Enterprise adoption of Web2.0 technologies

McKinsey has published a fantastic report on ‘Six ways to make Web2.0 work’.

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 .

Viral Effect

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 .

Employee Evangelists

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.

Please use the #web2.0work hashtag to respond to this article and these questions on Twitter. You can also respond via McKinsey’s quarterly account, @McKQuarterly.

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Filed under Web 2.0

7 responses to “Enterprise adoption of Web2.0 technologies

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  3. Mike

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  4. Daksh, I was just wondering that aren’t we just trying to jump (if I keep myself placed on a traditional decision makers role)?

    First of all, talking about Indian context, lets face it, we don’t have too many Web 2.0 experts around since we still debate about is Web 2.0 a platform or a tool (or anything like that)?

    So my take is something on a different note. It’s good whatever McKinsey has came out with (I appreciate it) but I somehow feel that enterprises are going to skip this adoption of Web 2.0 and try their round of hands at Web 3.0 (if I can bring Cloud Computing into the equation? Ignore my noobiness if I’m wrong!)

    I recently went through something interesting on such tools available (though not entirely web 3.0 or CC) but extendability of that tool is massive. Since I’ll reaching Delhi on 3rd, probably we can talk about it!

    I’ll mail you about the details I was talking about!


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  6. What never ceases to fascinate me is that everybody seems to know what to do but never get down to doing it. Web 2.0 or not the change has to come from within each individual to ‘try’ then adopt what works for him/her.

    In my experience, we subscribe to all kinds of reports and visit several web sites. Many of us are able to ‘bookmark’ some pieces of knowledge in our minds to be able to talk about these with reasonable authority. So we’re quite happy being in ‘consulting’ mode. When we ourselves do not apply the essence of the knowledge we keep acquiring, especially to our own work, how do we believe that organisations will be able to. After all organisations are collections of individuals – us!

  7. What we are talking about is the innate manner in which our minds work. We adapt and adopt things/ people whatever that we are comfortable in/with.

    Every human has a rebel (my belief) inside him/her, if you force something/ anything there are more chances of failure than success.

    More people are likely to click on a button that reads, ‘Don’t click here’, just to see what happens. Similarly if you ask me use a tool but I don’t subscribe to the ‘why part’ of your story I will use it, but the usage will die its own death in time.

    There has to be some value that the individual who is using a tool gets out of it for him/her to use it.

    The other comfort factor that I would like to share is the following –
    “If I know (through previous example/s) that I have ½ a chance of messing up annual review thanks to what I wrote on the company blog intra/internet then I would prefer to stay away from it.” However useful this might be for the well being of the organization.

    Flipside: This could just be a ghost in your mind.

    Meaning the people at the helm need to make sure that they lead the way in ‘open and free’ thought/ information flow.

    Now ain’t Web 2.0 a part of the same philosophy?

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