Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Web 2.0: What CIOs Want vs. What CIOs Have

I was just reading Richard MacManus’ coverage of Forrester’s recent reports about web 2.0 in the enterprise:

“Forrester Research has just released two reports concerning 'web 2.0' in the enterprise. Forrester recently surveyed 119 CIOs on the topic and their answers illustrate what IT honchos want – and don't want – from social software technologies such as blogs, wikis, podcasts, RSS, social networking, and content tagging.

According to the report entitled 'CIOs Want Suites For Web 2.0', the enterprise Web 2.0 market "is beginning to consolidate". Apparently CIOs have a strong desire to purchase web 2.0 products "as a suite, as well as an equally strong desire to purchase these technologies from large, incumbent software vendors." 61% of respondents indicated that they would prefer both a suite solution and a large, incumbent vendor. According to the report, "integration issues, longevity concerns, and the occasional lack of polish" are counting against small vendors.” (Quote from Richard MacManus on Read/WriteWeb)

The data is interesting, but I am not sure that Forrester was asking the right questions or the right people. My experience with web 2.0, and other innovative technologies (open source, etc.) is that there is a big gap between what many CIOs want / think they have and what is really happening within their organization. Those of us who are passionate about web 2.0 technologies just tend to use them. This often means that we bring things like IM, wikis, and more into our corporate life as productivity tools regardless of whether or not the technology is officially sanctioned. For example, Intelpedia, an internal Intel wiki, was started as a grass roots effort on a test server without “official” buy in because Josh Bancroft and other Intel employees thought that Intel needed an internal wiki to help manage information. A better study might have been to ask people a few levels below the CIO about the web 2.0 technologies currently being used in their organization.

CIOs may want web 2.0 suites from larger, incumbent software providers, but I suspect that the reality of what is actually used within enterprises over the next few years will differ significantly from this CIO vision.

3 comments:

Josh Bancroft said...

Thanks for the plug - very interesting topic. I say we just let the CIOs think what they want to think, and continue to do what we need to do to get our jobs done in a rocking, efficient manner. ;-)

GeekyGirl Dawn Foster said...

Josh,

Exactly my approach. I've gotten really good at asking for forgiveness after the fact :-)

John Eckman said...

You have to look closely at the questions they asked.

First, would you be more or less interested in [list of seven web 2.0 technologies] if they were offered in an integrated suite?

(I'm paraphrasing, but that's the gist).

Second, would you be more interested in these technologies if they were offered by a major incumbent vendor [as opposed to] smaller specialist firms?

Asked this way, it is not surprising that CIOs would answer as they did - it's kind of like asking "would you like a box of car parts or a working automobile"? - but it is a set of false alternatives.