The business use of Web 2.0 represents a new trend called “Business 2.0.” Aside from being the name of a defunct magazine, Business 2.0 is about using the new web-based social networking applications (many of which were originally created for personal use) in a way that fosters teamwork, customer touches, and internal and external collaboration in a low-cost seamless way.
Last month I shared a few personal Business 2.0 tools with business applicability. This month I will share two more personal tools along with some purely Business 2.0 tools that will help create collaboration in a low-cost seamless way.
Twitter is a micro-blogging service that allows friends, family and co-workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of short, quick answers using no more that 140 characters per message. Senders can restrict delivery to those in their circle of friends or co-workers. Users can receive updates via the Twitter website or other social networking sites such as Facebook. Young people use Twitter for answering the question: What are you doing? Business 2.0 use: Business users could change that question to: What problem are you trying to solve? Several companies have used this as a fast way to solve problems. Hotels, airlines, and airports are using Twitter to pitch services, travel updates, and respond to travelers needs.
Ask yourself: Could we use Twitter to solve problems faster with our organization or our customers?
Delicious is a social bookmarking web service for storing, sharing and discovering web bookmarks. It uses a non-hierarchical classification system in which users can tag each of their bookmarks with freely chosen index terms. Business 2.0 use: Business users can share their most useful websites with co-workers or business partners. If a customer purchases a product, sellers could share relevant bookmarks that keep the customer coming back for more information and hopefully more products.
Ask yourself: Could we use Delicious to share important new websites faster within our organization or with our customers?
PURELY BUSINESS 2.0 TOOLS
A Wiki is a collaborative web page or collection of web pages designed to enable anyone to create a quick web page that allows visitors to search the Wiki’s content and edit the content in real time, as well as view updates since their last visit. Wikis are often used to create collaborative websites and to power community websites. On a moderated Wiki, Wiki owners can review comments before additions to the main body of the topic. Additional features include calendar sharing, live AV conferencing, RSS feeds, and more.
Ask yourself: Could we use Wikis to enhance internal and external collaboration?
LinkedIn is a business-oriented professional networking website for exchanging information, ideas, and opportunities. There are over 35 million registered users spanning 170 industries actively networking with each other. For example, large insurance companies use LinkedIn to foster networking with their independent sales representatives. HR professionals from all over the world could use LinkedIn to share best practices.
Ask yourself: Could we use LinkedIn to expand our organizational network for enhanced knowledge sharing?
CLOUD COMPUTING & SOFTWARE AS A SERVICE
In Cloud Computing, some or all of the storage, software, IT Processes, and data center facilities you use can exist on your provider’s server, which is maintained and cared for by your provider, giving you 24/7 access from any device anywhere. The cost of upgrading hardware and software, maintenance, and associated IT labor costs can be dramatically reduced or eliminated. Currently, the ideal organization would be any size company that’s facing big investments in computing and communications infrastructure. For example, Amazon.com can give you an entire e-commerce back end. Software as a Service (SaaS) such as SalesForce.com has a CRM package, SciQuest has a spend management package, and Google, Microsoft and others have a suite of offerings.
Ask yourself: Could we use Cloud Computing & Software as a Service to streamline our IT needs?
GAIN A NEW COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE
By reframing the use of social networking technology, companies can increase communication, collaboration, problem solving, and competitive advantage with little cost. Remember, many of these tools are free or nearly free, making them accessible to even the smallest of business. Therefore, the sooner you embrace Business 2.0 and put it to work for you, the faster you can penetrate new markets and win the lion’s share of business.