Thursday 30 October 2008

McKinsey & Company, MISAustralia & Ross Dawson on balancing the reality of Web 2.0

Not sure how I missed this from McKinsey & Company research report on Web 2.0 in business from back in July, however none the less it makes interesting reading. They report:

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.

However, they also conclude from the data that those companies that do feel they are getting benefits from Web 2.0 technologies, it has nothing do with size or region – there are other factors (I suspect that are organisational) at play. I was also pleased to see that RSS use is still growing, although wonder if this is sophisticated use as Enterprise RSS or simply publishing a few feeds.

Putting that into the local Australian context is this article in MISAustralia. Hat tip to Ross, who is also interviewed as part of the article, who correctly comments on his own blog that:

The reality is that these tools are being used, primarily because they are allowing people to work more effectively. However there are real constraints for organizations in how they can be used, including security, confidentiality, and integration with existing systems.

Many organizations still need to recognize that these tools are a reality. That done, they can establish effective governance guidelines, and allow the use of these tools to develop within clear parameters, but without the rigid structure that stifles innovation. The balance is challenging to achieve, but the rewards are high.

Naturally,I think the Intranet 2.0 strategic framework I’ve described is part of that reflection process that the people in organisations who acting as the champions for enterprise social computing and Web 2.0 need to make – they need honestly evaluate what they are really doing and make a proactive choice about where they want to go. As a word of caution, and reflecting both the McKinsey & Company report and Ross’ comments, I recently came across an organisation where they had installed but then almost switched off all their internal social computing tools. A few champions only just managed to save the day.

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