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I’ve seen a
number of conference flyers recently that talk about "developing your Web
2.0 strategy" for your Intranet. It set me wondering
if an organisation have such a thing as a separate Web 2.0 strategy – in the sense
of an agreed roadmap for the next few years?
Generally, when a substantial change is taking place, it does make sense to have a structured
approach that involves all stakeholders and asks the usual good questions: why?
Where? When? and Who? This applies if the change is internally driven (e.g. to
improve supply chain efficiency) or due to external circumstances (an economic
downturn is an example that springs to mind).
Having a Web 2.0
strategy will allow an organisation to focus efforts – avoiding duplication of
effort and sharing knowledge gained. Without it there’s a risk that users
become confused with multiple innovations all offering similar features, for
example. It also means that resources can be pooled, so that infrastructure can
be properly supported rather than ‘best efforts’ by an enthusiast.
I can see two
different camps that would counsel against a specific Web 2.0 strategy,
will say that Web 2.0 should not be treated as something apart from what the
organisation already has or is trying to achieve. A wiki, for example, is an
approach to content management, so to have a strategy for wikis that is set
apart from that for content management just creates parallel systems and
potential conflict. Much better to have strategies for outcomes – Communication
and Collaboration, for example, and use the most appropriate tool, whatever the
The ‘Liberals’, for
quite different reasons, would argue that the whole spirit of Web 2.0 is to
experiment and see what happens. Devising a strategy misses the point. It is
both lumbering and risks losing the very benefits that Web 2.0 can bring:
freedom from a top-down way of thinking.
on the fence
My own feeling is
that organisations worry too much about re-inventing the wheel. If you relax
control and let it happen – who knows – you might end up with a better wheel!
You at least have more people that have learned something about how wheels are
made. Therefore in the early stages, the
‘strategy’ for Web 2.0 should be to allow experimentation with low-cost,
easily-started approaches and focus on learning from what happens. The strategy
should also be clear what will happen when something starts to take off. At
that point it makes sense to think about a longer-term perspective and ensure
it integrates both with the IT ecosystem and also the business direction.