Hot new numbers for Web 2.0

September 09, 2009 | Web 2.0

Think you’re company is missing out on major opportunities because it hasn’t integrated Web 2.0 technologies? Your instincts are good.

Now do something about it. That’s my advice.

That would also surely be the advice of the people at legendary management consulting firm McKinsey & Co. McKinsey just went public with the results of its third annual Web 2.0 technology survey. Two thousand top executives from around the world participated.

Here’s the upshot: BtoB and BtoC companies are continuing to spend money on Web 2.0 technologies – despite the dismal economy – and they’re seeing substantial returns on their investment.

Particularly hot among Web 2.0 technologies are:

  • Video
  • Blogging
  • Wikis
  • RSS feeds

There is also consistent use of social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.

That analysis of the report comes from Michael Chui (pronounced Chewy), a consultant at the firm’s San Francisco office. Chui, during an interview on McKinsey Quarterly Podcast, said 80 percent of the survey’s respondents have not decreased investments in Web 2.0 technologies, and 40 percent are increasing their spending.

Chui speculated the brisk spending is based on two primary factors. 1) Web 2.0 technologies are relatively inexpensive. 2) Companies are realizing valuable benefits. Indeed, more than two-thirds of respondents say they have seen “measurable” business benefits, such as:

  • Lower communication and travel costs
  • More effective marketing
  • Higher customer satisfaction because they feel better connected

That also gives you some clues how companies are deploying their Web 2.0 capabilities.

Of course, it’s one thing to adopt new technologies, another thing to make them pay off. Chui said the keys to squeezing real value out of Web 2.0 are:

  • Integration into the workflow. In other words, it must become an everyday part of what a company does
  • Widespread participation among employees
  • The involvement and role modeling of company leaders
  • Ensuring that customers are aware the technologies are available and how to best use them to augment productivity

It gets even better. It gets kind of revolutionary.

Chui said his firm is seeing indications that Web 2.0 is creating a new breed of organization, one that is more networked and porous. This means organizations that are able to communicate and collaborate across their internal silos, as well as across corporate boundaries.

Despite the McKinsey report’s exciting findings, most companies have yet to lay a hand on Web 2.0. Other companies have adopted some of these technologies but have failed to integrate them.

This isn’t just confusing stuff for many business leaders, it’s scary stuff. Web 2.0 is a collection of disruptive technologies that force many people to significantly change the way they work.

I have more to say on this subject. But I’m interested in hearing what you have to say. Comment below on the trends you’re observing with Web 2.0.

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