Web 2.0 in the Enterprise

Web 2.0.  A term that is overused and often misunderstood.  And one that has been touted for years by consultants as the ‘next big thing’ coming to Enterprise IT.  I’ve read many articles and heard tons of people talking about bringing Web 2.0 to the enterprise.

But….I’ve seen very little success and it appears that McKinsey’s latest survey from June 2008 backs up my own experiences.

The survey, reported in a McKinsey article titled “Building the Web 2.0 Enterprise“, show’s an increase in the adoption of Web 2.0 in the Enterprise, but very few successes.

From the article:

Our findings also suggest that after an initial period of promise and trial, companies are coming to understand the difficulty of realizing some of Web 2.0’s benefits. Only 21 percent of the respondents say they are satisfied overall with Web 2.0 tools, while 22 percent voice clear dissatisfaction. Further, some disappointed companies have stopped using certain technologies altogether.

This is a pretty interesting result…and one that I’ve seen happen again and again.  Why are so many organizations failing at Web 2.0?  I think it has to do with poor technology strategy and a poor understanding of what value the available technologies can really bring to the company.

The McKinsey article continues (emphasis mine):

At many companies, Web 2.0 is now familiar, but the mix of tools and technologies companies use is changing. Blogs, RSS, wikis, and podcasts are becoming more common, perhaps because companies have a greater understanding of their value for business.

It is great to see some Web 2.0 tools showing up in the enterprise, but they are far from ubiquitous.  This result does show that when organizations do understand the value of a tool/technology, they can understand how to use it.

The one interesting tidbit from the survey was the dramatic rise of social networks by organizations.  Personally, I think this is due to Social Networking being ‘the cool thing’ right now and has more to do with the success of Facebook than organizations really understanding the value social media can bring.

Interesting articles and interesting times we live in.  I’m very interested in seeing McKinsey’s 2009 survey to see what’s changed. I expect social networking and social media to drop off a bit because most organizations don’t really know how to utilize these tools.

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