The term “Web 2.0” is associated with web applications which facilitate interactive information sharing, interoperability, user-centered design and collaboration on the World Wide Web through web-based communities, social-networking sites, video-sharing sites, wikis, blogs, forums, mashups and folksonomies etc. A Web 2.0 site allows its users to interact with other users or to change website content, in contrast to non-interactive websites where users are limited to the passive viewing of information that is provided to them.
Web 2.0 websites typically include features like keyword search, links to other related information, authoring, Tags-Categorization, Extensions-Software and Signals- use of syndication technology such as RSS to notify users of content changes.
The most commonly used Web 2.0 tools include Blogger, WordPress, Myspace, Youtube, Metacafe, Del.icio.us, Digg, Furl, Twitter, Flickr, Facebook, Orkut.
How does a business benefit from Web 2.0?
Owing to its multi-faceted features, Web 2.0 technologies offer many benefits to businesses, irrespective of their industry type. Some of these benefits include:
- Greater ability to share ideas
- Improved access to knowledge experts
- Increased speed of access to knowledge
- Reduced costs of communications, travel, training and operations
- Decreased time to market for products
- Improved employee satisfaction
- Ability to gain access to expertise outside company walls more quickly
- Increased customer loyalty, brand recognition and awareness
What are the trends of Web 2.0 adoption in India?
The rapidly growing internet usage across India, and the fact that young Indians are actively blogging and using social media sites, is driving the adoption of the Web 2.0 technologies. Some of the examples of Web 2.0 usage in India include:
- Social networking phenomenon: Indians have taken to social networking in a big way. Orkut, Facebook, etc. are some of the sites which are being used actively by Indians.
- Blogging phenomenon: Although in nascent stage in India, many youngsters, professionals, entrepreneurs and even companies are looking at Blogging as a source of revenue.
- Media-sharing phenomenon: Sharing pictures/videos on blogs and social networks is gaining popularity in India.
- Engaging with customers: Many Indian companies have turned to Web 2.0 to reach their customers, including through engaging their customers in social networking sites, corporate blogs, Twitter profiles, etc.
Which sectors need to urgently adopt Web 2.0? Why?
The advent of Web 2.0 does offer significant opportunities for companies to improve customer loyalty, increase operational efficiencies, increase product success and time-to-market. Some of the industry sectors that need to adopt Web 2.0 include Media, Banking, Retail, Online e-Commerce Portals, Education and Telco.
These are some of the industry verticals whose success to a great extent depends on customer satisfaction and loyalty. Technology is enabling businesses to increase their touch points with customers, and those companies who are ahead in the adoption will increasingly reap the benefits.
Some of the areas companies can effectively leverage Web 2.0 include:
- Sales and Marketing: Web 2.0 provides opportunities for optimizing overall marketing spend and customizing content based on demography and geography of customers, thereby providing new sales and branding avenues for companies
- Product Development: Web 2.0 can be used to shorten the product development time and innovation cycles, leading to increased predictability of product successes and campaigns
- Customer Service: Web 2.0 help companies to build interactivity in their customer service operations, thereby enhancing customer experience and building loyalty.
Few examples where businesses have adopted and benefited from Web 2.0.
Globally, companies are implementing Web 2.0 technologies to enhance their competitive advantage and online presence. Some of the organizations which have effectively leveraged Web 2.0 include:
- A leading watch maker: The watch maker uses Web 2.0 to connect with its customers. Blogs, RSS Feeds, Videos, etc are some of the social media tools which the watch manufacturer is using build awareness on its products and build its brand.
- Politics: In the recent Indian elections, held in April 2009, politicians wooed first-time voters and reached out to the country’s tech-savvy citizens through social media sites.
- Automobile Manufacturer: A leading automobile manufacturer had also launched contests in social networking sites to know the preference of colours for their new car. They are using social media as a survey tool.