Nicholas de Wolff, National Film Festival for Talented Youth:
“Too many people are diving into the Web 2.0 and 3.0 pools
before they even know with whom they are swimming.”
Social business seen as making seismic waves in marketing, sales, operations
The adoption of Web 2.0 and social networking accelerated significantly over the past year, and it shows no sign of stopping. Global digital word of mouth is disrupting growing swaths of business models, and CEOs want to understand its opportunities and threats. Although the Web is resplendent with prognostications from social media gurus, the voices of enterprise practitioners are too rarely heard.
To remedy that, I’ve gathered the perspectives of highly experienced executives who share their thoughts on how Web 2.0 is changing their businesses and mindsets. They also share its limitations and problems. Keep in mind that each contributor wrote independently, and I have made no attempt to unify their views, although I will offer my analysis and conclusions as well as the intriguing backstory below. Here is a sampling of the group’s eclectic insights:
- A seismic shift in marketing is emergent, and chief marketing officers will require robust strategies to succeed consistently with Web 2.0 and use it to their advantage.
- Gamification will redefine “work” and “play” and gradually make them indistinguishable.
- Performance demands on government will force it to shed its laggard stereotype and pioneer social business at local and federal levels.
- Arguably the biggest disruption of all is that green energy is enabling billions of previously unconnected people to join the world as participants; China and India are two of the fastest growing economies of the world, and millions of people are jumping online every year. Infrastructure limitations are forcing extreme innovation.
- An exciting new career is digital salespeople who help people to deal with exploding choices.
- The print news industry will struggle but continue to crater—this year, executives will create surprising alliances in last-ditch efforts to control content—and laid-off journalists will retool by launching myriad new content ventures.
- The continued explosion of ideas and information will burden attention spans and drive the need for curation and consideration to maximize engagement
- Enterprise 2.0 will continue to make gains, but it will face numerous obstacles.
- Adoption is proceeding in professional services, as reflected by the commercial real estate industry.
- Mobile social networking will see significant growth driven by mobile applications and increased handset sales worldwide.
- Adoption in Latin America is mixed; in Mexico, limitations in networks, venture capital and monopolistic telecoms slow progress.
- Ultimately the value created by social networks is driven by trusted relationships, but business will struggle to predict their value. Emerging models will attempt to quantify the value of interactions and trust building.
Enterprise 2.0 will shift to a multifaceted solutions-based approach—but struggle
R. Todd Stephens, Ph.D., Sr. Technical Architect (Collaboration & Online Services), AT&T, Atlanta
Web 2.0 Interests me from a variety of viewpoints. First, as a technical architect within a Fortune 100 company, I am interested in how organizations are incorporating Web 2.0 into their internal business environments. I want to understand the “how” of implementation and the real value delivered to the enterprise. Second, I spend a great deal of time writing about the impact of Web 2.0 to small business. Web 2.0 can generate real business value in both contexts.
Web 2.0 is impacting change in the interaction and dramatic shift in how work gets done. Global organizations now have to communicate and compete 24 hours a day, and they need tools that enable seamless communication. Whether you’re an employee, consultant or customer, you now have the tools to communicate directly with your audience without layers of management impacting the message. We have seen both a huge migration to Web 2.0-enabled enterprise collaboration tools and limited success with 2.0-only technologies. This is because most people want solutions, not technology. In 2010, we will see the migration away from technologies like blogs, wikis, twitter, social networks, etc. to a more solution-based approach. Organizations will ask solution providers to solve problems with a collection of technologies and processes that include collaborative technologies, mobile devices, unified communications and Web 2.0 technologies.
Web 2.0 will continue to struggle within large enterprises. While we hear the success stories, they are still a very small minority. Some of these difficulties are due to the economy, management, culture, small contribution rates, and lack of ROI models. Moreover, these hurdles will not be overcome by 2010. Despite the rose-colored reporting, our Web 2.0 implementations are not succeeding. The good news is that they are not failing either, which allows them to continue to fight for another year.
New private social networks will sip Bing’s value
Clifton Muhammad, Management Consultant, Infosys & Field Marshall, Obama for America, Chicago
I improve business processes for organizations that face transformation from new technology. As a management consultant with over 20 years of experience with business transformation, I have helped many industry pioneers.
In 2009, Web 2.0 technologies tipped the balance between networks and knowledge. The social networks, which used Web 2.0 technologies, increased the value of the knowledge bases that they tapped, well beyond the expectations of past years. For subject matter experts who used social networks in 2009, the year’s growth in the number of other networked subject matter experts increased the value of the knowledge that each individual possessed, by providing an efficient means to identify the most relevant information in their aggregated knowledge base.
– Clifton Muhammad
Search engines commoditized a large amount of information, in recent years, through the aggregation of vast knowledge bases—any information anyone wanted to have about anything seemed to become just a google search away—while a big need still remained for curation of that massive amount of available information. With the growth of social networks, the reputation of the person who delivered information began to matter more than the information delivered. The integrity of the people in my social network (for example) became much more valuable than the raw information they held because I wanted to trust the information that I got.
In 2010, we’ll see Microsoft’s Bing and other efforts in search and aggregation miss the mark. Businesses will seek to capture more value from the relationships within their organizations and spend less to retain the reservoirs of information that those relationships will ultimately tap. History provides numerous examples where tolls and transit services followed the realization of a desired resource to capture much of that resource’s wealth. In 2010 new social networking models will develop to enable transit and curation of the knowledge that’s most valued within organizations.
Microsoft’s Bing search engine may disrupt Google’s current reservoir of knowledge, through content exclusivity agreements. However the value of that knowledge will depend on new models of both gated and open social networks. I will seek opportunities to adapt the new models for social networks (such as Aardvark) to capture the greater business value in 2010.
Transformation takes time
Ken Kabira, Managing Principal at TrueWorks, CMO Chicago Transit Authority, CMO McDonald’s Japan, Chicago
I help organizations define and improve customer experience. Recently CMO of the Chicago Transit Authority, I led two Web 2.0 initiatives: to enable customers to help each other to use the transit and to engage employees to improve how we ran the CTA more efficiently and effectively.
In the first case, we helped the large segment of the Chicago population that spoke little to no English. The CTA website was (and still is) English only. The agency just doesn’t have the budget to create sites in multiple languages. We used wikis in various languages to enable people to educate each other on how to use the transit system. In the second initiative, we sought to make employee suggestions more transparent and valuable by using a star-based voting system with a comment section (a la Amazon.com’s reader reviews) to get input from the 4,000+ drivers much faster than the pen-and-paper system.
Amazon, Best Buy, and other sites that allow users vote on ideas was the source of our inspiration. One of the weaknesses of employee suggestion programs is that other employees don’t get to see and vet what their colleagues suggested. The CTA’s Scheduling and Service Planning departments need feedback from bus drives and train operators, but it is difficult to know how good suggestions are or how bad a problem is. By having other operators see the ideas and vote on it, we could try to tap the wisdom of the crowd.
In 2010 we will see more public agencies taking risks to engage in this sort of “flat” information sharing and insight gathering. The biggest obstacle will be the CYA mentality of public officials and the legal departments, which hinder risk-taking. However, it’s important to remember that public agencies are rarely rewarded for doing things right, but a slightest error is severely criticized by the press, which never bothers to understand the constraints under which these officials have to operate.
Increasing adoption in commercial real estate
Michael Lunn, Principal Broker at Re/Max Commercial Property Solutions LLC, Chicago, President of the CCIM Illinois
I am a commercial real estate broker on the front line of delivering value to ROI-driven clients. I also serve as President of the Illinois CCIM Chapter. CCIM is the top designation in commercial brokerage. Mine is a black and white, what-have-you-done-for-me-lately world, but most of my new assignments come via referral and reputation.
Commercial real estate professionals have embraced LinkedIn, but they shun Facebook and Twitter as frivolous and unprofessional. Blogging has reached a critical mass, as has using private peer-to-peer email systems like mailbridge, which enables our 5,000 members to ask the (private) crowd about: inside information on a certain firm, procedural/legal issues or trusted people to whom we refer business. This is more focused than LinkedIn, and I receive better quality responses than asking 50 million general members the same question. Our business is becoming more competitive, so the true professionals are experimenting and getting out of their comfort zones to adopt new technology for their own and their clients’ benefit.
A key trend is that professionals are weighing carefully where to invest their loyalties because technology gives them a choice. Whether they work for a national brokerage or an independent firm or perhaps they change geography, they have more choice in how to build their networks. Does it make sense to invest their limited time for networking within their current firm or in one geographic area, or does it make more sense to focus on their trade association affiliation and invest time there? The idea is find and commit to supporting the highest quality group that will let you join. I may be a bit biased, but this distinction “clicks” with my peers, and I believe has a common compelling logic for other industries. Group loyalties will transcend employer loyalties.
In 2010, I see top professionals in our field seeking to bend technology to their short term needs continuing, and CCIM intends to use platforms like groupsites.com. Our goals are to have our volunteer boards interact more efficiently between meetings, and to extend our value geographically as we seek to serve more members. Within my firm, we intend to build our own CRE groups dedicated to topics like property taxes. Group members are motivated and frustrated, so they contribute their unique experiences and insights. Members are by definition prospective customers of our primary services. 2010 belongs to those who are aware of their surroundings, and who are willing to adapt quickly to events as they unfold.
Flight to quality and subscription-based models
Nicholas de Wolff, Business Strategy Expert, Chair – National Film Festival for Talented Youth, Los Angeles
Most recently, I served as Chief Marketing Officer for a large multinational technology service provider. As co-founder of the New Media Council of the Producers Guild of America, and a member of the Interactive Media Peer Group at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, my interest in emerging media is both technologically and creatively motivated.
I have seen many peers adopt Web strategies inappropriately because they are under pressure from either agency vendors who should know better or from executive management (or even shareholders) to pursue the “next new thing”. Unfortunately, too many people are diving into the Web 2.0 and 3.0 pools before they even know with whom they are swimming. The best Web advances are as yet merely trends that will only solidify their value propositions with time. Any good marketing executive must have a Web strategy, but it must be a well-researched and fully informed strategy, which requires either a hefty and well-aimed commitment or great patience. 2009 demonstrated that businesses and consumers alike lacked the latter. Meanwhile, companies like PepsiCo and Starbucks were making the investments, with the results still in question.
2009 saw ubiquity and expansion trumping security and selective pre-qualification. Facebook et al have risked alienating their enviable user base due to their efforts to widen their sphere of influence and, while I believe the gamble will ultimately pay off, other ventures that sacrificed quality of infrastructure for market penetration may not fare so well. Meanwhile, Microsoft has continued to plod along—confident that infrastructure control will yield long-term benefits that far outweigh shorter term gains. Bing, Office 2010, and other releases will soon show whether the giant’s focus on security and robustness will be able to wrest the gains made by the likes of OpenOffice.org, Google, Firefox and others. The fact that Microsoft has stopped (for the most part) behaving like a behemoth, and is once more allowing its business units to function with a greater degree of autonomy, is a good sign.
2010 will bring a slowdown in the rate of release and adoption. 2009 was the year of acquisition of market share, and I want to see 2010 become the year of refinement and quality of service. Many ventures will focus on quality, and those that do not will be left in the dust by consumers no longer willing to put up with anything but the highest levels of product and solution service. As a result, later 2010 and early 2011 will see firms shift to subscription-based business models from advertising and VC funding.
Just as film studios are becoming entertainment content aggregators for the screen(s), so social media networks and hardware platforms are becoming application aggregators (the new short-form content delivery model?) for multi-platform media and entertainment. Look for AP and Reuters to release apps for Blackberry/iPhone/iPad/Android/FB/Foursquare/Kindle, while NYT and WSJ release apps for the same, as well as PC/Mac and Linux. The USER will not permit themselves to be limited by device, and will subscribe to content and app providers who are platform agnostic (within reason).
Finally, brands that recognize that they do not necessarily know it all will reflect a balance between expertise and collaborative engagement, so the industries and consumers they seek to engage will self-identify. Consumers will be drawn to not only these brands’ physical products or solutions but also to the evolving and strengthening reputation of their character. Consumers say, “Listen to my feedback, ill-informed as it may sometimes be, and help me maximize and leverage my faith in your product or solution. Your reward will be my enthusiastic promotion of your offering.”
Seismic shift in marketing
Randall Beard, CMO, Nielsen IAG
I am currently Global EVP & General Manager at Nielsen IAG, responsible for Consumer Packaged Goods. I have 25+ years global experience across consumer packaged goods, financial services and high-touch service brands, including Procter & Gamble, American Express and UBS.
With approximately 50% of consumers belonging to at least one social network, marketers have had to restructure their approach to engaging consumers and connecting their brand’s benefit to a compelling need. Marketers have begun to view social networks as a significant marketing contact point (and perhaps even more important than traditional channels) for procuring consumer data and knowledge. The advent of Facebook Connect, OpenID, and similar capabilities has enabled consumers to traverse the web and bring their networks with them.
2010 will see significant evidence of a “seismic” shift in marketing: ROI-based advertising and media. This will help brands analyze what really works and what doesn’t in Web, TV, in-program product placement and cross-media. Based on the airline industry’s principle of yield management, advertisers will increasingly be able to place the right ad in the right program against the right target at the right price. For Web advertising, this means that brand marketers will have to consider the increasingly important, and perhaps even dominant role, of online social communities as consumers interact with each other to make decisions about brands, products and services.
More broadly, media targeting and buying will move from simple demographics to more sophisticated psychographic and behavioral targeting. Media selection will begin to move from simple eyeballs to include consumer engagement with programs, as well as ad effectiveness based on context. Marketers will realize that TV advertising is NOT going away or becoming less effective. Instead, they will begin to understand the importance of planning integrated TV-Web 2.0 marketing campaigns, as well as the importance of designing paid media programs that drive earned media, which, in turn, makes their paid efforts more effective.
Finally, driven by digital and Web 2.0, marketing will increasingly move from an annual plan to a real-time, sense-and-respond function. Marketing effectiveness will increasingly be measured in real time, and adjustments will be made “on the fly,” based on ROI metrics. This will drive a fundamental re-ordering of the marketing organization and governance models.
Mobile social networking will grow strongly—Twitter will be acquired
Alvin Chin, Senior Researcher, Nokia Research Center, Beijing, PRC
Social networking will become truly mobile. This means you will actually be able to record social interactions in real life and dynamically update them to your online social networks.
ZigBee devices will be on the market. ZigBee is the next big wireless technology that has good bandwidth and extremely low power compared to Bluetooth. The technology is mature enough to make it into products.
Twitter will be acquired. Seeing how Ping.fm (what I use to post to all my online social networks) was acquired by Seesmic, I think some company will come to the plate to buy Twitter, even though Twitter does not want to be bought. Perhaps Google might buy Twitter; they bought Jaiku but then killed it off.
Open and portable social networking. Every social network will have its own API, and, with technologies like Facebook Connect and Google Friend Connect, we will see our social networks being brought with us to any Website.
Microsoft’s Project Natal will be deployed as an add-on to Xbox. Microsoft already displayed the promise with Natal using body movements and will challenge the Nintendo Wii. Look for the add-on on Xbox to happen this year.
Pullback from online social networking in favor of offline, newspapers will continue to die off
Coley Perry, Consultant to Owners, Executives, Managers and their Businesses, Chicago
Revenue models that do not only rely on “eyeballs” will begin to emerge. There are only so many Googles and Microsofts with deep enough pockets to follow the “build it and they will come” and “we will figure it out later” strategy.
Somebody smart will figure out how to put “social” back in social media. The revenue opportunities exist in offline interactions and in REAL LIFE. The Facebook generation does not want to be exploited by advertising, mining of their data, etc. They also will eventually pull back from exposing their data when they realize that social networks are great places for identity thieves, HR departments, parents, relatives, stalkers, etc. Therefore, the offline opportunity will be a great way to create a revenue model around experience, events, etc. As an example, LinkedIn has pop-up networking communities in each of its geographies. What if they would have used their brand to create revenue for themselves by facilitating and providing content for these events. Because they have a subscription model already and additional charge for a worthwhile offline experience would be easy to add to my monthly or annual credit card transaction. Especially if it was an “Expense.”
LinkedIn could begin to brand as the “American Express” of today. Because of their demographic they could begin to build affinity channels and other “value-add” that are off-line focused that could drive revenue. Think the “LinkedIn Card” or the “LinkedIn-side Lounge” a 3rd place for folks to meet and engage. I pitched this to LI when Dan Nye was in charge and they were interested, since the software guys are back in charge they are more interested in building software than building business.
There will be more M&A activity in the content provider world. Ultimately this will be all about content creation and distribution. Web 2.0/3.0 is just a new set of tools on top of the Internet. I used to call my friend on the phone and tell him/her about the party I went to last night. Now I post to Facebook and do not interact with him/her. This content is interesting and possibly valuable (I doubt it).
Content providers like Mashable and Wikipedia will be acquisition targets of those with deep pockets (i.e. Comcast). In addition, journalists of ongoing newspaper failures will have to retool, which will produce new Web 2.0 ventures and content sources. Think about this. The Los Angeles Times’ beat writer for the LA Kings was laid off due the current cost cutting environment. So the LA Kings hired him, and now the LA Kings control their “news.” The print channel is dying, and he can add considerable value to the Kings organization. Does that mean the LA Kings are in the content business? I think so if they want to drive, PR, Marketing, Season Ticket Sales, TV/Radio Contracts, etc.
Traditional newspapers will get closer to official death by the end of 2010. Just like Grunge killed Heavy Metal in the early ’90s.
Advances in facial recognition, decline in value for some social network activities
Bill Burnett, Partner — Launchpad Partners, Change Catalyst, Chicago, USA
Perhaps the people who probably profited most from Web 2.0 in 2009 were the Web 2.0 gurus. I think this may continue into 2010. At the same time, the value of social activities like asking/answering LinkedIn questions, and LinkedIn updates will decline due to overuse and misuse.
We may see new players come into the market to compete with LinkedIn, such as clickable graphic user interfaces like Muckety provides. In addition, the capability to use face recognition technology may mean that photos on Facebook may allow the building of connections networks based primarily on photos.
Demands for our attention using Web tools needs to be thought through. People who will stand out in Web 2.0 are those who will appreciate the demands on our attention: they will know when to go after deep thinking, when to accommodate our short attention spans, and when to incent attention.
Slow going in Latin America—iPhone a bright spot
Nicolas Gillet, CEO, Latin3G, San Francisco
I have 20 years of technology and management experience with start-ups, and I’ve led the strategy of Latin3G since 2004. We launched a professional social network, iximati, in 2009. Its 12,000 users are mainly in Mexico and Argentina. Some Web 2.0 observations and predictions for Latin America are:
Mobile Web 2.0 in Mexico is still slow on non-smartphone handsets. The best thing we are seeing is the rise of iPhone/iPod in Mexico. iPhone/iPod Apps drive start-ups some revenue because they don’t have to deal with the carrier monopoly.
I am seeing some positive developments in Mexico: in 2009, many barcamps were organized, new blogs launched, and more apps developers entered the market. However, we have a serious lack of business angels or venture capitalists to strengthen innovation.
Digital salespeople, 3D printing and games as work
Ian Hughes a.k.a. epredator, Emerging Technology Consultant, Metaverse Evangelist, Feeding Edge Ltd, Southampton, UK
2009 saw me leave the corporate world of IBM where I had brought enterprises into Web 2.0 and into virtual worlds as an emerging technologist and metaverse evangelist. The fact we have so many ways to connect and do business with one another meant this transition was possible, and required. Here are some of the technologies that will see marked adoption in 2010-2019.
Brands crossing digital borders. Organizations will have to increase engagement with people where they happen to want to be online and offline. It will not be enough, as it was back in the early Web, to just leave a website lying around to be found. Business has to become a travelling exhibit, a movable market stall that can be adjusted and placed wherever people are or want to be. Digitally, distance knows no bounds, but firms need more than signpost or banner ads. They need active guides, persuaders, dare I say salespeople? Maybe I am referring to my evangelist brethren though? People who know the territory, have experience and speak the language working for companies, not just as a sideline that the company takes for granted. 2010 starts to see post-recession rebuilding of businesses. In growth they seek change and efficiency. Just as we saw Amazon, eBay and Google arise from the 90’s dotcom crash, is it inevitable we see new players this time around.
3-Dimensional printing. Ten years should be enough for this to become mainstream, as by then the transmission of 3D content and design with the associated rules and regulations, kite marks, certifications, etc., will start to be in place. Why move goods all over the planet when you can make them locally? It really is a no-brainer. 2010 has seen HP enter the market providing 3D printing. The pressures on manufacturing and logistics from green issues to piracy plus an increased digital design literacy will drive this forward in the next few years.
Games as work. Eventually firms will understand that a significant portion of employees will have spent much of their lives entertaining themselves with World of Warcraft, Modern Warfare 2 and even Farmville. Firms will work out that there is no reason for humans to drudge along doing dull and repetitive work for the sake of it. Firms that transform menial tasks (at very little cost) into entertaining, morale-lifting and thought-provoking activities will see significant boosts in productivity. Work and business is a role-playing game. Donald Trump says he is not interested in money, but it helps to use it to keep score. (I guess I need to alter the game I play ;) ). This will of course become a lot easier to do as services in the enterprise are exposed, instrumented, rendered and represented in more meaningful ways in environments like Second Life Enterprise. As with all forms of human communication, some people will evolve and flourish while learning to entertain, inform, persuade and motivate using all the online tools and presence that we are able to engage with today. 2010 could well see a landmark venture, a game experience whose aim is to get work done. There is much discussion of gamification. However the cultural acceptance of what work is will take a few more years as the workforce balances generationally.
Renaissance and access for all. Projects like one laptop per child and local country connectivity initiatives are essential. We currently have a divided society in which many of us are the monks with our illuminated Apple logos enabling us to connect with the world. We have an increasing number of people who are just learning to decipher the history of our writings. They no longer need to hear us read it out loud because they write their own digital histories and, more importantly, their futures. We have a few naysayers that are worried that if everyone has access to this, the world will end as we know it. I mean, people communicating with one another and understanding one another’s cultures, ideas and needs without being brokered by a ruling class! Education powered by global digital inclusion will drive some huge innovations, upheavals and positive outcomes over the next 10 years. It is putting technology in the hands of people—as a tool to use as it suits them, not just for the sake of a cool gadget—is going to precipitate this generational renaissance.
Emerging economy advances in green-powered Web
Jeanne Heydecker, AVP – Worldwide Marketing at Vihaan Networks, New Delhi, India
An American high-tech executive with 25 years experience with start-ups, I moved to India two years ago. Juxtaposing these experiences gives me a different perspective on Web 2.0’s value proposition since I live partially off the electrical grid.
Web 2.0’s most transformational potential is empowering disenfranchised people around the world, thereby opening up markets. Connecting the unconnected has become a political cliche, but it is truly critical to lifting people out of poverty, providing opportunities to those who heretofore had a challenging quality of life and few choices. To me, connectivity is second only to a water pump in its significance to a village.
I currently work with a company that is building solar-powered telecom equipment specifically designed for rural areas with unreliable or no electricity. Our systems use very little power (less than a 100 watt light bulb), but they provide voice and data connectivity to places that have had no access to the rest of the world. These systems are typically used by illiterate citizens, so current traffic is mostly voice, and it typically stays within the village and the surrounding area. However, our systems pave the way for entrepreneurs to introduce solar-powered thin clients and servers and establish Internet cafes and charging stations.
This emerging ecosystem opens up new worlds and enables small villages to provide e-learning, e-health and financial education to their children. As these children and their families learn to read and write, the systems will see more broadband traffic. Learning will provide more opportunities and choice. Exposing rural communities to accurate information assists democracy by converting apathetic citizens into contributing and informed voters. We’ve seen sparks of this in 2009, particularly in countries dealing with corrupt voting systems. Rural communities are the next untapped market for wireless communication: the next billion subscribers will not be coming from urban markets.
2009 was the year that green-powered technology was finally recognized as a huge untapped market with unlimited potential. As fossil-fuel based technologies struggle with higher costs and a finite cap on their potential, I see renewable tech as the next wave of support for powering voice/data communications. There are already solar powered phones, mobile chargers and laptops. Open source software like Linux on thin clients that use much less power will become more widespread, particularly in emerging economies in Central Asia, Southeast Asia, Latin America and Africa.
2010’s ICT markets will continue to grow exponentially, with some vendors continuing to focus on the shrinking returns of urban markets. These vendors are not accepting the new economy with its green-powered potential. China and India are the top two fastest-growing markets, and their need for power is huge. The Copenhagen Climate Change Conference did not succeed in making the impact it should have: no one even mentioned the pollution and health hazards attributed to the telecom and internet industries. The renewable sector of this industry will still be a slow starter, even though the technology has been recognized as significant in 2009. Real impact, anecdotal evidence, and significant deployment won’t begin until late 2010, once early adopters report their findings. The paradigm shift to sustainable power is still five years away.
Broad advances in mobile, networks and reviews—a new Facebook challenger
Steve Ghareeb, Business Development Specialist & Revenue Generator, Chicago
A career business development executive, I have helped companies find and realize significant new revenue growth for the past 20 years. Most recently, I have specialized in working with software and hardware startups. I use Web 2.0 sites to stay current with market and product trends and to determine where the next opportunities will emerge.
Web 2.0-enabled collaboration will unlock extensive value, but this will take time. For example, I encourage my teams to launch wikis for prospective clients to share information, status and questions easily during the prospecting process. When we win the work, the wiki seamlessly transitions to a project tool. My Web 2.0 observations and predictions for 2010:
Ethics and Integrity in protecting corporate confidential information will have to take on a greater emphasis, as technology will not be able to address much of the information exchanged over social networks. I believe companies will wake up to this and start addressing it.
Filtering through what is “real” and “what is not” will get clearer in the next year. Not sure exactly how that will happen but believe it will be part technology and part evolving social protocols of what is acceptable in the various mediums.
Clear’s 4G wireless push will drive a competitive upgrade in mobile and residential broadband for both access and speeds by all providers (wireless, cable, DSL). This will create many new opportunities for both business and consumer Web 2.0 applications, especially those that are mobile but require more bandwidth.
Google’s Android will also push mobile apps across the board for all phone platforms. The application development will become simpler and more widespread, and the applications will take off and become very specific to user needs.
Mobile Web apps for input and feedback will make some huge strides forward. They will get considerably easier to find, view and use.
Consumer/Purchaser reviews will explode in 2010. It is common and useful today but not everyone knows it yet. The word is spreading like wildfire. Amazon reviews are a great source of info for virtually any consumer product whether you buy from Amazon or not. I am curious to see what centralized resources develop for the sale of commercial B2B products.
Another social networking tool to challenge Facebook will show up and begin growth with early adopters and the younger generation of users.
Content delivery models will get significantly refined with ROIs based on some sort of revenue. It may be indirect forms of revenue but it will become more measured, studied and accountable.
More media content will become subscription-based, especially in vertically-oriented content delivered via Web and e-readers. Ubiquity of readable content across devices will accelerate.
Government Web 2.0 information, applications and use will also explode. Significantly more useful information. Ironically, this will start with the Federal Government and trickle down to state, county and local levels.
Old media strange bedfellows strike back—mixed results for Corporate Web 2.0
Richard Miller, Ph.D., Marketing & Web Business Strategy Executive
I’ve been a marketing executive focusing on digital solutions and innovation for over 20 years. I have been constantly involved with helping large organizations build their businesses by adopting technology-driven innovation. Over the past few years, I’ve advised large organizations, small businesses and individuals on the value of Web 2.0 and the importance of actively managing the process for their businesses, their professional and personal lives, and the human factors driving adoption and change.
In 2010, old media will take more radical steps in an attempt to survive. They will form niche alliances that would have been previously unheard of, and they will declare war on the aggregators with creative solutions (e.g., by blocking links to their content—an ‘all or nothing proposition’ recommended earlier by Mark Cuban). News channels and their news organizations will not survive when they strive to look the same—by simply putting all of their content online and giving it away. Newspaper, television and radio Websites have created a sameness that’s unsustainable.
The pillars of social networking, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, will continue to solidify their positions through increased adoption by the public. However, pressures will increase on them to get paid for their services. Some of the pillars’ new paid services will drive consumers to more niche players that deliver value that’s more easily understood by individual niche users.
Large companies will continue to experiment with their social media business models, but in most instances they will see only modest success. However, those companies will begin to understand the emotional benefits that virtual connections provide individuals, and they will learn new ways to better leverage those ties. After all, people are all inherently social creatures who need to connect and engage others through the weak ties and small touches that Web 2.0 provides. We have become both less connected and more connected through the advent of Web 2.0. Companies will place more value and importance on the ‘social’ part of Web 2.0 and figure out better ways to include the lost art of conversation in their marketing plans—the art of listening, learning and sharing.
Strong corporate adoption across the board due to solid 2009 gains
Suzy Tonini, Manager, Member Firm Online Communications, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu
I currently serve as the communications liaison for 54 Member firms in over 140 countries and with approximately 169,000 employees.
My vantage point for viewing Web. 2.0 is that I work online for a large trans-global firm. Social media and Web 2.0 are breaking down cultural and country barriers to an unprecedented degree. People are meeting each other within the firm in ways that would never have happened before: they are sharing expertise and information, creating a knowledge repository, and being transparent in the exchange of information.
Web 2.0 is important in shaping internal global collaboration and innovation, as well as creating a large brand presence via Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Facebook. These efforts have been beneficial for recruitment, attracting clients and connecting with existing clients. In addition, Web 2.0’s reach and cost-effectiveness have been a huge plus in these recessionary times.
2009 was the year of laying the groundwork for using internal and external social media. 2010 will see various web 2.0 efforts being fine-tuned and much more widely adopted. People’s comfort levels will be much greater, ensuring faster adoption and more streamlined processes. Web 2.0 will be on its way of becoming as ubiquitous as email. The mobile web will also became an extremely important method of communication, as mobile phones and PDAs become more sophisticated while steadily luring new adopters with easy to use features.
Focus is on demand dreation and value measurment
Rob Peters, Chief Evangelist for the Relationship Networking Industry Association (RNIA) & Principal Leader, Banking Practice for Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC)
I serve as Chief Evangelist for the Relationship Networking Industry Association (RNIA). RNIA is a neutral workgroup. We build and maintain the Relationship Infrastructure to facilitate and measure quality interactions between “entities”, including people, job positions, workgroups, products and assets. We also certify people who demonstrate mastery of aspects of the relationship infrastructure. I also have 25 years of business development experience in consulting, technology, & application outsourcing.
Greater focus for most companies will be on demand creation through use of social media & Web 2.0 technologies. The old way of marketing and selling is not very effective or efficient for most industries anymore. Business leaders must have key performance indicators that measure the effectiveness of Web 2.0 interactions and 2010 is the year where adoption and measurement become more strongly integrated. Better use of measurement techniques on the cause and effect of “Earned Attention” in the generation of revenue and profit will top of mind.
Renowned “DRIVE” author, Dan Pink states that in the knowledge economy, people are motivated by greater autonomy, mastery, and purpose—not by carrots or sticks. In 2010, successful companies will be those that can intersect these personal motivations, Web 2.0 technologies, and key performance measurements that result in strong relationship capital interactions that generate revenue and profits.
The rules of the road for developing strong relationships online are rapidly maturing. In 2010, business leaders will begin to see the need for relationship standards so that these intangible assets can be managed more effectively. Web 2.0 technology is not enough without a financial management process overlaying these online interactions. These answers will not come from the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), but by Web 2.0 and social media leaders from across the globe.
Sociology will become the new economics
Christopher S. Rollyson, Founder, The Social Network Roadmap and The Executive’s Guide to Web 2.0 & Managing Director, CSRA Inc. & Founder, the Global Human Capital Journal
Digital social networks are one of the most important innovations in human history because they change the economics of relationships. They will disrupt every aspect of human society. I write this to communicate the importance of building competency as individuals and leaders. Too many executives regard social networks as a technology event because they do not understand that the cost of discovering, building and maintaining relationships is falling by an order of magnitude—globally. This will increase volatility and make some products and companies irrelevant with unprecedented speed.
Moreover, the most experienced people within organizations do not understand the social context of pervasive transparency and the new categories of relationship that social networks require. Experienced workers are slow to embrace digital social networks, which are a transformational new tool that will drive productivity through the roof for those that see the opportunity and use it. Adoption within the organization will require awareness of social interaction, which business has formerly considered as peripheral at most. Sociology will rapidly become the new economics.
Analysis and conclusions
Writing as the Editor in Chief, I am very impressed by the diversity and power of contributors’ insights. Depending on where you sit in the web of the global economy, any of these could hold tremendous opportunity or threat to your business.
- The Euro-centric world that was enabled by the levers of the Industrial Revolution is rapidly morphing to a multipolar world. Ian’s and Jeanne’s insights drove this home.
- Billions of people are accessing the Internet, and new technologies are emerging to enable them to communicate. Social networks create a digital social context that can bring people together, especially people who are sincerely interested in others and culturally astute.
- Industrial Economy marketing will rapidly become an anachronism, and CMOs must astutely accept this and turn it to their advantage. Randall, Ken and Richard shared diverse thoughts on this. Tactically, marketers must shift from talking to people to encouraging them to talk among each other. I look forward to learning more about Ian’s digital salesperson idea.
- There will be extensive experimentation with digitizing sociology, and the RNIA is one fascinating example (disclosure: I was an early contributor).
- A key means of unlocking the economics of social networks is encouraging many-to-many collaboration, as Ken pointed out. To enjoy the benefits, organizations must enable emergent organization, which is not in their comfort zones. Autonomy is an enabler. It energizes people.
- Although social networks will ultimately change our world, smart executives will realize, as with all other major disruptions, they must walk a tightrope: adopting the disruption aggressively while managing their legacy business processes and integrating wisely.
The Global Human Capital Journal decodes global transformation trends for CEOs, CMOs, CIOs, and we have focused on Web 2.0- and social network-driven disruption and opportunity since 2006. To celebrate accelerating adoption of social networks, I asked my LinkedIn Group, CSRA Innovation, to participate in this collective crystal ball gazing initiative. I managed the whole process within LinkedIn, with assistance from Google Docs.
This project itself bears testament to the power of digital social networks. Our contributors are extremely limited in time and attention, but the work processes and tools enabled us to make it happen. Some not-so-obvious points: create groups with trust and purpose. CSRA Innovation is exclusively focused on enterprise social networks, and this was our first collective project, which will serve as an example for others. A committed group becomes an expertise platform, which requires some organization to unlock. Moreover, it was an emergent process: asked about the group’s interest, designed the project and put it out there. Contributors delivered!Christopher S. Rollyson is a partner in Socialmedia.biz and managing director of CSRA, a management consultancy that advises enterprises and startups on social business strategy and execution. Contact Christopher by email, follow him on Twitter and Google Plus or leave a comment below.