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Fired Up for Web 2.0

I recently signed up for CampFire, a Web-based chat site, and was once again impressed by the impact social networking software will have on the enterprise. No longer do companies need to make significant investments in in-house collaboration software to help users work together. Outsourced services cost as little as $10 a month and offer much of the functionality you'd expect from a product that runs tens of thousands of dollars. Testing the software is even cheaper--as in free.

Dozens of similar applications are available online. Firefox, for example, offers at least 15 extensions that enable user collaboration. Google and SocialText have Web-based spreadsheets that multiple users can access simultaneously. Wiki software from JotSpot and SocialText are also becoming popular for sharing enterprise information.

The rise of Web-based collaboration tools means more companies will gain access to applications normally available only to the largest organizations. That could result in smaller companies competing more effectively with large ones. It also means IT must be more responsive to users' needs--if you don't enable user collaboration, users will do it themselves. --David Greenfield, [email protected]