The interactive web applications


Introduced in 2004, Web 2.0 is a terminology commonly associated with interactive web applications like information sharing, interoperability, user-centred design, and collaboration on the World Wide Web. Some of the examples of Web 2.0 include web based communities, web applications, social networking sites, video sharing sites, wikis, blogs etc.. .The most significant aspect of A Web 2.0 site is it allows its users to interact with other users .In most of the cases it is also possible to change the content of websites in contrast to other websites where passive viewing of information leads to no interaction.

The nomenclature of the technology seems to suggest that it is a new version of the World Wide Web but it is not an update over previous technologies rather a collaborative and cumulative change in the ways the software developers and end users use the Web.

FROM WEB 1.0 TO 2.0

  • Coined in 1999 by Darcy DiNucci, in her article Fragmented Future, where she argued that the Web is fragmenting due to the widespread use of portable Web-ready devices. The article aimed at designers, to remind them to code for an ever increasing variety of hardware. Thus it was not relevant to the current day usage of the term.
  • In 2003, when used by some of the authors, it was put across as making web universal standards based integration platform.
  • In 2004, the first Web 2.0 conference was hosted by O Reilly Media and Media Live. The organizers John Battelle and Tim O'Reilly in their opening remarks outlined their definition of the "Web as Platform", where software applications are built upon the Web as opposed to upon the desktop. In this scenario,it's the customers who are building the businesses by generating content(in the form of ideas, text, videos , or pictures that could be harnessed to create value.
  • Thereafter O'Reilly's Web 2.0 conferences have been held every year since 2004, attracting entrepreneurs, large companies, and technology reporters .Bloggers technology journalists have championed the term Web 2.0 by bloggers resulting in the 2006 TIME magazine Person of The Year - "You" That is, TIME selected the masses of users who were participating in content creation on social networks, blogs, wikis, and media sharing sites.
  • Web 2.0 has found a place in the lexicon; the Global Language Monitor recently declared it to be the one-millionth English word.

Key Features of the Web 2.0 Framework

The Web 2.0 Framework shows how valuable outcomes are created from participation.


The inputs to Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 are users' activities and contributions. Most obviously this includes content that they have submitted. However, perhaps the most important contribution is people's opinions expressed by their online activities. In an enterprise context this can be extremely valuable as a basis for guiding information access.


There are a variety of platforms and mechanisms that enable value to be created from the inputs of participation. These include the recombination of different data sources or applications, collaborative filtering to identify what would be of interest to people with a particular profile or set of interests, and syndication to enable the flow of information to where it will be of most use.

Emergent outcomes

What is most valuable will vary depending on the organization. These outcomes are emergent in that they cannot be fully planned, however it is very useful for executives to consider what will specifically be the most valuable, particularly in providing staff with better access to information and resources that will help them in their work.


Users can achieve a lot more than retrieving information while using Web 2.0. The interactive facilities of Web 1.0 can be used as a platform to build upon software applications that can run entirely through the browser. Users can have their own the data on a Web 2.0 site and exercise control over that data. The whole idea of participation encourages the user to add value to the application they are using. However, it is impossible to exclude group members who don't contribute to the provision of goods that may give rise to the members' free riding on the contribution of others.

The basic characteristics of Web 2.0 are:

  • Rich user experience
  • User participation
  • Decentralization
  • Dynamic content
  • User Control
  • Modularity
  • Metadata
  • Web standards and scalability
  • Further characteristics, such as openness, freedom and collective intelligence by way of user participation, can also be viewed as essential attributes of Web 2.0.


It is basically a terminology to bring web 2.0 activities to the organization .Today's business rules are defined by enterprise 2.0. The importance of enterprise 2.0 can be explained by the following schematic representation.


The use of web 2.0 in companies across the globe has increased thanks to the realisation that web 2.0 can help in delivering a lot of benefits especially in the areas of innovation, communication, efficiency and customer development.

In the public arena, the usage of social networking sites such as Facebook and Orkut is on the rise. On the other hand blogging, media sharing isn't as wide spread as it in certain western countries. However, the usage rates for these technologies are also witnessing a healthy rise.

The trend is yet to gather steam in corporate India though. In IT companies across the country, social networking websites aren't used to the extent feasible essentially because they (Facebook, Twitter)are banned in order to improve productivity at work. While this may be a matter of policy, there are no alternative ways to encourage the use of social media within Indian IT companies.

According to Chief Information Officers, some of the major hindrances to the adoption of web 2.0 technologies are as follows:

  • Lack of budget
  • Lack of clarity on business objectives
  • Issues of integrating various systems and applications within the organization
  • Handling data security issues
  • Lack of skilled IT professionals

Indian companies operating in the web 2.0 arena must also change their revenue models from an ad-based framework to an e-commerce based setup in order to encourage the use of web 2.0 technologies within the country.

Lack of infrastructure is also an issue as the country has low internet penetration, limited bandwidth and a low adoption rate of hardware devices such as web cameras which are required for developing rich content.

Bias towards traditional forms of information exchange such as e-mails amongst top executives also hampers the proliferation of web 2.0 technologies. Top managers are also worried about loss of control and power if they bring in web 2.0 technologies in to the firm.

Yet bodies such as the Nasscom are actively promoting the use of web 2.0 within organizations. According to Nasscom, web 2.0 can benefit Indian companies in the following ways.

  • Easy to use tools can help improve efficiency and effectiveness of projects that create applications and provide back office support
  • New business opportunities will open up because web 2.0 can help companies develop free to low cost business models
  • Talents of the programming community abroad can be used for solving technical problems
  • Companies can also use web 2.0 technologies to create a buzz about the latest marketing campaigns of companies. This can help in developing positive opinions amongst customers for a company's products.
  • Since most of the Indian tech companies have been doing business for around a decade now, organizational resistance to implementation of web 2.0 technologies should also be lower.

Given this, attitudes towards web 2.0 technologies are changing. Chief Information Officers across the country are now hoping to increase IT investments in this domain as this can help their employees improve productivity, have better access to organization wide information, etc.

Some companies have taken a lead in this regard.

For example, a leading watch making company in India is using web 2.0 technologies to spread awareness about its range of products and improve the brand image in the eyes of its customers.


A company that dived head first into adopting enterprise 2.0 is Accenture, a global consulting firm.

Accenture is a $22 billion, global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company that sees social networking approaches to collaboration as critical to engaging their increasingly specialized, mobile, and distributed workforce. Accenture has implemented a sophisticated social computing environment and the company is driving Enterprise 2.0 with features such as micro-blogging, communities of practice, and enterprise social profiles. In 2007, Accenture went live with "a new global employee network that looks much like Facebook,." After discovering how easy it was to find content on Youtube, no matter how novice or unheard of the content creator, Rippert, CTO of Accenture, wondered why finding information on their corporate database and archives was next to impossible. The key to solving the mystery lay in the way social media and web 2.0 applications use and promote tagging of content. So in a similar manner that enables tagging; the idea of users adding value and assisting searches via tags was conceived.

After introducing the online global network within Accenture, the company then introduced several other web 2.0 tools that they transformed/reinvented into their own enterprise 2.0 tools. These include a wiki called Accenturepedia and a video-based knowledge sharing system called AccentureTube (borrowing its name from web 2.0 site YouTube). Accenturepedia runs much like any other wikis allowing employees access to centralised data to which they can contribute themselves. AccentureTube acts as one large internal video database which users can upload work-related content, tag it and share amongst colleagues. The idea was to keep the system familiar (by borrowing ideas from YouTube), to enhance and promote its use.

Continuing, the Enterprise 2.0 tools used by Accenture are as follows:


Accenture cashed in on the familiarity of Facebook among its employees to create a new global employee network that looks much like the social networking website.

Accenture has a tool which allows each employee to search other employees in the organization and find out the reporting structure of the organization i.e., the employees reporting to the person being searched are displayed and the service line manager to whom the person being searched reports to is also displayed. The level of reporting all the way to the President is shown. This helps in finding people working under a service line, say Financials. This also helps in escalating the issues to the employee's manager when a problem arises.

The tree structure is also shown for different projects i.e, when a person works for different projects, the reporting structure for each project is visible to the user. This helps in knowing whom to contact when issue arises with an employee.


Accenture makes use of Performance Workspace, that uses data and functionality from core business applications like Financials, CRM, SCM with knowledge repository, expert directories, and other components to multiply the revenues from already completed work. For instance, the implementation of the Performance Workspace for BT Retail's call center drove a 25% improvement in productivity and a 75% time-to-competency improvement.


Innovation Grapevine is one of the research projects being pursued by Accenture which helps create "virtual experts" out of crowds of less-experienced people. This "Wisdom of Crowds" approach will come in handy in those areas where there is scarce expertise.


The experts in the organization maintain blogs and share their knowledge on different new methods to solve problems that may arise in programming, developing web interface, etc. Other employees can post their queries on these blogs and get responses within a day


This tool was developed when Accenture developed a Wiki for its banking client which used it to collect ideas from employees for transforming the bank. Accenturepedia is the wiki used in the company.

Later on Accenture created a successful wiki which is being run by the Accenture Delivery Architectures group, which with 50 people developed some 1,500 pages of best practices material over the course of nine months


Folksonomies as they are called in Accenture are used to index words manually to solve knowledge management problems. This idea sprung from a thought that while an amateur video could be easily searched on YouTube, a video of corporate presentation in a business's archives is almost impossible to fine. The idea was to allow every user to tag content. For example, one could search through existing categories for a word that fits in the knowledge base. If that is not found, he could create his own word and add it to the list of words and tag the document with that new category. Since the existing categories remain intact, this will not cause "drift" problems i.e, inter-indexer consistency problems.


AccentureTube, as is called in the company, this tool helps to create an interface wherein users can upload work-related content, tag it and share amongst colleagues. The videos are stored in one large internal video database. This is similar to what is done in youtube.

In terms of the Wikinomics business models (Peering, Being Open, Sharing and Acting Globally), Accenture has been able to achieve all of these goals internally. The company was already global so by offering the enterprise 2.0 tools without pressure they fostered and promoted global interactions amongst their employees. This in turn led to peering, in that the different facets of the company could collaborate, find each other and communicate ideas easily. In terms of interacting with their community, Accenture is miles ahead in terms of sharing their innovations, research and experiences across a broad range of fields including their adoption of enterprise 2.0 via their website. They are actively being open and sharing their information to the wider community via blogs, podcasts and downloadable documents.

Accenture's enterprise 2.0 ventures can also be compared to theSLATES paradigmas proposed by Andrew McAfee. Firstly,searchingwas made easier by the ability for employees to tag media with keywords. Secondly,linkingwas accelerated by giving the masses the ability to edit wikis, tag media and so forth hence creating a dense link structure in their intranet. Thirdly, employees were given the ability toauthor. They can edit, create and contribute to the Accenturepedia wikis. This also steams from the inherent nature of web 2.0 being about collaboration, the network effect and users adding value (some patterns identified by Tim O'Reilly as being at the heart of web 2.0).Tagging was delivered by Accenture as discussed earlier to categorise and give relevance to content so that user could find and gain information more quickly.Extensions come of course with tagging, the AccentureTube if similar to YouTube, would use tags to offer relevant and similar types of video content to the user in a side pane, extending extra content to them.Signallingwould be integrated into their enterprise 2.0 tools to enable users to quickly view what has changed and what content has been added. This could come in the form of RSS feeds or email updates to changes in a wiki they are monitoring.

Thus, Accenture infrastructure covers the social, emergent and freeform nature of E2.0 and its fully web-based nature allows information to be addressable and reusable.

Benefits of Implementation

Productivity and efficiency

With the implementation of Web 2.0, people and teams work more effectively through quicker access to resources and easier collaboration. Also, Enterprise 2.0 tools are extremely relevant to streamlining project management across all domains. Since, Accenture has businesses across multiple domains; implementation of Enterprise 2.0 would have led to increased productivity and efficiency.

Reduced E-mail overload

Migrating some kinds of organizational communication outside email leads to greater personal efficiency and also reduces the load on the bandwidth. Accenture, being a large organization, must have acquired this benefit.

Improved Team Performance

Interaction through intranet accelerates team interaction and builds trust among team members. This would lead to increased productivity and efficiency of the company.

Better internal communication

Through an internal networking portal of a company, there is more efficient dissemination of information to employees and communication across the organization.

More Effective Learning and Development

Enterprise tools both provide easier access to content and better connectivity for shared learning.

Attractiveness as an employer

Younger staff in particular judge potential employers by how innovative and open they are. Uptake of web technologies is often seen as an indicator of a progressive culture. This makes the employer more attractive for a potential employee.

Improved firm reputation

Innovative approaches create leadership position with an industry and with clients and business partners. By implementing Enterprise 2.0, the reputation of Accenture in the industry and outside it increased by leaps and bounds. Also, Web 2.0 technologies are highly effective in promoting thought leadership content and building visibility for the firm and key executives.

Risks Faced In Implementing Enterprise 2.0

  1. Information Loss: Confidential and competitive information can be leaked.
  2. Loss of control of information flows: Executives can no longer control the flow of information in organizations
  3. Negative internal comments: Individuals make negative or inappropriate comments on discussion forums or other public communication.
  4. Bandwidth overused: Overuse of video sharing sites or other tools can result in additional bandwidth costs

Problems Faced In Implementing Enterprise 2.0

  1. Ease of use: It must be very easy to use or else the users will not be willing to participate.
  2. Incentives: There need to be incentives in place. These may take the form of prizes, explicit recognition, or just the opportunity to perform well in front of peers and superiors. These incentives are hard to devise for Enterprise 2.0 tools as one cannot monitor the quality of collaboration all the time.
  3. Novelty: the first time it's attempted, a crowd-sourcing exercise may be attractive simply because it is new. But later on, the crowd might lose interest if interesting stuff is not there.
  4. Motivation: There is no pressure on employees to work on such tools. Hence employees who are driven purely by money will not care about such tools.
  5. Old habits die hard: The new ways to search will replace the old way of doing things and employees will have little choice about using them. Few employees might resist because they are used to the old systems.
  6. Social networking: Emphasis might shift towards social networking rather than collaboration. This can be harmful for the organization as networking could take precedence over the architecture of participation.
  7. Index consistency: The problem with Tags is inter-indexer consistency. It is hard to consistently index huge chunks of material— a problem that results in significant difficulties for searchers. When millions of employees create and apply index words, the problems with consistency and redundancy (and hence search) will be significantly magnified.
  8. Embarrassment: Unmonitored blogging can lead to embarrassing situations if employees criticize their employer or its competitors. However, when bloggers regularly highlight perceived faults in their products and strategy, it will make many of its bloggers quite credible with stakeholders—an important benefit to the company as it tries to convey its messages.
  9. Loss of sensitive data: One major risk associated with unmonitored blogging is the transformation of a company into a "transparent organization"—unable to keep certain kinds of sensitive information privately. This will lead to lot of leaks in terms of clues about the organization's activities.
  10. Emulating Wikipedia is difficult: It will be nearly impossible to emulate a "superwiki" like Wikipedia, to which hundreds or thousands of employees contribute. Hurdles like technology constraints and less user enthusiasm at the beginning of Wikis have to be handled.
  11. Framework for enterprises to decide: Each company has to decide for itself which content to solicit; how to attract contributors (this is a difficult part); how to retain them; and how (if at all) to compensate them. There is no one-size fits-all formula. Accenture for instance, has addressed the people, process and technology dimensions and has seen great success in developing effective crowd-sourcing programs.


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