Social networking and collaborative applications are pushing the business world into Enterprise 2.0. Business computing has entered a new phase: Enterprise 2.0, in which social networking and collaboration are becoming an intrinsic part of end-user computing. Driving this trend is the increasingly pervasive and routine use of social networking and collaborative tools such as wikis, blogs, micro blogs, RSS, in end users’ day-to-day work and in business applications (WHITEPAPER Enterprise Collaboration 2010).
Many social networking applications were created and adopted by various enterprises. For example, blogging went mainstream when global companies such as Google and AOL bought or set up their own blogging applications. To help ensure success, Microsoft hired blogger Robert Scoble from NEC to be its “technical evangelist.” (KPMG International. 2007) There is a picture showing that different types of web 2.0 applications are used in enterprises.
Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia, popularized the phenomenon of user-generated knowledge. Today, companies are examining whether wikis can be used to help foster collaboration on business projects. Nokia hosts a number of wikis, some of which are used internally to coordinate technology investment research. And Forum Nokia Wiki provides a place where issues around Nokia’s phones and software are debated.
Disney’s Family.com site is a wiki that contains features aimed at parents that will aggregate links to other parenting sites as well as offer tips.
Somewhat surprisingly, it is an investment bank—not the most natural adopter of social technology—that operates the largest corporate wiki. BusinessWeek reports that more than 50 percent of all employees at Dresdner Kleinwort participate, fueling collaboration and communication to ensure that all team members are “on the same page” in terms of project management and calendars. This may seem like a simple application, but the investment bank has found it to be a powerful efficiency tool.
RSS feeds were designed to publish frequently updated Web content (Wikipedia 2010). They are now widely used by media companies—from Techworld, a British magazine, to The Wall Street Journal—to enable subscribers to view breaking news. They also help the media companies to track their customers’ interests closely and to tailor advertising accordingly.
Tagging is the use of keywords to track content on Web sites. It was first employed on nonbusiness sites such as two that were acquired by Yahoo!: Del.ici.ous, a social bookmarking site where users can share links, and Flickr, a photo-sharing site. Commentator David Weinberger, an academic, blogger, and writer on Web 2.0 issues and a fellow at Harvard’s Beckman Center, recommends that companies use tagging as a means of leveraging hundreds of strangers as researchers.
In brief, Social networking and collaborative applications offers tremendous opportunities for businesses to realize creative ideas and boost productivity and competitiveness. Achieving it, however, requires companies to adopt a different approach to collaboration.
- KPMG International. 2007. Enterprise 2.0: Fad or Future.
- WHITEPAPER Enterprise Collaboration. 2010. The future of Enterprise Collaboration.
- Wikipedia. 2010. RSS.