If you were interviewing someone for a position with your company and they admitted that they didn't know anything about the new trends and innovations taking place in their field, what would you think? Likely, what you would think is "next candidate, please." In today's business world, job-seekers are expected to stay current with the happenings taking place in their area of interest. There was a time when those happenings were very much job-specific and anything having to do with technology fell squarely on the shoulders of I.T. That time has passed. Web 2.0 technologies lifted the veil of mystery surrounding computing technology and made it accessible to everyone. Today, if you're not staying current with Web 2.0 technologies' impact on business, then you're just not staying current. Period.

Web 2.0 Is Everywhere

No matter which department you're in, Web 2.0 technologies have had an impact. If you've been ignoring their prevalence and adoption, you're at risk of falling behind in your career and your business is at risk of losing ground to its competitors who are tuned into this trend.

Here at ReadWriteWeb, we deliver news about Web 2.0's impact on business in addition to news about web technologies in general. Depending on your area of interest, you can find a lot of great information on this subject in our archives. Or simply bookmark this post for easy reference.

Document Collaboration Suites

GroupSwim is an innovative company which has created an intelligent community building and collaboration SaaS solution. They aim to connect individuals and build knowledge utilizing social based methodologies. Read more.

DreamFactory's suite of Enterprise 2.0 applications consists of a Project Management module, a Time and Expense Module, a Document Manager, and a Team Calendar. Originally, the company was available on Amazon Web Services, but now DreamFactory's software will be available on Intuit's QuickBase platform, too. Read more.

Box.net offers collaboration functionality which allows any Box.net user can invite collaborators to any folder in their account. The collaboration feature is also fully compatible with all the OpenBox services, which extends online collaboration beyond just word processor documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, similar to what Google Docs currently offers. Read more.

The term groupware refers to applications that facilitate real-time communication, coordination and collaboration amongst groups of people. A number of startups are working hard to develop the nascent groupware market, so in this post we identify some of those startups and provide an overview of where the market is heading...read more.

What's the Deal With Wikis?


Only a handful of years ago, it was common to hear people laugh at Wikipedia. Anyone can edit it! How could you take it seriously? These days, just as blogs are, wikis are on their way to winning a reputation as serious publishing platforms. Wikis are now serious business. Read more.



Atlassian Confluence, makers of one of the most popular enterprise wiki solutions, offers Microsoft Office and SharePoint integration in their release of the Confluence 2.9 software. With these new tools, users no longer have to know the technicalities of wiki markup or even how to use the included rich-text WYSIWYG editor in order to make changes to the wiki - they can simply open up a Microsoft Office document instead. Read more.

WetPaint, a popular hosted Wiki solution, provides person-to-person and private messaging between users of their Wiki network. This means that Wetpaint Wiki users can now send single or multi-person private messages, to connect and collaborate with others about their interests. This post introduces wikis and discusees who is using them and for what purpose.First, wikis are described and then the range of wiki products in the market right now is explored. Read more.

Leave it to people in the wiki market to know how to collaborate. Nearly 20 different wiki providers have teamed up to offer a new Firefox extension that will notify users whenever they are on a page that is publicly editable, using a standard icon that sits in the same place the RSS autodiscovery icon appears. Clicking on the icon (img. on the left) will take you to that page's editing interface. Read more.




What's Office 2.0?


Web Office Defined: A Web Office suite is a combination of productivity, publishing and collaboration features. A Web Office both embraces the functionality of desktop office suites (e.g. Microsoft Office) and extends it by using Web Native features. Read more.




The State of Office 2.0: Over the past 10 years, Corel, Sun, IBM and others have tried to compete with Microsoft in the office software business, but thus far none of them have been able to take a significant chunk of Microsoft's large market share, which generates revenues exceeding $15 billion each year. These companies have tried everything; including Sun open sourcing their StarOffice suite and releasing it as the free OpenOffice. Yet, even this very compelling move has not been able to make a serious dent in the market. Read more.

Microsoft announced their Office Live Workspace is publicly available for everyone to access. The site, a free web-based extension of Microsoft Office, lets you access your documents online and share your work with others. Some say that the service's launch is a direct response to Google's entry into the web office space with their Google Docs online service. If that's so, then the question now is: did Microsoft just trump Google Docs? Or does Google Docs still rule online office suites? Read more.

The Web Office was a market that underwent a lot of changes in 2007. Our definition of Web Office is: A Web Office suite is a combination of productivity, publishing and collaboration features. A Web Office both embraces the functionality of desktop office suites (e.g. Microsoft Office) and extends it by using Web Native features. The 2007 year in review: Read more.

This is the perspective of a "skeptical, later early adopter"; the sort of person who Microsoft needs to retain and should have been able to retain easily. I don't spend time on productivity tools that may at some date make me more productive, but which today are just a frustrating time sink. That describes the majority of people. MS Office can be annoying, but it does work. So any serious alternative has to offer a significant advantage and at the same time make adoption a total breeze. Read more.

EditGrid, the main product of HongKong-based company Team and Concepts (TnC) Ltd., is a leading Web 2.0 online spreadsheet service that focuses on online collaboration and interoperability. Read more.

eXpresso was named as one of PC World's 25 Most Innovative Products of the Year for 2007. PC World succinctly summed the product up: "[it] allows Excel users to share their spreadsheets, online or off." eXpresso is different from the web office contenders that you normally hear about on ReadWriteWeb for three reasons...Read more.

Zimbra is looking to expand its platform to the iPhone. Recently they announced Zimbra Mobile for iPhone 2.0. Zimbra Mobile for iPhone 2.0 will allow iPhone users over-the-air two-way synchronization of e-mails, calendar, contacts, and photos between user mailboxes and mobile devices, and seamless "push" e-mail service for all Zimbra Collaboration Suite users. Read more.

News from the Office 2.0 conference in San Francisco, 2008. Read more.

What's Happening in the Enterprise 2.0 Space?


A report released by Forrester Research is predicting that enterprise spending on Web 2.0 technologies is going to increase dramatically over the next five years. This increase will include more spending on social networking tools, mashups, and RSS, with the end result being a global enterprise market of $4.6 billion by the year 2013. Read more.

Enterprise 2.0 is Happening: If you're a business who has been ignoring the Web 2.0 trend and the spread of social media: look out, the tide is shifting and you're about to be left behind. The rise of social media didn't happen overnight, the power of the internet to unite people, the ubiquity of broadband, the rise of Gen Y, the development of new technologies for socializing on the web - all of these things and more have led to the rise of social media. And this new force is affecting change in the way that companies do business - now and for many years to come.

The break-up of behemoth, vertically integrated enterprises commenced in the 1970's, got a boost from junk bond financing in the 1980's, and accelerated in the 1990's with globalization. Now, late in the 2000's, Social Media (aka Web 2.0) is adding another gear that will accelerate the fundamental restructuring of the enterprise. Read more.

Most enterprise software sucks. That is my considered opinion from 30 years in the software biz. Words that come to mind are: bloated, inflexible and user hostile. The good news is that it is getting better, a lot better. The driver for change is what I call the consumerization of enterprise software. These new software champions typically have some if not all of these 8 main attributes...Read more.

The Enterprise 2.0 Launch Pad program is a program that allows companies to showcase their products and compete for the opportunity to present their ideas to the community at this year's Enterprise 2.0 Conference. This competition, organized by Stowe Boyd, began in April when companies were invited to post their video pitches to the E2 web site. After the community voted, the list of contenders was narrowed down to five finalists who will now compete for the final spot. For that grand prize winner, the prize is free exhibit space at the upcoming conference. Read more.

SharePoint to run Enterprise 2.0? 9 companies are saying "yes," having recently launched Enterprise 2.0 offerings that integrate with SharePoint technology. If there's one thing that any I.T. pro knows it's the value of "maximizing their investment" in whatever servers they run, technology they use, or services they've signed up for. With strict budgets in place, no I.T. purchases are bought on a whim. Instead, each decision is researched, tested, thoughtfully considered, and, if worthy, purchased, then rolled out to become a part of the I.T. infrastructure. SharePoint is no exception. Read more.

Is 2.0 Affecting My Industry?

Yes! Check out the examples below of Web 2.0's impact on various industries and fields.

Finance/Banking


Google is announced that after more than a year of work on the problem, Google Finance is now offering real-time price quotes for any stock traded on NASDAQ. Read more.

Strands, the recommendation and lifestreaming service we've written about here before, announced a much anticipated deal that will put it in the driver's seat for financial recommendations served up to millions of online banking customers around the world. The company's recommendation test-case in music is no longer all they will be known for around the world. Read more.

We reported on a survey that revealed that 48% of online banking customers between the ages of 18 and 34 would be interested in using "secure gadgets for personal banking" if their bank offered them. More than a quarter of bank customers would consider switching to another bank if it took better advantage of web 2.0 technologies. While that survey was flawed in some ways, there is another access point to banking information that customer may want more than secure widgets: mobile. Read more.

48% of Bank Customers Want Web 2.0 Gadgets. WorkLight, a startup that offers enterprise 2.0 products, recently did a survey among Facebook users to find out their willingness to use Web 2.0 tools for secure banking. The survey was conducted among 1000 Facebook users between the ages of 18-34. The fact that the survey was conducted among Facebook users gives it a bias towards tech-savvy people. However there are some surprising findings. Read more.

Accounting


Online Accounting: State of the Market: Accounting software for small business and personal use is increasingly moving from the desktop to online. However, compared to other office software, this transition to online has been relatively slow. Partly that's due to user reticence: writing a document online and sharing it with others (via Google Docs, Office Live, Zoho, or whatever you use) is one thing. Entering sensitive financial information into your browser is harder to adjust to. Read more.



Project Management


Add this one to your web office toolkit - LiquidPlanner is an online, hosted project management tool that lets you access and update projects anywhere you have an internet connection. The service offers you and your team a complete project environment, social networking and collaboration features, and a probabilistic scheduling engine which tells you the probability of completing each task - and ultimately the entire project - by a certain date. With everything organized into a centralized dashboard that can be customized for each team member, everyone on your team can stay focused on their tasks and how they relate to the project as a whole. Read more.

The Clarizen project management software came out of stealth mode last year and has now just launched a new version with additional features. The latest version, Clarizen v 2.0, will be demoed at the "Under the Radar Conference," an event held on Microsoft's campus whose current theme is "The Business of Web Apps: Where the Web Goes to Work." Read more.

Enterprise 2.0 is a rapidly growing trend that takes the concepts and tools of social media (social networking, RSS, wikis, blogs, etc.) and re-purposes them for business use, wrapping them up into applications that make the tools at work seem more like the tools we use in our day-to-day lives. While these enterprise 2.0 apps give us that web 2.0 feel, it's rarer to see actual Web 2.0 services like Facebook or Twitter used by businesses. And although we've seen many people promoting the business use of Twitter, we had not yet heard about anyone actually going so far as to integrate Twitter into a non-consumer focused application. However, that's just what Joint Contact has done. Their PM tool now shows how tweeting can actually be a productive activity. Read more.

37Signals offers a range of applications, from simple, single-function apps like Ta-Da Lists (to-do lists), Writeboard (collaborative word processor), and Campfire (group chat) to more complicated apps like Basecamp (project management) and Highrise (group contact manager). Read more.

Health


Health 2.0, web-based apps and services for the healthcare sector, is a nascent but potentially huge market for web 2.0. As of now, many of these apps have an emphasis on communication, information sharing and community. These are relatively easy things to address using Web tools. However we're starting to see health 2.0 apps try to tackle the enormous inefficiencies in the healthcare system - check out our description of Carol.com below. Also, in the longer term, we will see the Web being used in medical diagnosis and practice. Read more.

The Health 2.0 Conference is reviewed here and some of the health web apps that caught our eye as well as trends that are discussed. Read more.

Google announced the public availability of Google Health, after initially launching as a closed beta back in February. It is described as "a safe and secure way to collect, store, and manage [your] medical records and health information online" and is being positioned as a way for users to control their own medical records. Read more.

HR


Traditional resumes are boring. They become stale and out-of-date, they can't really showcase your work or achievements, and they end up just sitting in the bottom of someone's inbox. A paper resume, while professional, doesn't really let an employer get to know you. Many sites are trying to solve the problems of traditional resumes by providing job seekers a new way to stand out in the crowd. Read more.

The iPhone has been making headway in its battle to become a business-ready tool. Obviously, the addition of Microsoft Exchange support was a big step towards being considered a viable alternative to the traditional smartphones used at work, like Blackberry and Windows Mobile. However, beyond simply supporting enterprise email, the iPhone platform has a lot of potential to cater to the needs of its business users, too. Read more.

LinkedIn has an audience that is both younger (41 vs 48) and richer ($106k vs $98K). LinkedIn was also naturally crowing about their growth (189% for year ending Oct. '07) and the chart from Nielsen which shows comparative Facebook growth at 125%. Note that Facebook growth is from a higher base and the law of large numbers applies, but Facebook has always crowed about their growth rates vs the larger MySpace, so they have to live with growth rate comparisons to LinkedIn now. Read more.

Marketing


Viral marketing, user-generated content, online buzz: over the past few years, these terms have been representative of a new way of marketing to consumers that takes advantage of the current popularity of the social web. This new technique involves companies encouraging its customers to create content of their own in order to generate interest in the company's brand. Unfortunately, one of the potential side effects of this strategy is the potential for negative buzz. Despite this fact, a surprisingly low percentage of marketers are monitoring for negative responses. Read more.

Using the new pilot program from a company called Involver, Kiva launched a video campaign on Facebook to draw users to their site to lend directly to these developing nations. The video even features a button that appears at the end of the video encouraging you to "lend" money. Read more.

Mobile marketing startup, TextBound, has big plans to make text messages the new mass media for advertisers. Like we mentioned earlier, more and more companies are going to be betting on location based mobile ads this year, and TextBound hopes to capitalize on this trend. But unlike mobile social network/marketing vehicle, Fluc, TextBound isn't about connecting with your friends, it's about delivering ads to your cell phone via text message, then taking you to the mobile web for more details. Read more.

Recently, HiveLive announced a new partnership with Responsys, a marketing firm whose client list includes some big-name brands like Apple and Salesforce.com. Enterprise 2.0 is sure to follow. What Responsys offers their customers are on-demand email and marketing solutions that can be anything from web sites to email to mobile. With the new partnership with HiveLive, they can expand that offering to include enterprise social networks. Read more.

Widget platform Clearspring has an ad network that will allow widget publishers to monetize their widgets with advertising. The ads run inside widgets and come in a variety of formats. Clearspring has already inked deals with some of their largest widget publishers to run ads, including the NHL, 20th Century Fox, Lionsgate Films, Blockbuster, and Virgin Mobile. Read more.