Is Web 2.0 the Future for the Enterprise?

By Frank Ohlhorst  |  Print this article Print


Desktop-as-a-Service Designed for Any Cloud ? Nutanix Frame

Forrester Research predicts Web 2.0 technologies for the enterprise will be a $4.6 billion industry by 2013. Can the channel profit?

According to Forrester Research, the floodgates for Web 2.0 products are about to open.

Forrester claims that the major barrier for Web 2.0 to succeed in the enterprise is the corporate IT gatekeeper, who doesn’t want to let Web 2.0 technologies in the door.

The research house attributes that resistance to corporate IT pros wary of what they perceive as "consumer-grade" technology infiltrating the enterprise.

Therein lies the real dilemma--how does the channel sell services that many consider to be consumer oriented? I don’t buy the argument that IT departments are worried about consumer technology.

I attribute the resistance to something a little more tangible, IT staff head count. I can see why a corporate IT department would want to fight the onslaught of Web 2.0. The technology is actually perceived as something that will reduce the value of corporate IT and the associated internal empires that IT directors have worked so hard to build. Simply put, Web 2.0 means fewer technicians, support personnel, developers and managers in the corporate IT department.

Perhaps the best way to change this perception is to shift how Web 2.0 solutions are developed and deployed. Currently, most users equate Web 2.0 technology with free services such as Google maps or Google’s office products. The more sophisticated users associate Web 2.0 technology with commercial solutions, such as Salesforce.com. I think what needs to happen is for users to associate Web 2.0 with AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) applications, then Web 2.0 becomes less of a "service" idea and more of an "application" idea.

What’s the big deal you may ask? IT shops can deploy Web 2.0 applications inside the firewall and host those applications on internal servers.

That will move users away from traditional desktop applications and toward the brave new world of hosted applications. The benefits are many; desktop computers become less important in the enterprise. All users need is a compatible browser, and servers become even more important. After all, that is where the applications and associated data will truly live.

That concept will place more power in the data center, which is run by corporate IT, and create ample opportunity for a channel ready to sell new development tools, consulting and services to match.

I agree with Forrester that the floodgates are about to open. But it will be up to the creativity of the channel to master those waters and sell products and solutions that will benefit corporate IT and the channel. Now all we need are the development tools and know-how to make it happen.




Frank Ohlhorst Frank J. Ohlhorst is the Executive Technology Editor for eWeek Channel Insider and brings with him over 20 years of experience in the Information Technology field.He began his career as a network administrator and applications program in the private sector for two years before joining a computer consulting firm as a programmer analyst. In 1988 Frank founded a computer consulting company, which specialized in network design, implementation, and support, along with custom accounting applications developed in a variety of programming languages.In 1991, Frank took a position with the United States Department of Energy as a Network Manager for multiple DOE Area Offices with locations at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPL), Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), FermiLAB and the Ames Area Office (AMESAO). Frank's duties included managing the site networks, associated staff and the inter-network links between the area offices. He also served at the Computer Security Officer (CSO) for multiple DOE sites. Frank joined CMP Technology's Channel group in 1999 as a Technical Editor assigned to the CRN Test Center, within a year, Frank became the Senior Technical Editor, and was responsible for designing product testing methodologies, assigning product reviews, roundups and bakeoffs to the CRN Test Center staff.In 2003, Frank was named Technology Editor of CRN. In that capacity, he ensured that CRN maintained a clearer focus on technology and increased the integration of the Test Center's review content into both CRN's print and web properties. He also contributed to Netseminar's, hosted sessions at CMP's Xchange Channel trade shows and helped to develop new methods of content delivery, Such as CRN-TV.In September of 2004, Frank became the Director of the CRN Test Center and was charged with increasing the Test Center's contributions to CMP's Channel Web online presence and CMP's latest monthly publication, Digital Connect, a magazine geared towards the home integrator. He also continued to contribute to CMP's Netseminar series, Xchange events, industry conferences and CRN-TV.In January of 2007, CMP Launched CRNtech, a monthly publication focused on technology for the channel, with a mailed audience of 70,000 qualified readers. Frank was instrumental in the development and design of CRNTech and was the editorial director of the publication as well as its primary contributor. He also maintained the edit calendar, and hosted quarterly CRNTech Live events.In June 2007, Frank was named Senior Technology Analyst and became responsible for the technical focus and edit calendars of all the Channel Group's publications, including CRN, CRNTech, and VARBusiness, along with the Channel Group's specialized publications Solutions Inc., Government VAR, TechBuilder and various custom publications. Frank joined Ziff Davis Enterprise in September of 2007 and focuses on creating editorial content geared towards the purveyors of Information Technology products and services. Frank writes comparative reviews, channel analysis pieces and participates in many of Ziff Davis Enterprise's tradeshows and webinars. He has received several awards for his writing and editing, including back to back best review of the year awards, and a president's award for CRN-TV. Frank speaks at many industry conferences, is a contributor to several IT Books, holds several records for online hits and has several industry certifications, including Novell's CNE, Microsoft's MCP.Frank can be reached at frank.ohlhorst@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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