As IT departments struggle to justify technology spend during trying economic times and vendor companies look to capitalize on the exploding market for social technologies, Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR) has released new research that tracks the business value, maturity, and future adoption of enterprise Web 2.0 collaboration tools. Forrester’s TechRadar™ methodology helps enterprise technology buyers understand which emerging technologies they should consider adopting and those they should consider retiring — and when. According to Forrester, social networking tools and internal wikis will have the greatest impact on workplace collaboration. Technologies such as forums and RSS have a future in the enterprise but are currently underused, while podcasts have a limited future as an enterprise tool to increase productivity and enhance collaboration.

The study is the latest in the TechRadar series, Forrester’s research methodology used to predict the success of a set of related technologies over the next decade. The enterprise Web 2.0 analysis provides insight for two roles: Information & Knowledge Management professionals and Vendor Strategy professionals.

“Web 2.0 collaboration technologies solve problems that enterprises have today, but most companies have not used these tools anywhere near their potential,” said Gil Yehuda, senior analyst, Forrester Research. “This new research illustrates to enterprise users where the smart money is invested and where to place their strategic bets. In the current economic climate, Forrester believes collaboration tools can save enterprises operation costs by getting people and processes together quickly and efficiently.”

“While so much of the buzz around Web 2.0 has focused on the business-to-consumer market, the greatest opportunity today for vendors is in the business-to-business collaboration space,” said Oliver Young, analyst, Forrester Research. “Some Web 2.0 collaboration technologies have shown a faster-than-normal life cycle, so it is critical for vendors to take stock of the enterprise tools that have the greatest long-term potential and invest wisely in those technologies.”

Forrester previously estimated the enterprise Web 2.0 collaboration market will hit $1.8 billion by 2013. The enterprise Web 2.0 TechRadar study is based upon an analysis of previous research and interviews with industry experts, vendors responsible for building or implementing these technologies, and enterprise customers and users.

Forrester predicts the following Web 2.0 collaboration technologies will continue to experience growth:

  • Social networks will transform the nature of work. Social networks provide context to content. Cultural resistance exists, but Forrester believes this will eventually break, allowing workers to connect with like-minded colleagues and enabling a collaboration channel that previously didn’t exist in the enterprise.
  • Wikis help transform collaboration. One of the most promising Web 2.0 technologies for the enterprise, users report success with Wiki endeavors, particularly when sponsored by business leaders and connected to business processes, and the market shows signs of strong growth.
  • Blogging is not going away — but it does not capture or hold the attention of an enterprise audience. Social networks will breathe new life into internal blogs by providing more context to blogged content, but Forrester found that blogging alone does not capture the attention of an enterprise audience.
  • RSS is underappreciated in the enterprise. This ubiquitous technology provides a mechanism to get content to people where they need it, rather than expecting people to find it.

The following Web 2.0 technologies have large and resilient ecosystems and can last for several years or even decades, but over time, the markets will become highly consolidated, customer numbers will flatten, and revenues will level off or decline:

  • Podcasting is on the decline. Users tell Forrester that podcasts in the context of enterprise productivity and collaboration are neither very engaging nor immersive, and the vendor landscape is shrinking.
  • Forums are underused. While forums will continue on as a fundamental enabling technology for collaboration, the marketplace is flat, and forums will become part of larger community-focused packages.

Other technologies included in the TechRadar include microblogs, prediction markets, widgets, mashups, and social bookmarks. “Forrester TechRadar™ For I&KM Pros: Enterprise Web 2.0” and “Forrester TechRadar™ For Vendor Strategists: Enterprise Web 2.0” are currently available to Forrester RoleView™ clients and can be purchased directly at