How To Cross The Chasm? - InformationWeek

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2/12/2009
06:20 PM
Irwin Lazar
Irwin Lazar
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How To Cross The Chasm?

One of the clear trends thus far in the IT industry is that many displaced workers are looking at contract work as a means to survive in these turbulent economic times. Fortunately, Web 2.0 and hosted applications such as Google Apps, Skype, Zoho, Gizmo, ThinkFree, Yugma, and FreeConferenceCall.com enable individuals to access a full suite of communication and collaboration applications that previously would have required a significant up-front and on-going investment. So how do these types of applications jump the gap from "useful for small groups or individuals" to "useful for large enterprise."

We've asked IT executives about their attitudes toward Web 2.0 applications during several rounds of interviews in recent months. What you tend to hear is "I use it at home, but we wouldn't consider these types of applications in our office environment." Why? In most cases it comes down to compliance and management. Storage of sensitive company documents in Google Apps for example is a non-starter (though it may be happening anyway). There's no way to track usage of many applications such as Skype. There's no ability for these applications to tie into the corporate directory meaning no centralized provisioning, and no revocation when an employee leaves the company. Support options are non-existent. And finally, features such as resource reservation, group calendaring, document encryption and versioning control are often lacking.

Maybe that's fine? Maybe the Web 2.0 app vendors are perfectly content going after the millions of consumer and small business opportunities out there. But if they want to challenge vendors such as Microsoft, IBM Lotus, and so on, they will have to spend a lot of time and effort to support the realities of the larger enterprise market.

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