Opportunity 2.0 or threat 2.0?

None of us are as smart as all of us. The wisdom of crowds and collective intelligence
In 2004, Tim O’Reilly and Medialive international coined the term web 2.0, as a name for participative technologies. It offers new ways of doing business today – encompassing new technologies, business models allowing org to collaborate, streamline and accelerate business processes between customers, partners and employees.
We see the incorporation of this in the form of internal online communities in companies, and the much popular Facebook and Youtube sites. But turning this opportunity into something concrete and tangible is something that seems to elude most firms. These sites are more a place for teenagers to express angst and adolescence related problems and for those past this age to act like teenagers . Agree for an individual, it helps beat boredom and loneliness to some extent with online friends becoming life support at times. Getting back in touch with friends, classmates, renewing relationships are some of the positives for individuals and social media. Somewhat like the mobile phone revolution in India. Bringing long-lost relatives together.
But for a corporate? As an internal communication tool, yes, it has its merits and so also a forum for customers online, to talk about products and foster innovation. They say that these sites have democratized innovation to a great extent. Like how Dell ran its “Green laptop” campaign through contests and a facebook community before the launch. Not to mention the film premiers of The Dark Knight and other such films. How does a boring corporate in the financial services sector tap into this phenomenon? The flight crew of a major online use Facebook to manage their schedules and have improved operational efficiency. Yes, its merits in improved team communication cannot be disputed. Further with teams being geographically dispersed in most organizations, and information overload, these technologies help make working lives a lot easier. In internal employee communication, its value is immense. When used the right way and in the right style. Disruptive technologies become a rage and companies like Apple herald these innovations, but how does on turn into marketing dollars and generate leads?
A typical large IT vendor – those with revenues of greater than $1bn – spends anywhere from 3 per cent to 8 per cent of its revenue on marketing. And about one-half of that investment is typically directed towards marketing activities that help to support and build the vendor’s brand. This includes advertising and media spend, sponsorships and events, press and public relations, corporate communications, and other activities. As strategic differentiators of web strategy? It helps companies engage with customers differently. More directly, in capturing knowledge which can be used to enhance products, processes and user experience. Product recommendations and endorsements help users buy better products and companies improve on the quality of their products.

Web 2.0 can deliver value to a business only when it delivers what users want – bottom up – based on their needs and requirements. How does a company manage a Web 2.0 strategy? First, take into account the company culture, and how you can encourage people to participate? By realizing that transparency created by such applications can have far-reaching consequences. What new processes must you implement to harness the wealth of information you can glean? More importantly, are you willing for such change?
How does one manage privacy on the site? Threat 2.0. With such widespread personal adoption, expect to receive instant replies and consider e-mail outdated. It is therefore important to create a Web 2.0 roadmap and ensure that this contains possible future scenarios of litigation, brand encroachment, privacy issues and so on. In short, it needs to contain a Web 2.0 risk management strategy.

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