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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 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.