More and more companies are offering some type of Web 2.0 or consumer technology as
corporate applications to their employees. In fact, two-thirds of respondents to a CIO
research study earlier this year said they do so, with IM, wikis and blogs leading the
According to Forrester Research, Web 2.0 technology spending will grow to $4.6 billion in
the next five years. That would put it into a category almost as large as business
intelligence, one of the hottest software growth areas of the last few years.
While today the vast majority of Web 2.0 applications are internal, Forrester expects
spending on external applications to dwarf that soon. Blogs, wikis and social networking
tools that are now being used for internal communication, collaboration and knowledge
management will increasingly be used to communicate and collaborate with customers and
partners. Consumer goods companies such as Pepperidge Farm and Mattel, Jockey and Pepsi
have already built feature-rich online community sites where customers can play games,
enter contests, download music, interact with other people like them, and even contribute
new product design ideas. It’s fascinating to see the different approaches they’re taking.
As with all new things, there’s a wide range of acceptance (or lack thereof) and adoption
of Web 2.0 across organizations. Many CIOs wrestle with how to communicate to other senior
executives on why this isn’t a frivolous waste of time but actually something worth
spending money and attention on. Some still need to figure that out for themselves.
But getting buy-in to the value proposition is just the start. Web 2.0 requires a
completely different approach to management—a shift from command and control to facilitate
and enable. Yes, you’ve heard that before, but this is the real deal. Even if you don’t
buy in, this is going to happen, and you can’t stop it. This is the first time that a wave
of new technology is being driven not by the technology organization or even vendors but
by employees and customers. That changes the game.
My advice to all executives today is just get in there. Set up accounts at Facebook,
LinkedIn, Flickr, Dopplr and Twitter. You can’t begin to understand the real value (and
therefore what the right approach is for your company and your customers) until you
experience it for yourself.
View my presentation on this topic at www.slideshare.net/abbielundberg.