How businesses use Web 2.0

The "Web 2.0" meme has adapted, understanding is widespread, and adoption continues to grow, all indicators that using Web 2.0 provides businesses with real benefits. Drupal, provides many of these Web 2.0 tools out-of-the-box, and we will discuss how they are being leveraged by some firms. Here are some excerpts from McKinsey and Company's surveys of international executives using Web 2.0 at their firms.

Last year, McKinsey & Company conducted a survey of over 2000 international executives in order to determine how companies were using Web 2.0 strategies and technologies.

Successful investments were identified:

Exhibit 1 from

and the companies' level of satisfaction in the ROI was captured:

Exhibit 2 from

In addition to quantitative, plottable feedback, there were in-depth discussions which elicitied the following feedback regarding the executive's experiences with Web 2.0 collaboration and networking tools:

Discussion participants seem generally optimistic about the benefits of these technologies, particularly as they help companies refine their business direction: “The most valuable aspects today are providing a means for customers to have a dialogue with us. This provides benefits to both parties. If we get something wrong, our customers let us know very quickly and they expect to know when we are going to address it. This rich dialogue also brings us ideas and suggestions on future product developments, which is extremely valuable.”

Some executives say the tools are already having visible effects, such as better communication with customers. “The most valuable aspects today are providing a means for customers to have a dialogue with us.” One panelist cites blogs and RSS as factors that are helping to reduce the customer churn rate. Perhaps even more important, several participants are tapping customers’ opinions and expertise to improve product design. “We now see customers, particularly the professionals and customer experts, as having a much greater role in the development of new products,” says one. Another adds, “Our success is based on allowing [clients] to participate in the process.”

McKinsey has followed up last year's survey with their second annual survey on the business use of Web 2.0 technologies.

Web 2.0 is now familiar, but the mix of tools and technologies companies use is changing [b]logs, RSS,3 wikis, and podcasts are becoming more common ...

The firms using Web 2.0 more extensively also reported higher satisfcation levels:

And the Web 2.0 future, as predicted in the report:

Tougher competition. Almost 60 percent of the respondents satisfied with Web 2.0 initiatives (but only 42 percent of other respondents) see them as a driver of competitive advantage. Expect these companies to become more aggressive in the marketplace against rivals that are slower to get on board.

Higher investment levels. Satisfied or not, all companies plan to spend more on Web 2.0 tools—an opportunity for software developers.

Building Web 2.0 success. There are few differences in size, region, or even tool use between companies that are satisfied with their Web 2.0 experience and those that are not. This suggests that today’s seemingly insurmountable barriers could be overcome through the adoption of managerial methods that satisfied companies use.

Innovation. Successful companies already use Web 2.0 for business applications such as communicating with customers and suppliers; soon they may use it to drive innovation.

As mentioned at the start of this post, Drupal provides many of these Web 2.0 tools out-of-the-box. A brief overview of what is available:

And more statistics, this time on how many sites use Drupal, and how they're using it:

If we conservatively estimate that 20% of the 820,000 downloads in 2008 were used to launch public websites, there could be approximately 164,000 live Drupal implementations in 2008!