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PowerBuilder: Article

Two Doors to Enterprise Web 2.0 Adoption

Open source technologies like Spring and WaveMaker build unstoppable momentum

Chris Keene's "Keene View" Blog

Ben Worthen of the Wall Street Journal recently posted an entry about Web 2.0 adoption. He cited a Forrester survey that concluded Enterprise Web 2.0 solutions would gain broad adoption in 2008 despite clear CIO resistance to the siren call of blogs and wikis.

As a strong proponent of Web 2.0 in the enterprise, we at WaveMaker want very much to see a rapid adoption of these technologies at the corporate level. On the other hand, wishing won't make it so - the grab-bag of technologies and ideas that constitute Web 2.0 are bound to confuse the IT community.

There are two possible observations here:
  1. Damn the data, full speed ahead. Just like drug companies that sink a great deal of money into disappointing clinical trials that they then attempt to spin into medical break-throughs, analyst firms like Forrester won’t sell many copies of a Web 2.0 report that concludes Web 2.0 ain’t happening in the enterprise anytime soon. Thus there is a strong incentive for the report authors to refute their own data in the survey summary.
  2. Web 2.0 is being pulled into the enterprise, not pushed. Since the PC, all client-side technologies have been pulled into the enterprise by business users, not pushed into the enterprise by central IT. The main themes of Web 2.0 – rich interface, collaboration and user-driven content – have more to do with how users interact with their computers than with computer infrastructure.
At my WebGuild panel recently, Rod Johnson of SpringSource observed that open source technologies like Spring and WaveMaker build unstoppable momentum within the IT organization by solving fundamental problems that much bigger players either cannot or will not solve.

For Spring, the tailwind came the intractable complexity of the EJB standard that left developers desperate for a simpler, more lightweight java application server. For WaveMaker, the tailwind comes from the complete dearth of visual tools for web development that would enable MS Access, Lotus Notes and PowerBuilder developers to come out of the client/server dark ages and build the kinds of web-based applications that their end users want.

More Stories By Christopher Keene

Christopher Keene is Chairman and CEO of WaveMaker (formerly ActiveGrid). He was the founder, in 1991, of Persistence Software, a San Mateo, CA-based company that created a new approach for managing data in high-transaction banking and communications systems. Persistence Software investors included Cisco, Intel, Reuters and Sun Microsystems. The company went public in 1999 on the NASDAQ exchange and was sold in 2004 to Progress software.

After leaving Persistence Software in 2005, Chris spent a year in France as chairman of Reportive Software, a Paris-based maker of business-intelligence tools, and as an adjunct professor and entrepreneur-in-residence at INSEAD, a leading graduate business school.

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