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STAMFORD, Conn., May 16, 2006 View All Press Releases

Gartner Says Web 2.0 Offers Many Opportunities for Growth, But Few Enterprises Will Immediately Adopt All Aspects Necessary for Significant Business Impact

Analysts Examine How Organizations Can Navigate Through the Web 2.0 Hype During Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, May 14-18, in San Francisco

While Web 2.0 offers many new opportunities for companies to grow their business, few enterprises realize how to implement the full range of capabilities to succeed. By 2008, the majority of Global 1000 companies will quickly adopt several technology-related aspects of Web 2.0, but will be slow to adopt the aspects of Web 2.0 that have a social dimension, and the result will be a slow impact on business, according to Gartner, Inc.

The challenge is that Web 2.0 is not just a set of technologies, but also has attributes that have a social dimension — new business models, user-contributed content and user-generated metadata, more open and transparent business process, simplicity in design and features and decentralized and participatory products and processes.

“While it is straightforward to add specific technologies, such as Ajax or RSS to products, platforms and applications, it is more difficult to add a social dimension,” said David Mitchell Smith, vice president and Gartner Fellow.

“Adding these new aspects requires rethinking the design of the system and possibly its target audience. It is therefore more challenging than a cosmetic makeover to the application via Ajax, because it can imply significant changes to the development process, business model and perhaps even the mission of the system under construction,” Mr. Smith said. “However, missing out on the non-technology aspects of Web 2.0 means that many organizations will also miss out on some of the positive business benefits.”

Gartner analysts discussed the reality and future implications of Web 2.0 at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo, which is taking place here through May 18.

Web 2.0 represents a fundamental shift toward a more open, flexible and participatory model for creating content systems and business models. Its application can reduce costs, enhance adaptability and create new business opportunities. However, success requires a structured evaluation of its impact on people, business process and technology.

“By enabling decentralized innovation, Web 2.0 catalyzes rapid user/consumer-driven change, which will accelerate market share growth for companies that exploit it,” Mr. Smith said. “Web communities provide rich new interactions among employees, business partners and customers that can either support or threaten the enterprise, depending on how these interactions are managed. In addition, Web architecture provides an adaptable technology model and requires significantly less-expensive infrastructure to deliver these benefits.”

Gartner analysts said the broad impact of Web 2.0 is potentially compelling and confusing and can be broken down into three key focal points that deal with technology issues, people issues and business issues:

  • Web Architecture focuses on the Web’s technology architecture and development model which is a subset of service-oriented architecture (SOA) that provides a globally linked, decentralized model that is network-centric and extensible. It is currently characterized by technologies such as Ajax and composite applications delivered as “mashups” — a Web site or Web application that combines content from one or more sources, such as merging Google Maps with data from Fandango.com.
  • Web Community focuses on the fundamental shift in how people are using technology to interact with one another and with businesses. Web community is a participatory approach in which users are not simply service and content consumers, but also act as content and application creators becoming networked collective intelligence. Web communities are characterized by the use of collaborative authoring models (wiki, blogs and podcasts) and social network community models (MySpace, TopCoder). As the number of participants and types of collaborative models continues to grow, power will increasingly shift to the consumer, forcing businesses to proactively market to and analyze community influencers.
  • Web Business focuses on the Web's business processes and deals with a fundamental shift in how businesses deliver value. It is distinguished by empowering third parties and consumers to repurpose content and services in new and unique ways. It relies on an open and extensible business ecosystem, embracing greater reliance on and collaboration with externalities. In addition, it employs new legal structures for IP such as open software licensing, as well as new economic paradigms such as advertising, usage and subscription, as well as derivative revenue models like revenue sharing. Web business models will enable nimble new competitors to succeed and challenge established enterprises to adapt to survive.

About Gartner Symposium/ITxpo

Gartner Symposium/ITxpo is the IT industry's largest and most strategic conference, providing business leaders with a look at the future of IT. For more than 10,000 IT professionals from the world's leading enterprises, Gartner's annual Symposium/ITxpo events are key components of their annual planning efforts. Attendees rely on Gartner Symposium/ITxpo to gain insight into how their organizations can use technology to address business challenges and improve operational efficiency.

In San Francisco, an integral part of the Gartner Symposium is the ITxpo showfloor, where more than 150 technology companies are showcasing the latest technology solutions. There are nine ITxpo marketplaces, including business applications and BPM, business intelligence and data warehousing, outsourcing and IT services and security. ITxpo marketplaces are focused areas designed to aggregate solution providers into a specific market and link conference topics to market solutions. Attendees can attend technology company presentations and schedule face to face meetings with exhibitors of their choice. For more information, please visit www.gartner.com/symposium/us

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