Menlo Park, Calif. - IT dignitaries discussing Web 2.0 in the enterprise during a panel session Wednesday debated, for starters, what exactly Web 2.0 is and then pondered where it is headed.
Officials including Scott Dietzen, president and CTO of Zimbra and former CTO of BEA Systems, and Jeff Nolan, director of the Apollo Strategy Group at SAP Ventures, covered the topic of Web 2.0 at an IBDNetwork event.
"The hardest thing about it is actually nailing down [what Web 2.0 is]," Nolan said.
[ Talk back to us: What is Web 2.0? ]
"Web 2.0 is REST (Representational State Transfer)," featuring loosely coupled applications and the notion that applications do not have to be hard-wired together, Nolan said.
Collaboration is a big factor in Web 2.0 but not just blogs and wikis, he said. Also part of Web 2.0 is the ability to deliver ad hoc, user-generated applications but not necessarily mashups, he said. Blogs and wikis, meanwhile, could be a precursor to something more compelling, said Nolan.
But Dietzen stressed the importance of the mashup. A mashup involves quickly combining services to form new applications.
"[What] makes Web 2.0 come alive is the concept of the mashup," with the Web being used in an authoring model instead of just a consuming model, Dietzen said.
But panelist Michael Glaser, a partner at the law firm of Perkins Coie, advised that when creating a mashup, companies should be aware of possible licensing issues.
With Web 2.0, CIOs and CTOs are wondering how they can improve their own internal-facing applications, said Todd Burke, an enterprise sales official at Adobe Systems. Dietzen stressed that boosting productivity and cutting down the time users must spend on e-mail will be part of Web 2.0.
"E-mail and calendaring are going to be killer apps for Web 2.0 technology," Dietzen said.
E-mail can be made more compelling by merging it more onto the Web, he said. Users should not be required to leave the context of what they are doing to tend to e-mail, said Diezten.
He also advised using existing infrastructure for Web 2.0. "Your focus is what's the application look like and how can I deliver some compelling value," said Dietzen.
SAP's Nolan, however, rejected the notion that Web 2.0 means replacing something that already exists. SAP is relatively secure in the new paradigm because users have spent hundreds of billions of dollars on applications and these will not be replaced, Nolan said.
"Shouldn't we really be thinking about the new applications that haven't even been thought about yet rather than replacing the ones that have already been built?" Nolan asked.
SAP is embracing the concept of componentized applications, while not necessarily thinking of Web 2.0 in this context, said Nolan.
With Web 2.0, "IT is less and less in control," he said.