What I actually mean is that the tools and capabilities of Web 2.0 are incorporated into all types of businesses. You can see this already happening. Some very large technology companies have already made the jump. IBM, HP, and Microsoft have a significant number of bloggers corresponding with end users over customer service and product development issues. Microsoft touts having a few thousand of their associates blogging and the industry has suggested that this openness was a key factor in how customers now view them in a positive light.
How far can this go? Well let’s look at Cisco. On October 1, 2006, Cisco launched a new web site that is highly leveraging social networking by focusing on developing customer relationships in segmented areas; Service Providers, Enterprises, Small and Medium Businesses and SOHO/Consumers. They have customized content for each segment, as well as, conversations between their technical staff combined with outside experts who talk with customers within the segments.
They also intend that these conversations are not restricted by device capabilities. So, they are going to provide capabilities for customers to use cell phones. How far do they intend to go? One of the most significant issues companies face is protecting their brands and the capital they have invested in them. This is especially true with a logo. Now, notice that Cisco has dramatically simplified their logo to facilitate interaction with cell phones. That’s a serious step.
Here’s another serious step. Advertisers are struggling with how to reach television viewers where a large portion are recording shows and fast forwarding through the commercials. So, last night I’m watching NBC and see an advertisement for their hit show “Heroes“. Then I notice, incorporated in this add, is a reference to Cisco and the “Human Network” and to find out more at http://www.nbc.com/Heroes/cisco/. When you go there, notice the video that comes up and talks about Consumer Generated media and how Cisco is involved with developing the Human Network playing off the concept of a network of individuals with special powers; the premise of the TV show.
So, as businesses begin to see how these forward thinking companies are using the Web 2.0 technologies to further their cause, strengthen their brands and communicate with customers, I believe that more will begin seeing how they can use them in their companies. More importantly, I think this will take off in 2007 within the large and small/medium business segments.