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The Connected Web

Phil Wainewright

Web 2.0 Your Way Out of the Downturn

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Dion Hinchcliffe, always an insightful writer about Web 2.0 in the enterprise, has penned a blog post with some useful thoughts about Using Web 2.0 to reinvent your business for the economic downturn. Some may say that a downturn is no time to waste resources on experimentation, but as analyst Bill McNee pointed out to me in a recent podcast interview, many of these technologies, such as SaaS and virtualization, are already proven — and they deliver cost savings.

Here's Hinchcliffe's summary of why it's even more important now for enterprises to take a serious look at Web 2.0 (which he defines as embracing cloud, SaaS, mashups and social computing):

"Why is Web 2.0 particularly interesting right now for the enterprise? Web 2.0 has always been about making the most of the intrinsic power of the network and whatever is attached to it. This can be people (social computing and Enterprise 2.0), low-cost dynamic Web partners (open APIs and cloud computing), the world's largest database of information, lightweight integration (mashups and Web-style SOA), or maximizing the value of the network itself (the network effects that everyone talks about), and much more. These collectively represent better, more efficient, and less expensive ways to accomplish things that we previously used to do without the network's help or with methods that didn't take advantages of how the network works."

He goes on to list eight specific advice points. I'll single out three that are borne out by stories we've recently covered here on The Connected Web:

Move to lower-cost online/SaaS versions of enterprise applications. This is becoming a recurring refrain — last month we reported Forrester analysts finding that Recession Pushes Enterprises to Adopt SaaS. More evidence that this is happening emerged last week when IDC revealed that SaaS is surging in the downturn.

Lower customer service costs by pro-active use of online customer communities. Two weeks ago I interviewed Sanjay Dholakia, chief marketing officer of Lithium Technologies, about Customer Communities that Drive Business Results. When done right, this approach to customer service can really pay dividends. I plan to write more on this topic later this week.

Reduce application development and integration time/expenditures with new platforms and techniques. Last week, I interviewed Simon Wheeldon about Salesforce.com's cloud development platform, and How the Cloud Enables More Agile Development. Better alignment of IT projects with business requirements is a major concern at a time when budgets are under pressure, and this does seem to be one of the major advantages of Platform-as-a-Service. Another dimension to this is the use of mashup tools, which we recently discussed as a means of automating neglected business processes to help drive efficiency.

1 Comment

Great to see you covering Dion's article Phil as there was much good in it.

As I said on Dion's page though, there is much he says that is likely to scare people looking for comfort in these troubled times away from getting involved with Web 2.0.

A top to tail integrated approach to Web 2.0 is an ideal, but there are easier ways of starting off using social networking tools to benefit your business without needing to have the whole strategy mapped out and implemented.

Kicking off engaging with customers through sites like Facebook, Twitter and WeCanDo.BIZ will bring immediate benefits in the information you collect and support amongst customers it builds. When CRM systems start to be able to better mine the data on social networks, so it makes sense to then integrate your activities on those networks with existing or new developed sales or support processes.

There is no excuse for ignoring Web 2.0 right now, but making truly EFFECTIVE use of it across the whole enterprise I see as an evolutionary process, rather than something you can achieve from the off.

Ian Hendry

Phil Wainewright blogs about how businesses are using the Web to get better plugged into today's fast-moving, digital economy.

Phil Wainewright

Phil Wainewright specializes in on-demand services View more

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