Well, according to Tim O’Reilly, Web 2.0 is when the web shows the following traits;

  • the web as a platform
  • data as the driving force
  • network effects created by an architecture of participation
  • innovation in assembly of systems and sites composed by pulling together features from distributed, independent developers (a kind of “open source” development)
  • lightweight business models enabled by content and service syndication
  • the end of the software adoption cycle (“the perpetual beta”)
  • software above the level of a single device, leveraging the power of the “Long Tail”
  • ease of picking-up by early adopters

SaaS, according to Wikipedia, has the following attributes;

  • network-based access to, and management of, commercially available (i.e., not custom) software
  • activities that are managed from central locations rather than at each customer’s site, enabling customers to access applications remotely via the Web
  • application delivery that typically is closer to a one-to-many model (single instance, multi-tenant architecture) than to a one-to-one model, including architecture, pricing, partnering, and management characteristics
  • centralised feature updating, which obviates the need for downloadable patches and upgrades.

Clearly there is significant overlap between web 2.0 attributes and those of SaaS. However my contention is that real value plays will be found by creating enterprise in the space where the two connect.

I believe the intersect of value occurs in the architecture of participation/one-t0-many space. To explain what I mean I’m going to go out on a limb and look at the TradeMe model. While TradeMe is an outstanding success, I believe it is not an example of optimal Web 2.0/SaaS intersection.

TradeMe has a huge networked community that takes part in activities hosted on the TM site, but UI’d in such a way as to appear a offshoot of TM’s core business. If I were designing a new auction site in New Zealand (and obviously given incumbency I’d be a fool to do so), I’d be looking to have network participation front and centre. As an example we’ll look at hypothetical Ma and Pa Jones who collect tea cosies. While Ma and Pa spend a significant amount of time on TM searching for all that is newly available in the tea cosy line, when they want to get down to the serious business of discussing their tea cosy fascination, their forum is elsewhere. Imagine a scenario where TM was a portal and an aggregator for Ma and Pa Jones’ interests. Not only could they buy and sell tea cosies there but they could virtually meet other tea cosy enthusiasts, discuss all that is new and form strong and specific networks, all within the TM framework.

Now I’m not architecture/UI guru so I’m yet to work out how this would all work and look but hopefully people see where I’m coming from with the analogy.

Successful plays from now on will be made by having both a breadth of content, and a depth of content. They’ll succeed by aggregating the attention (and spend!) of individuals and by creating compelling and value added networks from those individuals.

It’s a space that is very young and one which has only been defined conceptually but one which I’m keen to explore and help organisations develop. It’s the way to build exponentially increasingly valuable selling propositions and garner the potential of the intersect of technology, buying habits and societal values.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

  • Falafulu Fisi |

    I still have a vague idea of what is actually called Web 2.0. Tim Berners Lee had commented on Web 2.0, there is nothing new there that hasn’t been covered by W3C standards. I am not sure where Web 2.0 stands in relation to Semantic Web, whether Web 2.0 is in progress towards Semantic Web standards or not. Semantic Web is far superior than anything we know today in web technology. Its adoption is slow, because it is very difficult to achieve its dream of pervasive computing as proposed by its pioneers (including Mr. Lee) due to its multi-disciplinary nature, which are often inconsistent with each other. However there are already many commercial applications of Semantic Web which are available in the market. There is also an active community of researchers worldwide on Semantic Web.

  • Falafulu Fisi |

    I came across this blog site here which equates:

    Web 3.0 = Semantic Web?

    Umm. Now, as I have mentioned in my previous post that Semantic Web is quite difficult even there has been great progress been made in technology implementation over the last few years. Developers must be prepared to learn AI technologies, because that is what Semantic Web is all about, which is not every programmers cup of tea.

  • Have a look at our blog at http://www.vortexdna.com which has many posts on this issue.

  • Falafulu Fisi |

    Sustento, interesting comment in your blog about Semantic Web, but can I ask you if you have brought up your thoughts into the Semantic Web research communities? Has VortexDNA got a Semantic Web product yet or are you still developing? I have seen a lot of commercial tools out there with Semantic Web capability, which are being announced in the SemanticWeb mailing list which I subscribed to (semanticweb@yahoogroups.com), and also lots of open source project in Semantic Webs.

    I can see that you’re developing some search engine similar to Google at VortexDNA. Is it a derivative of PageRank or something completely new ?

  • Hi Fala,

    We’ve talked mainly with the major search companies and e-commerce players but check with our blogger Kaila Colbin who is our eyes, ears and mouth out in the web world. Thanks for that link. I’ll pass it on to her or contact her yourself through the blog and start a conversation.

    Our product is developed, tested and ready to roll. We are not a search engine ourselves but one of our applications makes search results more relevant to who you are. Our mission is to make the internet more relevant and efficient to each individual user. It’s a completely new technology and approach where we use your DNA, your purpose and values, to create a web that is relevant to you. This works across all possible online applications: search, e-commerce, jobs, dating, shopping, advertising etc.

    Its a complimentary technology and we’re looking actively in the US for partners to help us roll it out. Have a closer look and if you have any questions just contact us through the website.

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