Enterprise 2.0: Five Innovations the CIO Shouldn't Miss

Technology managers can't afford to ignore Web 2.0 collaboration technologies, such as blogs, social networking, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and converged communications.

It's easy to get caught up in the buzz and media hype surrounding Enterprise 2.0, but some of this is worth your attention. For the CIO, these five things are something to keep on your personal "innovation radar":

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1. "Blogs Away" With New Communication Techniques

Department newsletters and "From the desk of" e-mails are quickly becoming outdated ways of communicating what is on an executive's mind. Getting your ideas out there, vetting them and branding yourself is what blogging is all about—and more and more CXOs are taking advantage of this important Web 2.0 innovation.

2. Social Networking—It's Not Just for Kids!

How people relate online continues to evolve, and the latest incarnation is Facebook. It's an innovation that is worth keeping your eye on, and it has major implications for collaboration, online company directories and how the current generation entering the workforce expects to interact. This last consideration is probably the single biggest reason you need to take Facebook seriously. In addition, E2.0 social networking innovators like Facebook are on the leading edge of application integration—using mash-up technology to introduce new functionality quickly. At the core are software from Google (like AJAX and Google Mashup Editor) and Microsoft products (like Popfly and Silverlight).

3. Unified Communications

The latest new buzzword that is often said in the breath following "Enterprise 2.0." No doubt, Voice over IP (VoIP) phone systems have come of age. They bring with them functionality like e-mail/voice-mail integration, ease of use and maintenance, and computer/phone integration that only a call center manager could love. Microsoft's Office Communication Server and Cisco's Unified IP phones are leading the charge in one of the most watched changes of the guard since the Bolsheviks wiped out the Romanovs.

4. A Rolling MOSS Gathers No Stones

"Three's the charm" continues to be the mantra for Microsoft Product releases, and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) contributes to that folklore. First introduced in 2001 as SharePoint Team Services, then as SharePoint Server in 2003, the much more mature and ready-for-prime-time Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 is making major inroads within large corporations as the base for collaborative applications. Not unlike the early years of Lotus Notes, MOSS provides a framework for quick and easy applications that integrate data and workflow in a browser-based front end. And like Notes, it can be viewed as either a challenge to manage for IT shops or an important innovation catalyst for business processes. CIOs can't afford to miss this tidal wave, or they'll get swept under.

5. AAA: Anytime, Anywhere, Anybody

Underneath many Enterprise 2.0 technologies is the expectation that pervasive mobility allows unlimited access through handheld devices. Innovations like Apple's iPhone, 3G high-speed cellular wireless access and 802.11n Wi-Fi are leveraging Enterprise 2.0 technology to truly make the mobile office ride on two feet. There is no place to hide, unless you press the Off button....

Jack Santos is an executive strategist at the Burton Group and has more than 28 years of IT executive leadership specializing in bridging the gap between business needs and technological opportunity.

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