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Monday, October 22, 2007

MOSS 2007 is missing the point with web 2.0

7:42:00 AM Posted by Oscar Berg , , No comments
When introducing web 2.0 technologies for enterprise use, it is important to understand why web 2.0 technologies have been adopted by the masses. Web 2.0 is more than a bunch of new technologies – it represents a new paradigm in how people think and behave in how they use information technology. Much that was said about the web in the dotcom days (“the Internet revolution”) are actually happening today. Technology-wise, not much is new since the dotcom years. What is new is that the masses have adopted modern information technology and the Internet and practically made it to their own. Today, people are often faster at adopting new technologies than companies. They bring consumer technologies to work, they want to choose their own productivity tools (and do so) and see IT as a business thing rather than an IT department thing. To most people, IT is no longer an obscure thing.

So, back to what (I believe) made people finally adopt all these technologies. First of all, it has to do with the fact that people have a more relaxed and natural attitude towards information and technologies and the Internet today than they had a number of years ago. They are familiar with it. The barriers to adopt new technologies are lower. Secondly, the applications are much more user-oriented. They are aimed at serving the needs and wants of humans, not businesses. And – not the least – they are simple to learn and use.

In the hands of the old enterprise software giants, web 2.0 easily becomes a complex thing. Their ambition to extend and modernize their feature-packed software suits with web 2.0 applications and technologies might cause them to miss the whole point of web 2.0; the ease of use. At work, I am using MOSS 2007 and Microsoft Office 2007. Privately, I mostly use Google apps such as Docs & Spreadsheets, Blogger, Gmail and Calendar. The biggest difference between them is the ease of use. Blogging within MOSS 2007 is a disappointing experience and so is managing and collaborating on documents. Google’s Blogger and Docs & Spreadsheets easily beat them both (even though the Docs editor sucks). To be able to set up a blog in MOSS 2007 for a collaboration site, I had to go in to the obscure “Site Settings” section where I was overwhelmed with choices and strange terms. Sorry, Microsoft. You are missing the point with web 2.0. It is not about adding web 2.0 technologies such as blogs, wikis and RSS to your product specs. It is about ease of use and thinking like a user when you design a product. Office 2007 is certainly on the right track, but not MOSS 2007.

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