During the Enterprise 2.0 Summit (#e20s, #e20summit) in Frankfurt last week, the german term Nutzungsoffenheit was highlighted in connection with the nice phrase "Vorsprung durch Nutzungsoffenheit" coined by Alex Stocker and Alex Richter. An allusion to Audi's advertising phrase "Vorsprung durch Technik" some years ago. Since I am also dealing especially with the challenges created by "Nutzungsoffenheit" or "Verwendungsoffenheit" (s. here and google) for quite a while, I would like to drop some words on the term.
First of all, it is covered to some extend by what Dion Hinchcliffe calls "freeform" in his FLATNESSES extension to McAfee's SLATES. As opposed to transactional software and ERP systems, social software allows freeform HTML text in most cases. This creates some challenges when retrieving information, a topic that often unfolds in wiki projects.
Of course does social software also shape (for the windsurfers!)/frame (for the sociologists!) the mediated interactions between users, especially when it comes to connecting or disconnecting "friends".
So NO/VO refers to the variety of scenarios social software can be used in (usage scenario, sometimes also entitled use cases). One nice aspect could be, that "Offenheit" (openness) might, and in most cases should, also relate to the permission system applied on/to the information stored in these systems. In most cases criss cross integration by simple mechanisms like URLs and RSS work most efficiently in open collaboration and networking systems (so CIOs, if you want to save a lot of money, here is one lever ;-).