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Web 2.0 strategies for the midmarket

Web 2.0 tools are infiltrating organizations of all sizes. What does it take to successfully integrate them into your IT systems? Find out with this IT Management Guide.

Web 2.0 is here, and you need to adapt or risk being left behind: Just how many times have you read articles and blogs declaring that?

Sure, Wikis, blogs, RSS feeds and podcasts can help open the lines of communication with your end users -- but what's the best way to integrate these tools into your organization? And are they worth the trouble? Find out the answers to these and other Web 2.0-related questions with this IT Management Guide.

For free advice and resources on more IT and business topics, visit our list of IT Management Guides.

Table of contents

     Web 2.0 integration poses challenges and rewards
     Web 2.0: CIOs want it their way
     Web 2.0 tools of the trade
     Web 2.0: An existential threat to traditional IT?
     Server-based RSS technology worth the money for SMBs
     More resources

  Web 2.0 integration challenging, rewarding  Table of Contents

[James M. Connolly, Contributor]

Incorporating Web 2.0 into your IT infrastructure isn't that different from incorporating other user-generated initiatives: Accept it as a fact of life, embrace it as an opportunity, keep a good IT foundation in place, test everything, and listen to user feedback. But whatever you do, don't drop a Web 2.0 application to the bottom of the development queue. If you do, your users and competitors will leave you in the dust.

At small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), embracing Web 2.0 applications can be a matter of corporate survival. "Web 2.0 is being employed much more on customer-facing Web sites than for in-house applications," said Julie Craig, senior analyst at Enterprise Management Associates in Boulder, Colo. "If you're going up against a Progressive Insurance or Countrywide Mortgage, regardless of your size, you're going to move to Web 2.0. Your competitors have flashy Web sites, and you have to compete with them."

Not only are customers demanding Web 2.0 features on company sites, but they're also expecting these sometimes complicated applications to serve them as quickly as any other Web feature. This provides an added challenge, Craig said, thanks to the resource demands of XML and fat graphics files that Web 2.0 applications often use.

   Learn more in "Web 2.0 integration poses challenges and rewards." Also:

  • Sold on Web 2.0 (CIO Decisions)
    Midmarket CIOs are finding that Web 2.0 offers a host of e-commerce tools to engage customers, improve product lines and bring greater alignment between IT and the business. Four CIOs tell us how.
  • IT executives eager to exploit Web 2.0 wave (SearchSMB.com)
    What good is a blog if no one reads it? IT managers find out and begin to make blogging and other Web 2.0 tools a more strategic part of their business.

  Web 2.0: CIOs want it their way  Table of Contents

[Shamus McGillicuddy, News Writer]

CIOs are on board with Web 2.0 technology, but they don't want to deal with emerging vendors in the market. They want to get the technology from major software vendors.

CIOs also want Web 2.0 suites of technology. They don't want to buy separate wiki, blog and RSS platforms. They want one integrated suite that they can buy from one vendor, according to a new report from Forrester Research Inc.

"It's all about integration and security," said Oliver Young, an analyst at the Cambridge, Mass.-based research firm. "They trust Microsoft, IBM, Oracle and SAP. They're running half of their enterprise applications already. It's so much easier and so much more reliable to get it from those guys who are already in their shops."

   Learn more in "Web 2.0: CIOs want it their way." Also:

  Web 2.0 tools of the trade  Table of Contents

[Paul Gillin, Author]

"We need to be using Web 2.0. I'm not sure how, but we should." Sound familiar? As Web 2.0 technologies become more widely used and marketed, more business people are turning to IT professionals to come up with ways to implement them.

In his recent book, The New Influencers, Paul Gillin describes how ordinary people are using Web 2.0 technologies to shape market perceptions and how business marketers can work productively with these new opinion makers. Here is a chapter excerpt of his book, which defines Web 2.0 tools -- a worthwhile resource to pass on to your business colleagues so they can better understand what Web 2.0 is all about.

   Check out the chapter excerpt at "Web 2.0 tools of the trade." Also:

  Web 2.0: A threat to traditional IT?  Table of Contents

[Jeff Kelly, Associate Editor]

Speaking at the Enterprise 2.0 conference, Harvard Business School professor Andrew McAfee hit upon an important point that I think partly explains why IT departments have yet to adopt Web 2.0 technologies on a wide scale: people power.

McAfee correctly noted that in a Web 2.0 world, the power to create and manage content is transferred from traditional information gatekeepers to the users of that information. For IT departments, this means giving up a large measure of control, allowing employees to shape and develop their online experiences organically.

   Find out what else McAfee had to say in "Web 2.0: An existential threat to traditional IT?." Also:

  • I draw the line at Candy Making 2.0 (SMB Connection)
    Blogger Jeff Kelly is fed up with attempts by marketing machines to ride the Web 2.0 wagon. Will IT types really flock to your conference if you brand it with a 2.0 crown?
  • Time to wake up to Web 2.0 (SMB Connection)
    A room full of IT managers, and not one of them is using Web 2.0. Moreover, half of them don't know what Web 2.0 is. What's going on?

  Server-based RSS worth the money  Table of Contents

[Shamus McGillicuddy, News Writer]

Server-based RSS aggregators offer businesses better control and more security than the more common consumer RSS feeds. You have to dish out the money for it, but experts say for small to midsized businesses, the investment is worth it.

Really Simple Syndication (RSS) is an XML-based technology that allows Web sites to send news and other content via feeds to users who subscribe to the content. Users typically use consumer Web-based aggregators from companies such as Yahoo, Google Inc. and NewsGator Technologies Inc. to collect and review these RSS feeds.

"Overall this technology is still somewhat at the emerging stage within enterprises," said Mike Gotta, principal analyst at Midvale, Utah-based Burton Group Inc. "2007 should see continued incremental growth, but the huge surge in XML syndication will be in the latter part of 2007 into 2008 as companies roll out infrastructure that have greater support for RSS and Atom." Like RSS, Atom is a form of XML-based syndication technology.

   Learn more in "Server-based RSS technology worth the money for SMBs." Also:

  • How can attackers exploit RSS software flaws? (SearchSecurity.com)
    RSS syndication feeds are a convenient way to get your news, blogs or other favorite content, but these popular tools are often left exposed. In this SearchSecurity.com Q&A, Ed Skoudis explains how malicious hackers can attack RSS software and distribute malicious code.
  • Syndicated content: RSS aggregators and more (SearchWebServices.com)
    Ed Tittel discusses the client side of RSS feeds and how one goes about grabbing or searching syndicated Web content, and then trying to make sense of its contents.

  More resources  Table of Contents

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