Ignore Web 2.0 at your peril, businesses warned

Many traditional businesses that stand to benefit from the new business processes, communities and business models enabled by the Web 2.0 movement will miss out because they simply do not realise its long-term business potential, analyst Gartner has warned.

Many traditional businesses that stand to benefit from the new business processes, communities and business models enabled by the Web 2.0 movement will miss out because they simply do not realise its long-term business potential, analyst Gartner has warned.

“For some it’s simply a case of once bitten, twice shy,” said Gartner analyst Charles Abrams. “Massive investments during the first internet revolution proved unprofitable for many enterprises, and they are nervous of making the same mistakes again.” 

Abrams said many traditional enterprises viewed Web 2.0 as purely a technological phenomenon.

“What they fail to see is that, unlike Web 1.0, success with Web 2.0 depends less on new and untested technology investments, and more on reaping the power of new forms of business models, newly enabled online communities and collaborative processes.” 

He said the risk with Web 2.0 “has more to do with ignoring the easy-win business benefits that can be gained once the relevant applications and platforms are in place”.

Gartner also said there was a mistaken perception that the transformational technologies associated with Web 2.0, such as Ajax or RSS, were primarily consumer-facing and would therefore fail to meet the stability, reliability and security requirements of corporate IT.

The analyst listed seven core benefits of Web 2.0 for businesses:

1 Core enterprise applications will become more effective through the incorporation of Web 2.0 technologies.
2 Next-generation web platforms can be highly efficient in overall procurement and sales strategies.
3 Lessons from Web 2.0 community and social networking success stories can be used within the enterprise for more efficient knowledge worker collaboration and overall employee satisfaction.
4 Semantic tagging technologies can greatly increase the navigation of internal and external information overload and increase information-based product consumption and use.
5 Web 2.0 communities can be used for new product feedback, shortening product development time and targeting valuable marketing resources.
6 Targeting bloggers and other influential web users can help an organisation to control its image and generate positive publicity.
7 Making web-based marketing the norm, rather than the exception, will help optimise overall marketing spend.

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