Web 2.0: The Evolving Definition

Everybody seems to be focused on the “social networking” aspect of Web 2.0 which is fine with regards to the general public and smoother collaboration with in organizations. But there is a collection of attributes that have a technology dimension aspects that will ultimately convert the Web 2.0 benefits into real business value drivers for the enterprises plus enable the capability of the social aspects.

  • Technology-related attributes: These include technologies commonly associated with Web 2.0, such as Ajax, RSS, REST, microformats and public APIs.
  • Non-technology attributes: These include data-related concepts, such as user-contributed content and user-generated metadata, as well as those relating to the process and the business model: greater openness, transparency and decentralized user participation.

Web 2.0 has the potential to deliver business value, improve competitive position, help tap new markets, and optimize business processes. Competitive advantage can be gained by cultivating an ecosystem or community that gains in value (through the "network effect") as it accumulates participants. The challenge for organizations is that the attributes of Web 2.0 that can most produce these positive effects are also the ones that are most difficult for organizations to adopt. Unfortunately the Web 2.0 attributes that seem to be getting all of the attention these days— and that organizations can adopt with minimum disruption — are also the ones that, by themselves, can have only a limited impact in the underling business valuation.


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