Web 2.0 Trends – Minus the Hype

Web 2.0? What is Web 2.0 … Oh you mean Social Media!

Yes, like a Chameleon, Web 2.0 has changed its color to become Social Media. But, what does this change of terminology imply? Web 2.0 has forked into 2 distinct streams.

  1. SOCIAL Media = Leveraging Collective Intelligence: The first fork, the original promise of Web 2.0, is about harnessing collective intelligence internally and externally. Typically this initiative is driven by IT, HR, Customer Support group or by a Knowledge Management group if it is in existence.
  2. Social MEDIA = Grabbing Attention: The second fork is about using Social Media channels for advertisement, brand building, product promotion, new product launch, campaign management etc. These initiatives are invariably driven by marketing department. The budget comes by cannibalizing other media channels.

The dynamics – the decision making – the budgeting process – the measurement criteria – the sponsors for the two forks are entirely different. Analysts have not yet started looking at the two forks separately. Look at the reports from McKinsey (The Rise of the Networked Enterprise), IDC (Predictions 2011: Welcome to the New Mainstream) & Gartner (Top 10 Strategic Technologies for 2010).

Now coming back to question 3 & 4 – [You need to read this post in conjunction with my earlier post where I had raised 4 questions and answered 2 of them].

3. If the current trend continues then where will it be in one year time?

  • By the end of next year this fork should be more visible to everybody.
  • Most organizations would have used some form web 2.0 technologies internally – would also have reported qualitative benefit – however, how to calculate quantitative benefit for internal deployment will remain a challenge.
  • Most portal platforms and knowledge management tool will incorporate Web 2.0 technologies (blog, wiki …).
  • Social MEDIA will dominate.
  • There will be a realization that the process of leveraging collective intelligence is not repeatable.

4. What happens if you take no action on the specific technology for next one year?

Sky will not fall on your head unless …

…you run a business where majority of your customer spends lot of time on Facebook.

Interesting statistics on Business Social Media Usage by Business.com

Let me give some of the highlights of the report (You can access the full report here or here).

Who is in-charge of the Social Media Initiative?

(Page 16)

  • Marketing = 66%
  • Customer Support = 23%
  • Others = 11%
On what measurable parameters is the impact of Social Media initiatives clearly visible?

(Page 19)

Maximum impact on: Brand awareness / reputation

Minimum impact on: Site traffic, useful product feedback

Will Web 2.0 work inside an enterprise?

I had written a post about one and a half year back (Why Web 2.0 will not work inside Enterprise) where I had identified 5 reasons. I was hoping that I would be proved wrong. However, available data tends to validate my fear.

McKinsey Report

First let us look at the report published by McKinsey (The Rise of the Networked Enterprise). Though it paints a very rosy picture of adoption and self reported benefit, one piece of hard data shows a slightly different picture. Have a look at their “Exhibit 3” on page 6. The correlation coefficient can be between 1 and -1 (1=highly related, 0=no relation & -1=inversely related).

What can we conclude from this exhibit?

  1. If you are networked with the external world then you are likely to gain market share.
  2. Using these tools internally may not give any significant or measurable financial benefit.
  3. Being too open can negatively impact your market leadership position. (this is the most disturbing part of the report which Mckinsey chose to gloss over)

List of 67 case studies that prove social media ROI

This list is compiled by Rob Petersen, founder of BarnRaisers in 2 parts (Part 1 of 34 cases & Part 2 of 33 cases). The interesting or disturbing part of this list is:

  1. Of the 67 cases only 2 (IBM & EMC) pertains to successful internal implementation of social media.
  2. Majority of the case studies (40) are purely marketing & sales initiative – it is about product promotion, brand building, product campaign etc.
  3. Most of the balance cases are about community building and leveraging the community.
5 Responses to “Web 2.0 Trends – Minus the Hype”
  1. Rob Petersen says:

    This is a great post and extremely thoughtful. Now that you mention it, I don’t know if the emphasis in my posts on social media ROI on sales and promotion are due to my background as a consumer marketer or the fact that much of the resistance I heard from companies I visited this year was in that area. Either way, you make a compelling arguement for another social media implementation to show ROI based on internal operation and I very much appreciate this view. Thanks again. Rob Petersen

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