Some of the points discussed in the report are very valid and a great learning resource for all organizations which are struggling to drive their ‘Web 2.0‘ initiatives. It is a must-read for the so called decision makers and tier – 1 executives in SMEs. As Steve Clayton correctly points out the report doesn’t mention ‘Twitter‘ until the end where McKinsey’s twitter id is shared for extension of conversation. But that seems to be the only aspect which has not been addressed.
Moving on, here is a small attempt to present my understanding of some of the points captured in the post. The focus is to compare the difference between traditional IT tools and Web 2.0 technologies:
Top down v/s Bottom-up
The ‘push’ is in stark contrast for traditional ‘IT’ tools (ERP/CRM/SCM) and the ‘Web 2.0′ tools (Wiki/Blogs). Previously, the need for IT systems was generally realized by the senior management and it escalated down from there-on. That isn’t normally the case with a Web2.0 tool.
Let us see why – An average IT guy working on a development project discovers a handy web2.0 app which enables him to write his ‘todos’ in a simple-effective way. He propagates its usage within his team and during the lunch conversations the tool is passed on to another team-member. That is where the cross-team barrier is broken and once that goes then there’s looking back.
Within days, the entire organization is seeing using it. The ‘management’ is convinced by default about the value-aspect of the tool .
The above example is a fantastic demonstration of the adoption philosophy of a ‘Web 2.0 tool’. Like the traditional IT systems, the adoption of Web2.0 tool is realized from a need/problem but its usage trends have a propagating viral effect within the organization.
It flows from one individual to another, one team to another and so-on. That was never the case with older technologies.
What it also means is that the usage base of Web2.0 tools is much bigger, broader and engages participation from possibly everybody. The ‘context’ for any Web2.0 technology is still there but it is a much broader context now.
Forced implementation doesn’t necessarily work
To stay afloat in the race and to structure their processes, sometimes organizations try to push a tool too hard. It also invokes positive response from the workers for a brief because of initial enthusiasm. But with time the response fades away and the tool looses its value — providing a great case study for failure of top-down implementation.
The Concerning Factors
For ERP/CRM and other such systems the most critical criterion is ‘cost’ and ‘duration’ for implementation.
Beyond the cost-implications for organizations there are some other concerning factors for ‘Web 2.0′ tools. Here on Web2.0 technologies side, the tools are participatory and are often accessible by others in the company/and on the web. The employees have a ‘hesitation/fear’ in their mind when using company blogs/micro-blogs/social-networks etc. The fear is because of legal aspects and the hesitation is due to the fact that they’re using a platform which doesn’t belong to them .
IT workers should draw inspiration from the direct report to Lockheed Martin‘s CIO. He lead from the front by writing his own blog and provided a demonstration to his company’s senior management. I am sure we have many other examples like Lockheed Martin. Steve has pointed out a fantastic quote from Business Week’s Debunking Six Social Media Myths on this.
The tools are there. The gurus who know how to use and interpret them—not so much
Wrap-up — The “build it and they will come” philosophy is true but it requires intervention from the seniors to scale up the usage of Web2.0 technologies.
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