Does Enterprise 2.0 Have Traction?
Enterprise 2.0 is not merely a buzzword, but a codified set of technologies and tools that can form a checklist for companies trying to move forward in their approaches to CRM. AMR Research's new report, "Enterprise 2.0: Emerging Technologies and Models for Customer Management," indicates that 64 percent of the 200 respondents have adopted at least some of the technologies, but lack of understanding of the tools' potential value -- or the appropriate metrics to apply to gauge that value -- are major barriers to full adoption.
"This wasn't originally going to be a customer-facing technology report," says Chris Fletcher, research director and report author. "We discovered that, where customer-facing activities were the business drivers behind Enterprise 2.0 adoption, respondents were getting real value and were very happy."
In AMR's formulation, Enterprise 2.0 comprises the following technologies, among others:
- Web services;
- IM/presence applications;
- Collective intelligence;
- Social networking;
- Rich client technologies;
- Semantic Web technologies;
- Mashups; and
- 3D Web.
The benefits that companies realize are both internal and external. In terms of internal usage, 32 percent of respondents cited better internal collaboration as a result of their current Enterprise 2.0 implementations; but 39 percent of current users identified the following customer-facing issues among their primary benefits:
- improved sales and customer satisfaction;
- a better understanding of customer issues; and
- a reduction of sales and marketing costs.
Fletcher points to one respondent in particular, a retail-product vendor who created a blog and community for customers to discuss products. One topic that attracted a lot of attention was parents who were having trouble getting their children to eat a proper lunch at school. The information shared by community members eventually led the vendor to create a line of prepackaged vegetable snack packs that kids found more attractive than what the parents had been providing.
But not all respondents have equally positive 2.0 experiences to report. The "64 percent adoption" statistic means that 36 percent of AMR's sample -- a full third -- still hasn't started the move to Enterprise 2.0 technologies. "[Forty-one percent] of respondents cited a lack of understanding of Enterprise 2.0 technologies or lack of interest on the part of the organization or end users as one of the major obstacles they had to overcome," the report states, and 20 percent of respondents cited outright roadblocks put in place by legal, finance, or IT departments. Other factors include confusion over the proper metrics to use in evaluating Enterprise 2.0's impact, lack of integration with core functions, and a weak business case for adoption.
"It's primarily an education-and-understanding issue," Fletcher says. "Many of those respondents didn't know what the technology was, or how to use it in the organization to improve results. Some didn't want to touch it if it wasn't involved with CRM, ERP, human capital, or supply chain systems." He advises tighter integration with those core systems, considered along with a solid business case for users focused on the ability to use the organization's wealth of unstructured information.
The spirit of discovery and a willingness to try new approaches should also inform the growth of new technology in CRM. "Enterprise 2.0 is definitely moving forward, despite the caveats," Fletcher says. "Companies should take a close look at what's available, and try some experiments."
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