I just read this article from eWeek which talks about who actually adopts Web 2.0 technologies in the workplace. The myth is that only the Gen-X and Gen-Y employees will use Web 2.0 but the reality is that age is not a factor in the adoption. It is upper management that typically does not embrace the technology while most everyone else does. Here is an excerpt from the article:
TobyRedshaw, chief technology officer of Motorola, said that rather than an age bias, he noticed more of an executive level bias to collaborative efforts: the higher up in the company's hierarchy the less social networking technologies get used. "That's a good thing," he said. "The real work gets done not in the board room."
So the question is, if the executive level is bias towards Web 2.0 technology, how can you get the backing you need to get a Web 2.0 initiative on the company's IT priority list? The answer is start small. Years ago when open source was still a mystery to most executives, I faced the same scenario. Instead of trying to sell people who were dead set against something that they didn't even understand, I took a different approach. One of my teams had been researching Linux (in their spare time) for a long time and were chomping at the bit to prove its worth. After failing to get any buy in from anybody in management and being looked at like we had a third eye in the middle of our head, we went into stealth mode and created our own proof of concept project that was low profile. To make a long story short, we built a low cost system that outperformed our existing production system for a fraction of the cost. We then went old and sold our ideas that were backed up by performance and financial data. The sale was a no brainer which eventually led to several other open source wins down the road.
This plan can work for Web 2.0. Get a group of early adopters together and implement a few Web 2.0 technologies like wikis, blogs, document tagging, etc. and measure the benefits. Once you have most of the major kinks ironed out, invite others to participate. Once you have data to prove your business case, then go to the senior executives and sell them on Web 2.0. The senior executives are typically very smart people who understand a good business case when they see it. The further up the chain they go the more focused they are on the financial aspects of the business and they tend to get further removed from technology. It is your job to show them the value but unless you have an incredible power to persuade, you usually need some numbers and/or a viable case study to sell them.
The beauty of this opportunity is that you can rely totally on open source technologies to put your Web 2.0 pilot project in motion and you don't need to spend much on hardware (if at all). Low cost, low risk, and high potential benefits. Why aren't you starting your Web 2.0 pilot today?