IT set to embrace Web 2.0: reserach firm

There will be greater adoption this year, Forrester says

IT managers and CIOs in large companies who have actively resisted embracing Web 2.0 technologies like wikis, RSS, blogs and social networks will probably begin adding them to their priority lists in 2008, according to a report released last month by Forrester Research.

In the report, Forrester predicts that half of the 42% of the organisations that in a third-quarter survey said they weren't planning to invest in Web 2.0 technology will add the tools to their priority lists by the end of this year.

The charge to Web 2.0 spending will be led by IT departments that once viewed Web 2.0 technologies as frivolous or secondary to other needs, according to the report.

"The IT shops that began experimenting with enterprise Web 2.0 tools for their own use in 2007 — for tasks like help desk ticket resolution, standards and documentation tracking, and IT project management — will begin rolling out these tools more broadly to lines of business as they pass IT muster," the report says.

Forrester notes in the report that IT departments trying to be more relevant to the business can use Web 2.0 to provide a "high-impact, low-cost method" to show leadership and innovation.

The report also predicts that CIOs will "concede that they cannot quell passionate employees' use of consumer-oriented or software-as-a-service Web 2.0 tools and will mitigate risk by deploying enterprise-class tools in their stead."

While interest in RSS began bubbling up from consumers to the enterprise last year, Forrester predicts that 2008 will be a "banner year" for the technology as companies syndicate internal content like RFP requests, blog postings, wiki changes and CRM data.

While 9% of the firms surveyed in the third quarter of 2007 said they would consider using RSS within the next 12 months, Forrester expects that number to jump to 20% by the end of this year. In addition, Forrester predicts in the report that enterprise mashups will begin to take a large bite out of the RSS, portal, search and enterprise application integration markets.

While social networking stole much of the Web 2.0 spotlight on the consumer side in 2007, the tools are already starting to make a mark in the corporate world as businesses look to both embrace the technology and lock employees out of specific sites, Forrester says.

"Expect the adoption of social networking solutions for businesses to accelerate dramatically in 2008, with many firms looking for internal social networking solutions," the report notes. "Nearly any vendor that uses the term 'social networking' will at least get some consideration."

Forrester also predicts that vendors will continue to pour into the Web 2.0 market, but unlike the first wave of entrants, few in 2008 will be small or start-up vendors. Instead, it is larger, more established firms will begin offering Web 2.0 features.

On the services side, Forrester expects to see far greater demand for process engineering and change-management services than for systems integration "because many of the early adopters have reported much more difficulty with cultural change and adoption than with technology integration and optimisation," the report says.

While 42% of the more than 1,000 respondents say that Web 2.0 tools are not on their agendas for 2008, 6% say the tools are a critical priority and 18% say they are a priority. In addition, 20% say they have bought or would invest in social networking tools in the next 12 months, 27% say they had blogs or would buy blogs, and 29% say they had plans to or were already using wikis.