Apple Embraces Web 2.0, But Some in Enterprise Fearful

Apple has embraced Web 2.0 as the core of its new iPhone technologies. However, some in the Enterprise are fearful of the open, collaborative Web 2.0, according to Linux World.

"Few technological shifts in recent memory have challenged corporate America the way Web 2.0 is doing right now," wrote Diann Daniel. "What if any role does Web 2.0 have in the enterprise?"

Answering that question can start uncomfortable conversations with CIOs who arenit happy with its openness and donit know how to fit it into their infrastructure. Or even comfortable with the way the world is supposed to operate.

"Web 2.0 technologies are coming in from the consumer space, and itis an interesting reversal," said John Hagel, longtime Web 2.0 consultant. He believes that "The norms, standards and mindset of the Web 2.0 crowd are quite different from the typically older current C-suite." [Referring to C-level executives, CEO, CIO, COO, CTO, etc.]

The scary part of Web 2.0 is that it infringes on the historical IT control and power. That creates problems in a modern knowledge-based environment. "Part of the job of a CIO is to create policies that prevent artificial pockets of power based on secrets and individuals exploiting power and not sharing it," said JP Rangaswami CIO of Global Services at British Telecom, a passionate supporter of Web 2.0 and open source. "Personally I want to see those pockets of power destroyed."

The problem will become more and pronounced as college students, trained on collaborative tools, cell phones, MySpace, texting, IM, wikis and so on move into corporate America where information hoarding and secrecy is sometimes the norm. "Not considering [Web 2.0 tools] is like saying weire not considering e-mail. Itis another mode of communication that you can use for streamlining, outreach and information gathering," said Sylvia Marino, executive director of Edmundsi

Not only will the next generation of new hires demand these kinds of collaborative tools, the customers of the companies who hire them will as well. A study by Booz Allen said, "Web 2.0 seems to cut across age and gender and -- more importantly to businesses -- it influences purchase decisions. The studyis conclusion: "The need to evolve existing business models by integrating the Web 2.0 environment is urgent."

Appleis youthful culture is certainly one of the driving forces behind the iPhone and its Web 2.0 support. Once again, by embracing Open Standards, Apple is driving the technical flow in many cases, especially small to medium business where reports claim theyire gaining market share.

A few stalwart companies may decide to drag their feet with Web 2.0, but they could be left behind, wondering why their customers and business have drifted away to another, younger generation.