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Agile Computing: Article

Wikipedia Nixes "Enterprise 2.0"

Where Is Humpty-Dumpty When You Need Him?

(August 19, 2066) - This week's remarkable deletion, from Wikipedia, of the useful colloquy "Enterprise 2.0" coined by a Harvard Business School professor (Andrew McAfee, pictured) and popularized by Web 2.0 Journal editor-in-chief Dion Hinchcliffe - has set the cat among the pigeons.

When someone as eminent as Prof. Andrew McAfee, who first coined the term in March 2006, is writing articles in the MIT Sloan Management Review entitled "Enterprise 2.0: The Dawn of Emergent Collaboration", then it is surely an odd time for Wikipedia, of all reference sources, to be suggesting that there's no consensus on the value or meaning of such a term. McAfee is an associate professor with the Technology and Operations Management Unit at Harvard Business School, so he is no lightweight. His HBS faculty blog gave an early account of the nixing on Thursday.

The most insightful view on "Enterprise 2.0" in recent times has been Peter Rip's: because he entirely "gets" that Enterprise 2.0 apps will be built, not by the vendors, but by the users - but wonders if he's clapping with one hand still when applauding this massive disruption:

"So Enterprise 2.0 as a platform shift is mostly about the enabling technologies. Web 2.0 rode the back of Open Source and Moore's Law to crack the economic barrier in building web based services. What followed were technologies for making applications richer (AJAX), easier to build (Ruby on Rails), and easier to integrate (REST and RSS). 

But only a tiny community of developers have built Web 2.0 apps using AJAX, ROR, or LAMP.  It is really just a few thousand people -- and very few work in large enterprises or ever will, again.  So how will the Enterprise 2.0 apps get built?  I doubt it is from a startup like Jotspot who has no business process expertise nor business data management expertise.  I doubt it is Oracle or SAP who pride themselves on selling Sherman Tanks as radiation-hardened compact cars. The users will build Enterprise 2.0 apps, not the vendors. 

The question is who will "get it" first?"

(My emphasis.)

Dion Hinchcliffe not only gets it, he propagates it...and does so on an increasingly impressive scale. He has this to say about Enterprise, v2.0 style:

"I do find there are real-world examples of entirely new and successful business models emerging on the Web that show these potentials are beginning to be realized.

Yet reality still holds: A great many startups, as well as traditional companies trying to use enterprise-style Web 2.0 for competitive advantage, will discover that being #1 or #2 in the market is the only real way to get the scale and market leadership needed to flat-out win."
Hinchcliffe continues:
"Part of the issue is that most of the good markets are already dominated by a few leading players.  The biggest opportunities are to either 1) create an entirely new market and 2) use disruptive technologies to upset existing market leaders (like MySpace is apparently doing)."

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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