Blogs, Wikis, and BI (oh my)

Good article from the CIO of Eastern Mountain Sports, Jeffrey Neville, about how they are leveraging what he calls “Web 2.0” applications to improve collaboration and decision making in a retail environment: Adventures in X-Treme Web 2.0

(It’s been published on a number of different CMP properties – the link above is to Dr. Dobb’s Journal).

I think this is a great clear statement of the opportunity:

We know that end users have a high degree of experience in finding and sharing information. Outside of their work lives, they participate in online communities that routinely employ so-called Web 2.0 technologies such as RSS feeds, Weblogs, and wikis that let groups of people create content and exchange insights. Increasingly, users want to apply the same sorts of tools in the work environment, and to easily access data that’s tailored to the roles they play in the organization and the business metrics they influence.

I’ve been seeing this a lot in large enterprises, where business users are frustrated by the gap between what they see as highly usable online collaboration apps and the slow moving, hard to use enterprise collaboration tools they have to use “at work.”

Why is the gap in experience between editing an entry in Wikipedia and trying to change basic information in the average corporate intranet so high?

Part of it is the “rights” problem – who has the right to edit what content – but that cannot be the whole story.