When I spoke recently at the AoC Nilta conference, I attended a session given by Randy Metcalfe of the JISC-funded OSS Watch service on “Comparison Shopping Evaluating Open Source Wikis and VLEs“. One interesting aspect of the session was the brief description Randy gave of the Business Readiness Rating approach to assessing the appropriateness of open source software for use in the enterprise. OSS Watch have published a discussion paper on this topic. This paper mentions the OBRR Web site which states that “Business Readiness Rating™ (BRR) is being proposed as a new standard model for rating open source software. It is intended to enable the entire community (enterprise adopters and developers) to rate software in an open and standardized way.

It struck me that this approach might be applicable when wishing to select Web 2.0 services for use in the enterprise.

On this subject I am a co-author of a paper on “Web 2.0: How to Stop Thinking and Start Doing: Addressing Organisational Barriers” which has been accepted at the Museums and the Web 2007 conference. Mike Ellis, the lead author, will be presenting the paper on 12th April 2007 (and I have uploaded a draft buy generic drugs copy of his slides to Slideshare).

The paper argues that it is now timely for museums to start deploying Web 2.0 technologies and makes a number of suggestions for addressing various barriers, including understanding organisational barriers, encouraging enthusiasts, identifying ‘low-hanging fruit’, developing a risk assessment and risk management strategies, etc.

My work in supporting take-up of Web 2.0 has included publication of a number of briefing papers, including one on “Risk Assessment For Use Of Third Party Web 2.0 Services“. It does occur to me that the suggestions given in this document, and the ideas outlined in our paper, could be used in the development of a Web 2.0 Business Readiness Rating.

To provide a context for this, imagine you are considering deploying a blog service, but don’t have the technical expertise to install software in-house. You have heard about the WordPress blogging service, which hosts this service. You’ve also heard some positive comments about the Elgg software and the (recently renamed) Eduspaces hosting service.

What factors do you think need to be considered if you wish to decide which, if either, of these services is ‘Business Ready’ for your library, museum or educational service?

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