I went along to the seminar on Web 2.0 hosted by Trovus at IBM's South Bank offices today. I'm glad I did. Being aimed at companies that have heard the term, know thay need to find out more but are otherwise new to the subject, much of the content was familiar to me. Ed Charvet of Trovus had kindly invited me along to observe and hopefully make some sensible comments afterwards. I was impressed by Caspar Craven's and Jon Mell's presentations. Brendan Tutt of IBM also gave an engaging overview of IBM's Connections suite, and Chris Gabriel of Logicalis gave a great presentation too.
I've tended to focus in this blog on the potential of Web 2.0 tools for knowledge sharing within organisations - "KM 2.0", if you like. Trovus look at the bigger picture, encouraging organisations to examine how they could interact better not only within an organisation but between it and its customers, prospects, suppliers and so on. Their starting point is often the organisation's existing website, and the extent to which this is currently succeeding or failing to help them achieve their aims. I think this is a good starting point, overcoming as it does the usual difficulty in explaining in layman's terms what the potential benefits of Web 2.0 (horrible term, but we can't stop using it now, can we?) actually are.
Trovus also like to raise the issue of demographics. I've talked before on here about the younger generation expecting companies to provide social software tools, but the point was also made that the 'baby boomers' are about to leave in droves - through retirement. They will take their knowledge with them. This made me think that there are two powerful drivers here: you need to have Web 2.0 tools to keep the youngsters ('Generations X & Y') happy (and productive); but you also need to transfer tacit knowledge from the older workers to maintain corporate memory. And, provided that you can get them to use Web 2.0 tools, and you make sure you accumulate a repository, you can do both at the same time.
Finally, I realise I must take instant messenger more seriously. At IBM it's considered more mission critical than email. And how about this statistic: a survey of prospective university entrants found that for 42% of them, IM availability would influence their choice of uni. That really is a wake up call.