IT Managers Question ROI of Web 2.0

In this Brass Media blog post there is a reference to an IT World Canada article regarding IT managers assessment of Web 2.0 and issues in measuring ROI. Of course there are. With all due respect, IT managers are in most part very familiar with assessing technology from the ROI perspective. Sometimes what they miss out on is how the rest of the organization measures value. The good news is that the IT managers polled see some value in some of the Web 2.0 tools – particularly RSS. What they see as the least valuable tool are blogs.

Maybe some of these IT managers should start blogging. One of the common complaints against an IT department is their lack of communication with their clients. A blog is a great way to communicate your vision and direction you have for IT in your enterprise. Sorry guys but it looks like you’re thinking tactical again – not strategic. Is this the same mindset that thirty years ago said ‘personal computers are nice toys, but for real computing you need a mainframe’? My opinion on this report is that it is exactly what I’d expect IT managers to say about Web 2.0 ROI – it would aid them in dealing with staff shortages, a very tactical use, but they miss the strategic value on the rest of it.

It also supports my point about how Web 2.0 should be a global, enterprise wide initiative. Not driven by just IT, marketing, PR or HR departments. The value from Web 2.0 comes from helping humans work and collaborate and communicate – not just in up’ing the number of ‘widgets’ produced in an hour. From this improved collaboration comes innovation, empowerment, contribution, increased awareness of the enterprise and it’s people, and the list goes on. Definitely ‘soft’ returns, but extremely valuable to the enterprise none the less. This is just from the internal facing point of view and dosen’t take in the value to customer service.

Come on guys…think strategic not just tactical.

Dean Owen

iPOD Tax in your future?

This dosen’t have a lot to do with IT mainstream but it’s something that dosen’t sit well with me. While listening to BNN – the Business News Network today, I happened to over hear a conversation concerning a levy applied to ipods and other mp3 and media players as promoted by a few parties in the music business. They were represented by David Basskin, board of directors, Canadian Private Copying Collective. You can read more about the recommendation here: at the Arts Technica site. Are you aware that you pay a levy on recordable media – tape and cds and dvds – on the chance that you might use it to make copies of copyrighted materials? The same thinking goes into this so-called iPod tax. Since some people use it to break the law, we all have to pay!

What’s next…an accidental listening tax…er, I mean levy? If a car drives by with the windows open and the music blaring, and I accidently hear it, I’ll need to pay for it?

Dean Owen

Net Impact 2006 Survey

While reading the SOHO magazine I picked up at Staples this morning, I was excited to see an article by Doug Cooper  from Intel, listing top technology trends. What excited me was that this was from a business perspective and not just another new technology talkup (iPhone anyone?).

One of the trends was for Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to turn to outsourced technology and service providers in an attempt to deal with the lack of available IT staff. Mr. Cooper made reference to the Net Impact Survey for 2006, as published by Cisco, which addresses  Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in the world of SMEs.

My take on this survey is that the majority of SMEs are taking ICT seriously and are eager to leverage the power and productivity of technology just as the larger national and multi-national enterprises do. And why not? Technology can aid a SME in gaining a competitive advantage, increase revenues and reduce costs. There was a mention from a third of the SMEs that meeting the demands of the customer was the primary driver of investment in ICT. Imagine that!

The good news for SMEs? The technology, services, expertise and knowledge are out there and are available to you, so as this sector grows, so do the competetive advantages from ICT.

 Dean Owen

Marketing Departments and Web Services

Many web services departments report to marketing. This was a natural step in the evolution of web services within a company. Marketing the enterprise via the web is a very key strategy. But has the time come to move to the next point in the evolution?

Here I go putting my foot in my mouth – maybe even both feet! This thought came to me the other day…web services as it’s own department or even division reporting to the executive via a COW or Chief Officer of the Web! Maybe CWO, Chief Web Officer would be easier to handle!

Web services has many great offerings to the enterprise as a whole. Limiting them to Marketing prevents them from contributing to the strategic needs of all departments and business units.

The only way an enterprise can leverage the ultimate potential of the web, web 1.0 or web 2.0, is to have web services step out of Marketing and into the mainstream. By the way – not to IT Services, but on their own. IT Services would become another client of web services such as marketing, sales, production, finance, HR etc will be their clients and recipients of the benefits of web technology and strategies.

Hmmm….

Dean

Application Software via the Web

Since BrassMedia – bringing web 2.0 to the enterprise, has consumed lots of my time recently, I haven’t been able to get to this blog and post. Then it occured to me that I wasn’t taking my own advice that I give to others. Many of my blog posts have been heavily researched and painstakingly crafted. It’s a great publishing tool, but I was missing the opportunity to be spontaneous and leverage the immediacy and dynamic nature of a blog. Today’s post is quick and dirty.

Software as a service…This is the current version of a vision and even dream of mine, that I’ve had for many years. As a manager, desktop services were within my realm of responsiblity. I was constantly faced with the support issues associated with thick (or fat) PCs. The total cost of ownership (TCO) of a desktop PC, particularly if you categorize it as a utility or commodity can be overbalanced. My belief has been that publishing application front ends via the local network, and lately via the web was the way to go. It would drive down desktop costs, improve reliablity, enhance security at the desktop, provide simpler user interfaces and be cross platform – Windows, MACs, Linux.

The mainframe/hosted model has many benefits:

  • low cost per unit at the desktop,
  • short replacement times in event of failure of a terminal,
  • low costs for spare units as backup,
  • data resides on the host where it is protected and backed-up,
  • update the host software once and it is done vs. trying to touch hundreds or thousands of PCs
  • reduced user intervention with downloaded software.

Just to name a few positives about the good ol’ days.

One size does not fit all and there are a number of locations were a thick PC should be used: engineers with resource intensive apps, folks using stats programs, finance crunching numbers and marketing with publishing and graphics programs . Why not a blended model? It just doesn’t make sense to spend thousands of dollars to support a $500 PC. With web published applications the desktop PC becomes a true utility and commodity. This would then allow an IT department to reduce their time, effort and staffing resources in this area and reassign them to other client areas in need of attention.

It’s all about balance.

Dean