Jeff Nolan (SAP), Ross Mayfield (Socialtext) and Charlene Li (Forrester Research) were the speakers at the “SIG Software: Web 2.0 in the Enterprise” event this past Thursday in Santa Clara. After moderator Jeff Clavier (SoftTech VC) had unsuccessfully tried to decipher the “alphabet soup” of Web 2.0 applications, the panel soon became an open forum in a perfect example of true web 2.0 social interaction. An at times heated debate brought those who denied the game-changing nature of web 2.0 applications for the enterprise in opposition to those who consider it a radical disruption for the traditional players that they will hardly be able to ignore. But the wikipedia effect with its ‘wisdom of the crowds’ did not translate to the off-line world on this night so that one of the rare concise statements from the audience remained wishful thinking: “Web 1.0 meant you expected answers to your questions from someone else; Web 2.0 means all of us here giving you the answer to your question.”
If any, the key takeaways were: Wikis are conversations based on trust and therefore may or may not have a place in the strictly regulated enterprise architecture. The fact is that more and more professionals smuggle web 2.0 services into their organizations bypassing IT (as one panelist aptly noted, “The last time I went to IT they gave me a list with all the projects they would NOT implement this year.”) But it also seems true that there is still a long way to go before the enterprise comfortably places its data on third-party hosted services - with SAP (which works with Wikis hosted by Socialtext) and some others being the notable exception. Blogs, wikis, mash-ups and the like are only slowly making inroads to where the big money is. A recent Gallup survey found that still only 22 of the Fortune 500 companies run public blogs.
At the very end of the event one attendant brought some pragmatic light into the dogmatic speeches: "How do I make money with web 2.0?" he asked the panelists.
Zoli's Blog has a very detailed summary of the event