The debate on Web 2.0 within the enterprise is moving away from questions such as, what is it? and, why do we care? to a welcome new question: how do we implement it?
WebEx evangelist Gary Griffiths offers a couple of case histories in an overview at CIO.com. He shows how Sun Microsystems has managed to homesource over half its global workforce, using Web 2.0 technologies to keep the company in communication with itself.
“With the help of Web 2.0 technology and on demand collaboration tools Sun was able to create an open work environment, bridging geographies while enabling employees to work conveniently from anywhere, any time.” – Finding Real Value with Web 2.0 Technology
Griffiths adds the story of Subaru, who rolled out an innovative loyalty program across a network of 600 dealers for a fraction of traditional costs using Web 2.0 technologies. The benefits extended far beyond simple cost savings because the tools automatically created two knowledge-management assets: training became universally accessible on demand, and information was retained for reference.
The point to keep in view – and the essential point of Gary Griffiths’s article – is that Web 2.0 is a small term that carries a lot of different meanings to different people. And Web 2.0 tools are a large array of tools. The real questions to ask are these: which tools do we want? and to achieve which particular ends?
We can count on ITtoolbox contributors to share real-world, personal IT experiences that we can all learn from, and Dan Morrill, Security Project Manager with VMC Consulting, gives us a great story about one of the new Web 2.0 tools, how VMC has deployed it, and how it has benefited everyone who has used it. This then is the story of Pligg.
Pligg is a Digg clone that works in much the same way. Users bookmark webpages that they find interesting or useful and other members can either vote these stories up or bury them, using group consensus for ranking the quality of content, in the same way that Digg users vote on news stories and blog posts as they get submitted.
“We use Pligg as an externally facing social bookmarking site that allows a group of people to manage and upload stories they think are interesting. The site is externally facing as we have telecommuters and other folks who access and use the site. Its purpose is two fold, our customers can upload documents that they think are important, our workers can do the same, and internal/external trusted people can also upload their stuff.” – Using Pligg at Work as an easy Corporate Web 2.0 site
Because it’s designed to be a working news site, the Pligg install at VMC is constantly changing and being updated. The advantage for VMC keeping its clients updated on particular stories lies in being able to send one simple link, and clients can watch the evolving stories themselves. This is much more elegant than the usual constant barrage of email that includes links and updates.
So who at VCM uses the tool and who benefits from it? Morrill reports that a broad array of stakeholders are happy.
“Sales has an interesting new tool, one where they can send links to clients to talk about how other people are solving problems, without a pile of research, or other information. The information is deemed “honest” as it is coming from everywhere else, it is not internally generated.
“Marketing has an interesting new tool, they have access to a database of information on what is happening, and can share marketing stories on the system, and trend marketing news over time, as well as work on some key word functionality that has the database person all jazzed about full word indexes in MySQL.
“Management has a way of trending things that are happening based on what is in the database. As well as identifying bumps and bounces in types of reporting or under reporting (like the hack at TD Ameritrade was picked up by few, but the hack at TJ Maxx was picked up by many).”
We’ll continue looking at some of the different Web 2.0 tools next week.