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Web 2.0 technologies are now being used in the enterprise in two
main application areas: marketing communications and internal
collaboration. Although it is mainly very large organisations that
are currently taking Web 2.0 on board, the forecast is for rapid
growth across all sizes of organisation and industry sectors. Why
is this happening?
In marketing communications, Blogs, Podcasts, RSS and Wikis are
already important tools in many organisations, including
IT-Analysis.com and IT-Director.com. These tools offer immediacy,
24 / 7 global accessibility, and the possibility of a two-way
interaction and dialogue with customers. This interaction offers
the opportunity to stop the defection and reputation damage caused
by vocally dissatisfied customers, and customer interactions should
also be a source of product and service improvement ideas.
In digital advertising, paid keyword search, branded
sponsorship, video advertisements and display advertisements are
becoming popular. In a recent study by the Internet Advertising
Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), UK online advertising
spend was up 41% to £1.3Bn in the first half of 2007. The
market spend growth in each digital advertising area (above) was up
between 30% and 75%, albeit from a low base.
In the article Enterprise Marketing Management
(EMM) solutions become trendy (again) I talked about the recent
ad:tech (Technology for Advertising) show being mobbed. Conversely,
I noted that the Technology for Marketing show in February was not.
Interestingly, next year’s has been renamed Technology for
Marketing & Advertising demonstrating the
emerging importance of digital advertising. In truth, most
marketers are experimenting with Web 2.0 today, but the potential
is abundant. A large software company recently confided that their
online spend will increase from 18% to 30% of their global marking
communications budget based on quantified results.
In the collaboration area, collective intelligence, peer-to-peer
networking, wikis, mash-ups and social networking are all being
used. These are all good ways to break down the inter-departmental
barriers that exist within organisations. One good example of
enterprise social networking is the IBM Blue Book, which enables
all IBM staff to search for individuals with specific skills,
knowledge and competencies.
One of the subjects dear to my heart (I lecture on this subject)
is ‘innovative and learning organisations’. The idea is that, in
general, organisations that are poor at innovation see the world
through the myopic business model ‘recipe’ that made them
successful. This is often the stimulus to acquire smaller companies
with no such legacy and a willingness to challenge conventional
thinking. Seen in this light, the rash of acquisitions made in the
hi-tech industry recently makes a lot of sense.
One of the biggest barriers to innovation is the difficulty that
different departments have in working together, and their inability
to share knowledge and information. Sales Department and Marketing
Department confrontations are legendary for example. This results
in a lack of collaboration in go-to-market processes within the
supply chain that in turn results in poor operational
Web 2.0 technologies such as collective intelligence, wikis, and
social networking provide the means to collaborate. More than that,
they are easily accessible and downloadable (or rentable) from the
web to the desktop without some corporate standard having to be
invoked. As with consumer Web 2.0 applications, like Second Life,
they grow organically, unfettered by corporate IT dictats.
Collaboration is starting to happen in enterprises from the bottom
up. Power to the people!
It is early days for Web 2.0, but the initial prognosis is
“promising”. OK, Web 2.0 may not be the most inspiring acronym, but
there is substance behind the hype. Don’t knock itWeb 2.0 will in
time make organisations more profitable, and the digital world a
better place to live in.