What do wikis, blogs, podcasts, social networks, virtual worlds, and the rest do for corporate productivity and management? BY STEPhEn J. anDRioLE
Business impact of Web 2.0 Technologies
t H i s a r t iC l e d e sC r iB e s
research designed to measure the impact of the business value of wikis, blogs, podcasts, folksonomies, mashups, social networks, virtual worlds, crowdsourcing, and RSS filters—all Web 2.0 technologies. Properly deployed, they may well permit companies to cost-effectively increase by Web 2.0 technologies. Only limited published research is available today exploring the contribution of Web 2.0 technologies to
their productivity and, ultimately, their competitive advantage; the research reported here includes results of interview, observation, and survey data-collection from select companies and industries primarily in the U.S. across six performance areas: knowledge management, rapid application development, customer relationship management, collaboration/ communication, innovation, and training. The results include caution, skepticism, and a significant contribution to collaboration and communication. Wikis, blogs, and RSS filters have had the greatest impact, while virtual worlds have had virtually none. Security remains a concern, but we found that communication and collaboration are generally well served
Web 2.0 technologies can help improve collaboration and communication within most companies. These technologies should be assessed to determine real impact, and a number of assessment techniques, including interviews, observations, and surveys, can be used to measure impact over time across multiple business areas. These technologies can help improve collaboration and communication across multiple vertical industries, though many companies are cautious about deploying them. 67
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figure 1. impact metrics.
Wikis Blogs rSS Filters Folksonomies mashups Podcasts Crowdsourcing Social Networks virtual Worlds
Knowledge management rapid Application development Customer relationship management Collaboration and Communication Innovation Training
Ability to Share Knowledge Ability to retrieve Knowledge Ability to organize Knowledge Ability to leverage Knowledge Ability to modify Applications Faster Ability to develop Applications Faster Ability to Support Applications Easier Ability to Improve requirements modeling Ability to mine Customer data Effectively Ability to “Touch” more Customers differently Ability to Solicit Customer Insights and Concerns Ability to Communicate with Customers more Effectively Ability to Coordinate discussions Ability to reach more People Faster Ability to Synchronize Projects and Tasks Ability to Audit Communications Streams Ability to Syndicate Innovation Ability to Improve Successful hit rates Ability to Increase Innovation Initiatives Ability to Productize more Cost-Effectively Ability to Support Traditional Training Ability to modify/Evolve Training Content Ability to Support Asynchronous Training Ability to Codify and distribute Training Content
Rapid Application Development
Customer Relationship Management
Collaboration and Communication
corporate productivity and management. Gartner Group (http://www. gartner.com), Forrester Research (http://www.forrester.com), IDC (http://www.idc.com), and the Cutter Consortium (http://www.cutter.com) report that Web 2.0 technologies are rapidly making their way into corporate technology infrastructures and architectures. But the way they are used and the impact they are having have not been reported in a systematic way. My research posed the following questions to managers and executives: •˲ What good is Web 2.0 technology to your company?; •˲ What problems might Web 2.0 technology solve?; 68...