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The McKinsey Quarterly recently published the results of their second annual survey of executives on the business use of Web 2.0 technologies; the Quarterly graciously granted approval to me for quoting the findings of the report, authored by the survey developers and analysts Jacques Bughin, James Manyika, and Andy Miller. After reading their findings, my thoughts turned to our own use of these technologies here in the SAP Communities ecosystem and how we compare with typical business enterprises, both globally and regionally. Anyone interested in an analysis of Web 2.0 at SAP should read Stephan de Haas’s About Web 2.0 at SAP.

 

It did not surprise me that the survey found both continuing investments in Web 2.0 technologies and significant levels of dissatisfaction, to the point that some organizations have already given up on stopped using certain technologies altogether. So how do the SAP communities stack up?  Opening up the corporate ecosystems to customers was reported as a growing trend, and I have no doubt that our communities are well established in this practice. The survey found that usage of wikis and blogs has increased over the past year, with companies in all regions recognizing their importance, so again, in my observation we are tracking fairly typically. On the other hand Jim Spath has already posted his observations on some challenges to use of Plexus, I mean Collaboration Workspace: Not Yet Part of my Daily Diet .

 

The regional differences in the survey provided some note-worthy insights. The European respondents gave the highest marks in rating web services as the most important tool. On the other hand, the North American respondents placed the most emphasis on the importance of social networks, whereas the respondents from India and Asia-Pacific rated blogs at a higher level of importance.  A cursory review of the SDN active bloggers list suggests roughly equal representation from people based in Europe and in the Americas, with India and Asia-Pacific following, although that is likely to be distorted by work-related migration.

 

One of the most interesting set of findings concerned the barriers to success of Web 2.0 initiatives.  Here the differences between highly satisfied and lowest satisfaction with these technologies are stark. When the executive believed that the company culture or the company’s leadership team doesn’t encourage the use of Web 2.0 technologies, the highest levels of dissatisfaction were reported. On the flip side, those respondents who believed that nothing was holding back Web 2.0 initiatives reported the highest satisfaction levels with such technologies. I would expect that the SAP Communities do not have any problems with executive support of Web 2.0.

 

Looking ahead, the survey suggested that organizations satisfied with Web 2.0 initiatives see them as drivers for competitive advantage and innovation. Higher investment levels in such tools are also anticipated. All of these trends portend interesting days ahead for us in the SAP Community ecosystem.

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