Serious business: Web 2.0 goes corporate

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Web 2.0 has moved from buzzword to reality in many of the world’s largest corporations, according to a survey of 406 senior executives worldwide by the Economist Intelligence Unit. The survey found that 79% of respondents see the collaborative web as a way to boost revenues and cut costs. Perhaps the most interesting finding is that a full 85% of C-suite executives see the sharing and collaboration aspects of Web 2.0 as an opportunity to increase revenue and/or margins, versus 75% of middle management. These findings point to a possible disconnect between the corner office and the rest of the organization on how to best incorporate Web 2.0 practices into business.

The most-cited effect of Web 2.0 – a collection of Web-based services that emphasize online collaboration and sharing among users – is to transform the way that companies interact with their customers. The study, which consisted of in-depth interviews with corporate leaders as well as a global survey of senior executives, found that large companies are already using Web 2.0 tools and methods in a variety of ways. So far, companies have focused their Web 2.0 efforts mainly on the creation of online communities that can help with product marketing or product development. In second place is the establishment of blogs or wikis to initiate conversations and share knowledge inside or outside the company.
In the future, companies expect Web 2.0 methods and tools to be the single biggest factor changing the ways their company interacts with customers (according to 68% of executives), or on how employees interact with each other and the company  (49% of survey respondents).

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