Are you familiar with the Field of Dreams syndrome – ‘build it and they will come’? In their early stages, many technology initiatives have this as their mantra. Professional and serious IT managers question this approach and usually do their best to get things on the right track through such things as cost benefit analysis. If these new ideas do not pass the IT manager litmus tests, they get removed from the list of things to do – temporarily and quite often permanently.
Another saying comes from IT managers and I call it the ostrich syndrome – ‘ignore it and it will go away’! For all my years in IT, I’ve seen at least two instances of the ostrich syndrome that were major ‘ignores’ – personal computers (MAC and PCs) and the Internet. Is Web 2.0 another example of an IT managers ‘ignore it and it will go away’ approach?
According to Forrester Research and Gartner Research Web 2.0 is not a fad but a genuine and valuable technology trend in IT. Gartner Research, which is typically conservative and behind the curve identified Web 2.0 as a trend and emerging tool back in 2006 in their release of Gartner’s 2006 Emerging Technologies Hype Cycle. Their current analysis is that Web 2.0 and it’s business version, Enterprise 2.0 are here in various forms and will be here for a good while yet.
Forrester’s G. Oliver Young, an analyst with a keen sense of Web 2.0, sees this new use of the web as something that can’t be ignored by IT and business managers. His advice is to embrace it and guide it into the enterprise. Otherwise your computer users will bring it into their workplace anyway and bring with it all of the ‘bad’ things Web 2.0 may have attached to it. By managing and guiding Web 2.0 use in your enterprise you will have the opportunities to ensure that it is secure, is used as a business tool and does not put worker productivity and company data at risk.
If you ‘ignore it, it will NOT go away’! Like so many other technologies such as the personal computer, Web 2.0 will infiltrate your organization and one day you will look up and instead of being in control of the situation, you will be forced to react to something already in place and growing.
For more on Web 2.0 and how it works within the enterprise, I recommend Dion Hinchcliffe’s blog at ZDnet. Unlike many blogs that talk about technology for the technical, Dion Hinchcliffe discusses Web 2.0 from the business managers perspective.