Analysis: McKinsey’s enterprise web 2.0 survey

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McKinsey & Company recently released the results of a survey called "Building the Web 2.0 Enterprise" (free with registration).  Here’s what I found interesting for those responsible for making social technologies work.

1) Social technologies are bigger than just marketing and PR campaigns.  They’re helping to reinvent the organization.  Companies satisfied with their experience with Web 2.0 technologies are applying them within change management practices and organizational structures.  Companies are using new tools to reconnect with customers for co-creation and collaboration.  "Reconnecting," you ask?  Yes, the way businesses started and survived long before advertising as we hate it existed.

2) It’s what’s on the inside that counts.  94% of respondents report internal use of web 2.0 technologies vs. 87% for customer interfaces and 75% for channel relationships.  In fact, internal use increased from 2007 while customer and channel uses declined.  Using web 2.0 applications internally are like picking low-hanging fruit.  Technology operates on standards, communities are pre-formed, and processes have low variation.

3) Success starts at the top.  Web 2.0 may be all about power to the people, but in an enterprise setting it needs a senior stamp of approval.  On average, only 1 in 4 employees use web 2.0 tools; in companies with higher usage, one key is "getting senior managers to act as role models for adoption." Conversely, among companies with low levels of satisfaction with web 2.0, a major barrier to success is seen as "my company’s leadership team doesn’t encourage the use of web 2.0 technologies."

4) IT needs to get aligned with the business.  How do businesses dissatisfied with web 2.0 experiences start using these things in the first place?  Most often, IT selects the technology and brings it to the business.  That’s like having a builder decide how big your house is going to be, what appliances and fixtures you’ll get, while you can decide what color to paint the walls.  Businesses that are satisfied with web 2.0 determine a business need, then find a solution to help.

Takeaways to consider:

– Organizations are changing and may look the same externally but will operate very differently on the inside once social technology adoption reaches critical mass (i.e. a majority of employees using these tools for  work purposes)

– In the near term, this may be a case where the irresistible force (i.e. web 2.0) meets the
immovable object (i.e. senior management).  Adoption of social
computing correlates higher with younger generations…and Gen Xers
aren’t yet running Fortune 500 enterprises.

– Marketing, IT, HR, and Finance all need to get along…but any department’s role as an order taker will be justified unless it can tie itself to business goals and objectives.

(Note: If you found this post useful, let me know and I’ll start making it a habit to publish analyses like this regularly.  Of course, I’ll need your help in hearing about what data is out there and also what perspectives are most interesting to you.)