the title, description, publish date, and copyrights to anyone that subscribes to the feed. A feed reader application is required just as an e-mail client is required to read e-mail.
Web 2.0: Web 2.0 is a term used to decribe the next generation of Web applications where information flows both from the producer as well as from the consumer. Additionally, Web 2.0 embraces more of a thin client architecture which allows for the assembly of various components. Together, end user conent and thin client applications make the Web 2.0 environment.
Client-Support: Client-Support is a term used to describe the various efforts to ensure the success of an environment. These efforts would include education, training, communities of practice, online documentation and automated business processes for procurement.
Social tagging: Social tagging describes the collaborative activity of marking shared online content with keywords or tags as a way to organize content for future navigation, filtering, or search.
Information Worker: The information worker is a label placed on individuals that primarily work with information and data. Information workers perform non-routine, cognitive, or creative work that often requires both structured and unstructured information inputs from multiple sources.
Weblog: A blog (short for weblog) is a personal online journal that is frequently updated and intended for general public consumption. Blogs are a series of entries posted to a single page in reverse-chronological order. These original entries cannot be edit by others but can be commented on by anyone.