I spend a lot of time in the social media/ communications/ marketing world, but a major part of what I can do for clients is bridge the gap between technology and business. So it was good to hear a more technical take Wednesday at the first edition of IBM's developerWorks roadshow, Web 2.0 goes to work.
After opening talks from the Emerging Technologies guys, we had our choice of three sessions: social/collaboration, Info 2.0 and applications/mashups. Since I still don't have that two-places-at-once ability, I picked the social/collaboration session and learned what I could about the others during the breaks and afternoon wrap-up.
The first surprise was how much of the conversation was Social Media 101. I expected the more technical crowd to be farther along than that, but people needed the explanation. Once we finished the review, we spent the rest of the time on adoption, the roles of IT and business units, and policy implications. As you would expect in a short session, we did more identification of issues than resolution.
Products and experiments
In addition to the general overview of Internet trends filtering into the enterprise, we saw some examples of IBM software (of course), especially the experimental stuff.
- DAMIA, a mashup tool and feed server (and IBM's take on enterprise RSS?). Combining data from internal, public (Internet) and private (data as a service) sources was a key theme of the "Info 2.0" idea.
- QEDWiki, a wiki mashup maker for inside the firewall.
- Many Eyes, a tool that democratizes data visualization and adds social features. Plus, it's fun to play with.
- Lotus Connections, possibly the only shipping product of the day, which combines a variety of familiar social applications. Interesting comments on how IBM rolled out tag-based search results without the jargon to reduce barriers to adoption.
It didn't take long to figure out the themes of the day and how IBM approaches Web 2.0. Actually, you already know, but listening to them talk confirms some things:
- If you want to see feature set of Enterprise 2.0, look at the publicly available services on the Internet. All those startups are the development lab, trying new ideas and testing them in the wild.
- The transition into the enterprise will focus on finding and proving the value of individual social applications, connecting with existing enterprise systems, and dealing with the security, privacy and compliance issues that follow.
- IBM's strategy will be packaging (1) and (2) so that customers can "buy Web 2.0." alphaWorks services provide field-testing and gauge interest in specific applications.
- Companies need to reduce the business-technology gap to succeed with these technologies. IT has to communicate with business units to understand and meet their evolving needs (and to stay relevant), and business folks will have to learn new tech skills to take advantage of the new possibilities (spreadsheets in the 80s, user-generated mashups now?).
All in all, a good day. I visited people who live on the IT side and discovered that they're talking about some of the same things as the marketing/ communications crowd. Yes, there was the extended tangent on SOA, and more technical diagrams than in a marketing meeting, but this was an IBM event with tech-casual clothing, no slides and an iPhone giveaway. As corporate marketers work out what they want to do in this changing environment, they may be surprised to find their IT people on the same page.
Web 2.0 goes to work continues in Austin next Tuesday.
Tags: IBM 2.0