Four steps to becoming a Web 2.0 enterprise

A recent McKinsey & Co. report shows the areas in which Web 2.0 has benefited organizations.

The use of Web 2.0 technologies has not only continued to gain greater adoption among enterprises but has also proven to provide a significant competitive advantage, according to a new report from the McKinsey & Company.

Drawing upon responses from more than 3,200 executives across a range of regions, industries, and functional areas, McKinsey’s latest report found significant increases in the share of companies using social networking (at 40 per cent) and blogs (at 38 per cent). As well, the survey found that the number of employees using Web 2.0 technologies continues to increase.

According to McKinsey’s findings, the adoption of Web 2.0 by enterprises adoption provides a range of benefits from the ability to stage more effective marketing campaigns to having faster access to knowledge to make more informed business decisions.

The study authors, McKinsey’s Brussels office director Jacques Bughin, and McKinsey Global Institute senior fellow Michael Chui, have outlined a number of ways in which managers can help lead their organizations to become “fully networked enterprises”.

Here are some of their suggestions:

  1. Integrate Web 2.0 into employees’ everyday work activities. Through the course of this study and other supporting research, McKinsey found that integrating Web 2.0 technologies (such as social media and customer relationship management software) into the company’s work flow ensures that they are used by employees, and that their gains are maximized.
  2. Foster adoption and usage. Without a base-line level of adoption and usage, a company’s Web 2.0 benefits will stagnate. Enterprises must continue to drive adoption and usage because, according to the study, those respondents that reported low levels of both also reported the lowest levels of benefits.
  3. Break down organizational barriers to change. By enacting distributed decision making and work through greater collaboration within the organization and through all levels of the company, businesses have reported market share gains and profitability. Organizations that are fully networked, after all, tend to have a more fluid flow of information, deploy talent more flexibly to tackle specific problems, and allow lower-level employees make decisions.
  4. Apply Web 2.0 to interactions throughout the enterprise – and beyond. The McKinsey report suggests that businesses adopt Web 2.0 procedures for interaction between customers, business partners, and employees. This creates organizational collaboration and flexibility internally and with collaborative partners, but it also provides a better customer experience and the ability to better address client needs.

Fully networked organizations — those that have been able to truly integrate technology-enabled collaboration into their business — have been able to reap the greatest rewards. These businesses are able to forge closer marketing relationships with customers through better customer support and product-development efforts, as well as collaborate across traditional organizational structures and share information more broadly.

A natural consequence, according to McKinsey, has been improved market share.

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