Much of our discussion of Web 2.0 has focused on its social networking aspects. However, this is one aspect only of the flatter Web 2.0 world. We are beginning to see much more general discussion of another aspect, of the way in which organizations and their relationships are being reshaped by the network.
Here is Phil Wainewright:
The broad benefits of being able to connect into a rich, collaborative network of varied resources will, in almost every case, massively outweigh the narrow advantages of having every single aspect of the system under your own control. That’s why organizations today don’t run their banking or their raw materials production in-house and it’s why in the Web 2.0 era fewer and fewer of them will run their information systems infrastructure wholly in-house. What could be more incompetent in the era of the network than to cut yourself off from the network? Doh! [� Outsourcing and the network effect | Software as services | ZDNet.com]
I was reminded of this while reading Will Hutton yesterday. He talks about “personalization and plural diversified production”:
The Xbox generation is growing up in a world which it expects to shape to meet its particular needs. From the iPod playlist to the blogging sites, it is all about choice. As young adults, they will choose a mortgage they can change, reduce or top up as they want. They will expect their employer to pay them as much as possible corresponding to how individually valuable they are. …
Nor is that all. The producers meeting their wants are organising themselves less as single integrated producers, more as networks. Whether it’s Marks and Spencer making its socks in Guangzhou or a mortgage company having its back office in Mumbai, we are moving into a universe of plural networked production. Information and communications technology makes different production locations easy to co-ordinate; there is no point in tying up valuable capital in production capacity that may never be fully loaded. Best buy it in as and when it’s needed. [The Observer | Compare and buy | At last, a chance for every child]
I was pleased to give the inaugural OCLC/Frederick G Kilgour lecture at the School of Information and Library Science at UNC, Chapel Hill, the other week. Unfortunately, I was suffering from a heavy cold ;-), but my topic [ppt] was that libraries are about to enter the third main phase of their networked existence. The first was the introduction of shared cataloging and resource sharing. The second was the move to an external model for journal literature. I speculate that the third will be more far-reaching as libraries work in a flat network world. We will see greater reorganization around shared network platforms and a strong focus on creating services which are specialised for local audiences. Librairies will have to pull together plural diversified resources, and make them available in ways that match users preferred consumption styles.
Update: I inadvertently changed the ‘authored on’ date to June. I had it sitting in draft for a while and wanted to put the current time on it. A colleague noted that it had published with the future date. I changed it, and note that it has slipped in behind the last entry. I won’t change it again! In general, I am suprised that Movable Type does not provide better editing facilities.