E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

From the blog

It’s Time to Take the Quotation Marks Off “Web 2.0”

A few people have already been commenting on a great article that Dennis McDonald published over at Web 2.0 Journal: i-Technology Viewpoint: It’s Time to Take the Quotation Marks Off “Web 2.0” around the subject of the so-called Web 2.0 and how it may be time now to start taking it a bit more seriously than before in the business world. Certainly a worth while read. But I thought I would go ahead as well and share with you some of the ideas from the article that I think would be worth while commenting on:

  • For the customer it’s an opportunity to establish and maintain relationships that are both personally fulfilling and empowering in the face of the traditional power of larger institutions.
  • For the CEO of an established legacy industry company, it’s a threat of loss of control over customer relations.

Indeed, I couldn’t have agreed more with those two statements on how different people are viewing Web 2.0. I have been mentioning this already a few times but whoever thought that Web 2.0 is all about the tools and the technology is just not getting the full picture. And the above quoted text from Dennis is just another proof of where all this social software is heading.

Company executives must be willing to accept a new network architecture paradigm along with its frequent association with “social networking” functionality that many people are still not comfortable with

There is no denying that social networking is becoming more and more popular and what perhaps started to become mainstream from a personal non-business related perspective it is now turning into the business world by that same group of knowledge workers who may have been enjoying all of these tools. Indeed, if those knowledge workers have been enjoying all this social media for their own personal benefit they would want to extend that beyond and take it to their business(es). That is perhaps the reason why more and more companies are starting to embrace the usage of wikis, weblogs, social bookmarking, RSS and a whole bunch of other Web 2.0 tools because they are starting to see how folks have been more keen on sharing information and knowledge in those resources than in whatever other, more complex, traditional tools. And, of course, they want to seize that opportunity. And rightly so. Who wouldn’t. The key question though would be if it would be sustainable or not. I think so. I hope so.

In particular, knowledge workers inside and outside even the traditional industries will expect more conversational and interactive communications both within their companies and with the companies — and customers — they deal with. Management will need to adapt to the fact that employees are now able to engage with customers more frequently and on a more personal level than ever before. This engagement can lead to loyalty

And I would think that not only with customers but also with coworkers. The fact that people are now more willing to share their knowledge with their coworkers while making use of these tools is certainly going to boost not only that same loyalty that Dennis mentions but also another key aspect from a successful KM strategy: Trust. Indeed, through the usage of this social software we are seeing how knowledge workers are trusting each other more than whatever was happening with other more static collaborative tools because of the different new connections and relationships that they would be able to build up. And sustain.

And, finally, I just wanted to also point out to you the section How to move forward from Dennis’ article where he is providing some really good advice as to how different folks should be adapting Web 2.0 to their own businesses. Lots of great tips in there! Here is a teaser to get you going:

  1. “Start small.
  2. Involve both business and IT.
  3. Minimize integration complexity.
  4. Focus on business benefits.
  5. Know your costs.
  6. Use the technology.
  7. Face issues headlong.
  8. Don’t demonize the opposition.
  9. Remember it’s a business.
  10. Manage.”

Overall, and like I mentioned earlier on, a really worth while article that will put things into perspective as where we are heading with Web 2.0. And this time around without quotes.

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