Early or effective adopters of new technologies can win big over competitors. One famous example is American Airline’s frequent flyer program. Dell automated its supply chain to the point that the company did not order inventory for PCs until a customer bought the finished product.
But other widely touted technologies have fallen flat. Some companies spent millions on implementing enterprise resource packages only to grind to a halt. Vendors pushed “push” technology for information dissemination, but do you even remember what it was now?
So do Web 2.0 elements really help organizations be more competitive? According to “Enterprise 2.0” in the Feb 26, 2007 issue of InformationWeek, “Despite the risks and problems, a solid minority of the 250 business technology pros surveyed by InformationWeek are behind this IT strategy push that has come to be known as Enterprise 2.0..”
“Reticent companies ignore the movement at the peril of their competitiveness. Within a few years, rich, collaborative software platforms that include a slate of technologies like wikis, blogs, integrated search, and unified communications will be the norm. Employees will expect to work that way, and it’ll be up to IT to solve the still significant problems and deliver.”
Hmmm, collaborative software has been available for years, but it is hard to implement and train/entice employees to use effectively. Collaborative document creation and editing Wikis are extensively used at six percent of the firms in the InformationWeek survey, and embraced by some employees at another 25% of the companies. Companies, particularly technology organizations, hire and/or encourage employees to write blogs to communicate with customers.
Web 2.0 tools can be powerful competitive weapons for companies if they invest the resources to make it work. That means on-going efforts to improve the user experience and add functionality. Web 2.0 are not necessarily easy—which makes them even more of a competitive weapon if used appropriately.