Web 2.0 and its implications for business: with case studies from Germany and New Zealand
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In 2004 the phenomenon Web 2.0 becomes popular – a mindset change takes place in which ‘You’ – the Internet users – are voted person of the year 2006 by TIME magazine ("Collective intelligence - The vision", 2008; Grossman, 2006). It is not so much about the technology as it is about the people who use social networks to their advantage. Web 2.0 is a social Web that embraces technologies like AJAX; applications such as wikis, blogs and podcasts; concepts like the wisdoms of crowds, open source, tagging, Software–as-a-Service, the Long Tail, the Perpetual Beta, syndications and mashups; and furthermore is known for its intentional lack of traditional hierarchies by favouring folksonomies. For the economic world the question arises of how businesses can make use of such development that promises both innovation and collective intelligence. This dissertation presents a connection between Web 2.0 and businesses first by explaining the Web 2.0 phenomenon and second by presenting available Web 2.0 tools and concepts in the business context, known as Enterprise 2.0. Four case studies – two from Germany and two from New Zealand – show current adoptions of Enterprise 2.0, a term that might not last but some of whose issues might be placed under the category of social media or a mixture between artificial and collective intelligence in the future. Assessment of relevant literature and interviews with practitioners reveal that serious efforts of employing Web 2.0 in a business context within the TIME segment – telecommunications, information technology, media and entertainment – are present and that quite a vast potential is yet unexplored. Moreover businesses bear much more responsibility in comparison to consumers in terms of maintaining a competitive status, keeping data safe and dealing with reputation issues of the organisation they work for. The approaches towards Web 2.0 in a business sphere need to be different from those of the social sphere, yet the underlying ideas and visions remain similar. Findings of the conducted research suggest that Enterprise 2.0 progress is seemingly slow in comparison to Web 2.0. In return, Enterprise 2.0 solutions are commonly more mature than the ones known from the social sphere.