The use of Web 2.0 technologies in businesses will only be successful if companies are able to develop strategies to support them with working practices, according to the latest Forrester Technology Leadership Forum.
Web 2.0 technologies, such as group wikis used to share information as part of collaboration, can adapt quickly to changes required by businesses. But because software applications have traditionally been deployed every three to five years, businesses have had far more time to prepare staff for changes.
"Because it was so hard to change software applications, they only got replaced or overhauled in a major way every five years. As a result, business analysts spent significant amounts of time nailing down every possible requirement and making trade-offs about which features to include," said Forrester analyst Connie Moore.
Web 2.0 applications are already entering enterprises, and companies need to develop strategies covering how they should be used and managed compared with traditional desktop-based applications. Software suppliers such as BEA, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle and SAP are all adding Web 2.0 to their portfolios because they add value, said Moore.
"Eventually, these tools will be assembled and embedded in a broader application fabric," she said.
"Business trends and new technologies are swirling around IT. Web 2.0, SOA, composite applications and business process management will all need a supporting strategy if they are to succeed in enterprise. Most business applications are too inflexible to keep pace with the businesses they support."
Moore recommends planning software lifecycles that involve business people in the design and evolution of applications.
"IT's primary goal during the next five years should be to invent a new generation of enterprise software that adapts to the business and its work and evolves with it," Moore said.