Enterprise 2.0: Key Lessons Learned

According to Forrest research, global spending on Enterprise Web 2.0 will be 4,646 million dollars by year 2013 (Global Enterprise Web 2.0 Spending Forecast by G. Oliver Young, June 23, 2008). Many companies are jumping on the Enterprise 2.0 bandwagon and hoping to become the next MySpace or Facebook in the enterprise space. Buzzes about Enterprise 2.0 have been around since the introduction of Web 2.0. However, according to McKinsey surveys on the business use of Web 2.0 technologies, only 21% of respondents are satisfied with the Enterprise Web 2.0 tools.

How can you make sure your Enterprise 2.0 application or tools will be well accepted and adopted by your end users? By looking at some successful Enterprise 2.0 applications now in the market, I think there are three things they do really well:

1. Focus on what values your product can bring to its target customers.
This is the rule of thumb for any product to be successful in the market. If we look at some of the Web 2.0 tools, such as Blogs, RSS and Wikis, they are becoming very popular in the enterprise space because companies have a good understanding of their values for business. In the enterprise space, users care more about collaboration and improving productivity. If your products or applications can clearly articulate and deliver its value to an enterprise, from running Email campaigns, to collaborating on a presentation, it will have its place in the market.

2. Foster viral adoption.
We cannot overlook the social aspect of Enterprise 2.0. Therefore, enabling viral adoption in an Enterprise 2.0 product/application will play a big role in the success of the product/application. This is a lesson that we can learn from Facebook, MySpace and Linkedin in the consumer space. How many times did each of us receive invitations to join someone’s social networks, to become someone’s friends, or to be added as a connection? Let the informal network within the company work its magic. Coworkers and colleagues will be connected because they choose to be part of the social network, not because their bosses ask them to do so. Take IBM BeeHive as an example, the ‘Hive5s” are branded as the “key viral ingredient” by Toby Ward in his blog. (You can find more information about the Hiv5s on his blog). According to Toby, since Beehive’s launch last August, more than 35,000 IBMers are registered users of Beehive.

3. Make sure you can impress your early adopters.
Your early adopters will be the one who give the product a life. They will be creating contents for the followers, sending out invitations to their coworkers and making sure that their social networks are the most active ones. They are intelligent and proactive. Once they see the value in your product, they will be your champions. In addition, the quality of the content they create is indicative of what kind of following they will have. It is important that their voice is heard and their needs are met; so take advantage of their enthusiasm, allow them to leverage the viral aspect of the product to attract new users.

Above are my observations and suggestions. Let me know if you have any feedback.

Ching

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