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Business and Web 2.0 in Australia

Business and Web 2.0 in Australia

SMH journalist Brad Howarth has an interesting and insightful piece on Web 2.0 penetration in Australian business (it’s also been noticed by the folks at Web Directions). It strongly reflects my view that largely it’s small business that is beginning to “get” Web 2.0 here. The big end of town and government mostly have a fair way to travel before these technologies gain any significant penetration in their operations. Frankly, that’s a pity, as adopting the tools of Web 2.0 could be helping many of them with the increasing issue of good and progressive knowledge management, productivity and stakeholder engagement .

I’d like to highlight a quote by researcher, Ross Dawson, from the article:

Web 2.0 in the enterprise is about enabling people to better find information and work with it… There are some sweet spots, which are very natural applications for blogs and wikis where it makes a lot of sense. And these are projects, competitive intelligence, and many other things where you are trying to get broad information and input on a specific topic.

This is exactly the point that I, and many of my consulting colleagues, are trying to get across to management in the organisations we talk to. Without good tools, knowledge workers across business are suffering from reduced productivity and in many cases, crippled in their ability to actively engage with internal and external stakeholders (management, staff, shareholders, suppliers, clients and customers) in order to improve their productivity.

And engagement is what it’s all about.

By engaging openly with people, both inside and outside the building, business can significantly increase the quality of the relationship they have with everyone that touches the business in any way. Just imagine the possibilities if the new, junior researcher felt unafraid of speaking his big, potentially profitable ideas to the CEO by engaging with her on her internal blog – in view of the entire company, rather than having to move it up through umpteen committees where it would inevitably be suppressed. Or if clients with product issues could touch base in an immediate and real way with Customer Service by posting on a company blog or forum and receive a near-immediate response solving their problem.

Potentially huge savings in Customer Service and maybe big profits from the ideas guy!

Introducing Web 2.0 tools to business isn’t about having all the coolest toys to play with (although that can be a side benefit) or having an additional marketing stream, it’s about enablement and empowerment of your workforce and your customers. It’s about giving people, no matter what their role, a more unrestricted and bottom-up approach to dealing with the enormous information pool they often have to deal with just to get their job done and allowing them to collaborate in an open forum where intolerance is absent and edgy thinking is encouraged.

With good tools, and Web 2.0 software implemented properly is a good tool, your workforce can be more productive, collaborate better and be more competitive in a marketplace where strong differentiation is key to your success.

Stephen Collins
trib@acidlabs.org
No Comments
  • Ric
    Posted at 14:49h, 16 May Reply

    Stephen – is the uptake in smaller companies related to the fact that they are not as defensive of positions of power/authority; and that managers in larger companies see exactly that direct access to the CEO as a threat to their position?

    Is your experience that *some* people in larger organisations get it, but not all – i.e. the “future is distributed unevenly”?

  • Stephen Collins
    Posted at 15:05h, 16 May Reply

    @ric – Briefly, “yes” and “yes”.

    To add another quote from the article, Tangler’s Mick Luibinskas, this time:

    … benefits can be swamped by concerns over the increasing level of regulation under which companies find themselves working, and the risk-averse legal perspective this engenders.

    The risk aspect is a significant one, and something that requires careful management, both in socialising the notion of Web 2.0/Enterprise 2.0 to business and in the actual execution once a project gets going. It can be a major stumbling block.

    Top-down cultures too, where structure and bureaucracy rule, are a hard nut to crack. The idea of handing control to the workforce or the audience are very scary notions to these organisations, and tied strongly to issues of risk and trust. Or more often, perception of risk and lack of trust. See this post from Euan Semple for an example of both.

    The “some people” notion is a gimme, and it’s certainly easier to convince one person at a time, but identifying the right ones to convince can be hard. Often, the one’s you identify are already convinced and just need affirmation, in which case, you’re preaching to the choir.

  • knowledge is everywhere
    Posted at 03:56h, 17 May Reply

    A great turnout for Destra and Brad Howarth at The Domain…

    Brad Howarth and Domenic Carosa (CEO of Destra) drew quite a crowd at The Domain networking event in Melbourne, held at Digital Harbour in the Docklands. Attendees received a music CD from Destra and a copy of Australian Anthill magazine (Subscribe to …

  • magia3e
    Posted at 12:06h, 17 May Reply

    Good pickup on this article Stephen!

    Yeah for getting good tools for knowledge workers!

    Let’s hope that the ‘getting’ that the SMH is speaking about only grows stronger.

    M

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