In my last post I talked about how web 2.0 tools could help ME be more efficient and productive. What about companies? Businesses are always driven by the need to save time, cut costs, build a good brand image, communicate effectively internally but also with their customers or their other branches throughout the world and so on… Integrating Web 2.0 into the office environment could help them achieve these objectives and this is called Enterprise 2.0.
What benefits can companies reap from this technology and what risks will they have to handle if they want to protect the firm and its assets?
The benefits of enterprise 2.0
- Fostering collaboration: Web 2.0 tools can help create a bridge between different large groups of people making it easier for them to communicate and therefore collaborate. This connection helps disseminate information among employees and could lead to increased knowledge sharing. Another positive aspect of a better collaboration is that it helps employees build teamwork skills allowing each of them to work together and prevent duplication of already produced output.
- Increasing productivity: IDC Research found that “…knowledge workers spend 15-30% of their time seeking specific information and these searches are successful less than 50% of the time.” Through quick and easy access to resources and information, employees can save time, cut costs of fruitless searches and make better informed decision rapidly which is really important in today’s more and more knowledge-based work environment.
- Improving brand image: Social media are key to build your reputation and strong relationships with your customers. Interacting with your customers through social media helps them get a feel for what your business is and for who the people hiding behind the keyboard are which lead the customers to trust your company and even sometimes turn them into ambassadors of your brand that share your latest updates and retweet whatever news your announcing.
Uniqlo, a japanese apparel retailer, understood these benefits really well through the implementation of a network of blogs on a Movable Type platform to gather information about customers feedback from over 700 stores around the world. Uniqlo managed to process problems raised by their customers in real time by making information available to its employees all over the world immediately, allowing them to comment, find a solution and share it with the entire company only by using their mobile phones.
Toyota uses social media to actually involve the customers in their product development process. By organizing a vote to name the new Prius, Toyota customers or followers have the feeling that their opinion is valued and that the company care about their real needs and desires.
The risks of enterprise 2.0
- Security: One of the greatest risks of implementing enterprise 2.0 is that confidential information could leak and spread to thousands of people within an hour, making it hard to delete it and easy for competitors to retrieve.
- Loss of control: Because of enterprise 2.0’s unstructured way of communication, managers sense that they are loosing control of the flow of information within their company and in the outside world. They can’t possibly stand behind each employees, not to talk about customers, to see whether they are sharing negative or misleading comments that may harm the firm reputation.
- Reputation: A misuse of social media through inappropriate campaign or lack of responsiveness to customers interaction could hamper your customers trust and affection towards your brand.
The latter risk can be illustrated by Burger King Facebook campaign “The Whopper sacrifice”. This campaign encouraged Facebook users to unfriend 10 people to earn a free hamburger, with a notification sent to the sacrificed friends to let them know your allegiance to Burger King. Here comes a problem of value that the brand is willing to share. As appealing as a free burger sounds would you turn your back to friendship? Only 23 000 hungry and “amoral” Facebookers participated in the campaign that was disabled by Facebook after 10 days claiming that users privacy was violated through the sending of a notification to sacrificed friends.
To get the most out of enterprise 2.0 and prevent the previous risks from happening, companies must create an implementing strategy that consists of 4 steps: Understand the business drivers of the implementation, set a framework with practical policies, establish initiatives and seed pilot projects, iterate and refine to reach an ongoing culture of enterprise 2.0.
If you want to know more about Enterprise 2.0 benefits and risks here are some other posts that I found interesting: