Web 2.0 Based Enterprise Collaboration to Increase

by Sharon Lobo    Nov 05, 2009

Web 2.0 is fast gaining acceptance amongst a majority of users, and as the technology matures and gains more acceptance more organisations will shift their collaboration platforms to it. According to Gartner, this can be as early as 2013, by which 80 percent of enterprise collaboration platforms will be based on Web 2.0.

This trend will set a major challenge for organisations to manage users’ transition from a file-orientated approach to a Web 2.0 one. Additionally, organisations will also need to encourage employees preferring to collaborate around files and documents to collaborate in a Web 2.0-based environment. Though this seems to be an uphill task, it is understood that as Web 2.0 technologies evolve and its familiarity increases the distinctions between file-oriented and online environments will eventually reduce or even eliminate.

In future, though most enterprise collaboration will be Web 2.0-based, it will not necessarily shadow file-orientated collaboration entirely. The reason being, there are situations where working with documents is more appropriate such as tasks that require sequential approval workflows or where the final product will be a file, which are often easier to get done in a document repository with check-in/out facilities.

Furthermore, some collaboration products show a hybrid of Web 2.0 and file orientation, while several browser-based office automation products allow working with files. For example, Google Apps, Adobe buzzword and Zoho are firmly in the Web 2.0 camp, but also work with files, either by downloading versions to work with offline or by organizing content online using file-like user interface metaphors.

According to Gartner, some of the best practice recommendations for managing the transition from a file-orientated approach to a Web 2.0 one are:

  • Do not force the issue, if users prefer a particular model, tread carefully when introducing a new one.
  • Explain the business reasons for the choices made. If necessary, consider offering alternatives for particular situations where the lack of user acceptance will endanger the success of the project.
  • Recognise what each model is good for and adopt accordingly.
  • Don’t blindly assume that one or the other will fit every situation.
  • Examine the hybrid models some products support.
  • Most products are not wholly file-oriented or entirely Web 2.0. Make sure that users know about the features they will find attractive or useful.