Major suppliers, such as IBM, are creating portfolios’ of products and services to serve the expected surge of adoption within business segments globally. IBM is working on several products — all under a new Enterprise 2.0 initiative — to help companies adopt Web 2.0 technologies.
Informationweek had an article about IBM’s move to supply businesses with Web 2.0 support services and products: “There are two worlds today,” said Anant Jhingran, chief technology officer for IBM’s Information Management Software Division. “Either companies can say IT will supply everything or IT can say we will enable you to innovate. Instead of putting their foot down and saying they will not allow it, they can accept it and focus on deliverability, security and manageability.”
“According to a recent McKinsey survey of nearly 3,000 global business executives, 75% of companies surveyed said they will increase Web 2.0 investments in the next three years Jhingran said IBM’s customers have been pushing the software vendor for assistance in bringing in Web 2.0 technologies, like wikis, blogs and social networking applications. How can they enable workers to use this new technology while managing it and safeguarding the network? And this customer push only grew in force in the past six months, he added.”
Peggy Bresnick Kendler reports “Insurance Industry Leaders Discuss The Opportunity Of Web 2.0“. Her article summarizes industry leaders perspectives relative to the social web, below is a summary of her interviews.
John Anthony, of The Hartford says: “Web 2.0 is a misnomer that describes an ongoing shift, rather than a short-term transition, in how services are enabled over the Internet. For insurers, this shift is primarily driven by the desire to leverage the Internet as a true computing platform. For example, carriers can expose to customers data-driven services traditionally locked away in policy administration, billing, claims, CRM and other systems, resulting in a network-enabled value chain that empowers customers and expands the carrier’s market in a scalable, cost-effective manner. Future market pressure will encourage insurers to differentiate themselves by building radically new services with Web 2.0 characteristics. ”
“We have seen initial insurer investments in Web 2.0 technologies as part of ongoing efforts to enhance IT portfolios by combining redundant and closed technology functions into meaningful business services. When designed correctly, these services are exposed directly to partners, distributors and customers over the Web, resulting in more-flexible and cost-effective interactions.”
Matt Nelson, of the TowerGroup says: “Web 2.0 is the use of lightweight, intuitive, Web-based services that rely on user participation and user-contributed data, and generally involve some level of social interaction and networking. For financial services firms, this isn’t going to mean MySpace [a social networking site]. But it might mean taking some of the philosophies that have made similar sites so popular in the consumer realm and applying them to business software and client portals.”
David David McFarlane, of Nexaweb says: “Web 2.0 allows financial services companies to deliver complex, strategic services such as insurance premium calculation and claims processing through the ubiquitous and economic reach of the Web. The competitive advantages are clear: global collaboration through visual metaphors using unstructured data and multimedia; informed decision support through real-time events and data feeds from multiple sources; and regulatory compliance through centrally managed applications with a consistent look and feel. ”
Add to the above a recent study by Intel that says: “More than one-third of businesses are already using some form of the interactive or user-generated technologies, such as blogging, that get grouped under the Web 2.0 heading.” Intel recently announced that it has put together a collaboration software package for small to medium sized businesses that provides applications for blogs, RSS feeds, wikis and social networking.
We’ve found and are involved in numerous other industry initiatives too lengthy to post here however the point is businesses and entire industries are moving to the social web. Suppliers are gearing up, industries are paying attention, customers are engaging, consumers are ready but who will be the market makers by industry? Much of the examples above are still early and it appears while there is interest and insight most are in the beginning stages.
Leapfrogging will Accelerate Adoption
Leapfrogging, the strategy of jumping over and ahead of your competition, will be the tipping point which will accelerate entire industries globally into the social web. As soon as a company, large or small, leverages the social web for strategic advantage and the media writes about its success entire industries will shift like a California wildfire coming over the hill.
Leapfrogging requires leaders to look way ahead of current trends and capabilities and create strategies unforeseen and unknowable to current market dynamics. Leap Frogging requires faith and confidence in technological advances with the ability to envision possibilities yet realized. Leaders are those gifted with a keen eye on the future and the ability to pave a road that brings their entire organization, if not their entire industry, to new futures that will be enabled by the social web.
So, are you, your business or your industry ready to Leapfrog or are you discounting the emergence of the social web and moving slow?
What say you?