Enterprise Embraces Collaboration Tools

While enterprises face growing demands from employees for the Web 2.0 tools they use at home, IT managers continue to doubt whether most of them can provide business value to a company, according to a Forrester Research Inc. report released last week.

The report suggests that only two of the myriad tools commonly grouped in the Enterprise 2.0 category -- social networks and wikis - will find significant success in the corporate market over the next few years. Widgets, mashups, blogs, RSS and forums may find moderate success, while microblogs, prediction markets, social bookmarking and podcasts will have only minimum penetration in the enterprise, the report said.

"Wikis in particular have proven themselves to be successful," noted Gil Yehuda, a Forrester analyst and author of the "Forrester TechRadar for Information and Knowledge Management Pros: Enterprise 2.0" report. "For the most part they have proven themselves more so than many of the other Web 2.0 tools." The report predicts that social networks will find corporate success as users seek to find out more about colleagues who create and use the corporate content they are interested in, he added.

The report also noted that a number of Web 2.0 technologies are underutilized in the enterprise. "Enterprises don't know what to do with RSS even though it is all around the Web," Yehuda said. "They have not been able to figure out how to leverage RSS for their own benefit internally. Mashups and widgets are similarly underappreciated, but there is a future for them if enterprises can plan effectively around the whole ecosystem of information production and information consumption."

Microblogs - the mini blogs made popular on the Web by tools like Twitter - are not likely to see widespread uptake in the enterprise until they can be linked into existing employee workflows, Yehuda added.

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