Web 2.0: Hot technology for 2009

Learn to live with it

The Web 2.0 phenomenon is unstoppable. Employees are turning in droves to blogs, wikis, mash-ups, social networking, crowdsourcing and other variations on the Web 2.0 theme. A recent Yankee Group survey found that 86% of non-IT workers are using at least one consumer Web 2.0 tool at work. As younger workers enter the enterprise workforce, access to Web 2.0 technologies will become only more of a given.

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The challenge for IT executives is how best to harness Web 2.0 technologies in a way that's secure; serves such basic enterprise functions as collaboration; and adds to worker productivity, revenue generation and overall business benefits.

The possibilities are endless. A Gartner list of Web 2.0 applications includes answer marketplaces, collaborative product and service design, community-driven self-service, crowdsourcing, idea engines and prediction markets.

Many employees are using such social-networking sites as LinkedIn, MySpace or Twitter to communicate with peers and customers. In addition, a growing number of vendors aim to help companies set up and manage enterprise-grade Web 2.0 applications. For example, WorkLight offers Java-based software that will help authenticate, encrypt, store and manage Web 2.0 applications (see "10 start-ups to watch in '09"). Face Connector (formerly Faceforce) is a mash-up that brings Facebook profile and friend information seamlessly into Salesforce CRM. Socialtext 3.0 provides social networking, wikis and customizable home pages for the enterprise.

That's just the tip of the iceberg. Key is identifying an application that fits with the culture of your company, then making it available and watching as the community takes off.

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