Oracle officials have talked in a web conference about the collaborative benefits of Enterprise 2.0 and cast the company's WebCentre platform as its product offering in this space.

Enterprise 2.0, from Oracle's perspective, means bringing the benefits of Web 2.0-style collaboration to the enterprise. Other elements include the ability to build mashup applications. While there has been confusion as to what exactly Web 2.0 really is, it has been equated to blogging, AJAX-style development, and even Google, said Sonny Singh, senior vice president of the Industries Business Unit at Oracle.

"The truth of the matter is there are probably as many definitions of Web 2.0 as there are technologies associated with it," Singh said.

"[Web 2.0 is] really about how users can connect and work with each other through the Internet," said Thomas Kurian, Oracle senior vice president of Server Technologies Development. "It's fundamentally about users sharing information with each other, using web-based social software technology to fundamentally transform how they get access to information and how they work with each other."

But Oracle is looking at Web 2.0's relevance and benefits in the enterprise world, which formed the basis for discussion on Enterprise 2.0 during the web conference.

"Enterprise 2.0 is basically integrating these Web 2.0 technologies and capabilities with enterprise information systems and applications to transform how we work within the enterprise, as well as across enterprises and with people outside the enterprise," Kurian said.

"For me, Enterprise 2.0 is the use of freeform social software inside organisations," said Andrew McAfee, an associate professor at Harvard Business School and a featured presenter wired into the Oracle event. Rather than being concerned with how software is developed, Enterprise 2.0 is about how software gets used, he said.

Enterprise 2.0 also brings new modes of collaboration, McAfee said.

Oracle's strategy for the new generation of Internet computing is to fuse Enterprise 2.0 capabilities into Oracle products, Kurian said. The Oracle WebCentre platform takes centre stage in the company's Enterprise 2.0 strategy.

Part of the Oracle Fusion Middleware platform, WebCentre integrates enterprise services in providing a context-aware web application. Featured capabilities include mashups, tagging, RSS, wiki, VoIP, and discussions. Search and community components are offered as well.

One of the basic beliefs around WebCentre, Kurian said, is that the way to build an enterprise application, portal, and website is converging. The line between what is a website, an enterprise application, or a transaction system is gone, he said. WebCentre provides a standards-based framework and integrates into an application development framework.

Oracle also is bringing Enterprise 2.0 capabilities to its On Demand applications. Information such as what a customer has purchased can be shared with a network of salespersons and others, he said. Also, the next version of Oracle's collaboration suite will include Enterprise 2.0 and Web 2.0 capabilities, Kurian said.

Oracle competitors also are latching onto concepts such as Web 2.0. BEA Systems, for example, offers a social computing suite for ad hoc collaboration and participation-based experiences.