Google's Southeast Asia head of marketing Derek Callow, said amid 2009's economic climate, the twin benefits of Enterprise 2.0--reduced costs and higher productivity--will drive enterprises toward Web 2.0 technologies.
As operating budgets fall, enterprises will find a higher return on investment with free Web 2.0 tools that stimulate online collaboration and the productive exchange of ideas, Callow told ZDNet Asia in an e-mail.
"Smaller enterprises will especially benefit from the low-risk nature of easy-to-use and free Web 2.0 technologies, that help to optimize spending while allowing for the free implementation of an ICT infrastructure," he said. "Also, larger businesses will appreciate the guaranteed uptime and security offered with numerous Web 2.0 packages."
Callow predicts an uptake of applications that facilitate broad collaboration among colleagues through streamlined messaging tools as well as document, video and photo-sharing tools. These will make teamwork easier and departments more productive, he said.
Smaller enterprises will especially benefit from the low-risk nature of easy-to-use and free Web 2.0 technologies, that help to optimize spending while allowing for the free implementation of an ICT infrastructure.
Derek Callow , Google
Jens Butler, Asia-Pacific principal analyst of IT services and sourcing at Ovum, agreed Enterprise 2.0 technologies are a relatively inexpensive way to encourage proactive collaboration. "Many organizations are experiencing higher productivity using techniques, such as blogs, wikis, RSS feeds and mashups," he said in an e-mail.
According to Jeff Roberto, marketing and PR director at Friendster, enterprises will further adopt social media and Web 2.0 technologies in 2009 because they are also an effective way to distribute information, market products and services, and communicate with customers and employees.
"Used the right way, they’re a very cost-effective way to build buzz and a brand online. For example, businesses can harness the power and viral nature of massive social networks by tapping into pre-established connections to build 'word of mouth' campaigns online," Roberto said in an e-mail.
Key Web 2.0 tools organizations will tap on in 2009 include social networks, blogs, wikis, RSS feeds, and podcasting, he added.
Ovum's Butler noted that Enterprise 2.0 principles and tools that have been well-thought through, can add great value to an organization. From an economic standpoint, it helps bring in new customers while increasing business from existing customers. He said organizations will see growth in customer numbers and value, greater cross-selling and increased customer retention through a business' ability to enhance the service experience.
On the manpower front, social networking sites, forums and blogs that professionals and employees contribute to, such as LinkedIn, are key talent sources for HR professionals and recruiters, said Butler. And, collaboration tools like instant messaging, filesharing and tagging are increasingly vital to manage and facilitate remote workforces.
In the area of product development, Web 2.0 tools shorten research, development and innovation cycles by using customers to test offerings in Enterprise 2.0 communities. Savings of up to 17 percent in development and innovation costs have been achieved by involving customers in the development cycle, said Butler.
Business in the cloud
As the downturn forces companies to look deeper at resource allocation, the adoption of cloud computing and SaaS are expected to accelerate.
In Springboard Research's Asia Pacific IT Market Predictions 2009 report, the analyst noted organizations are unlikely to initiate new, large-scale projects that require significant IT infrastructure investments this year. As such, cloud computing will prove attractive and SaaS will help minimize upfront capital expenditure by letting businesses rely on a subscription-based model.
Google's Callow added that businesses can reduce the amount of labor associated with deploying, maintaining and upgrading technology as software that is on the cloud can be improved without tying up IT departments or inconveniencing users.
"[Cloud computing] ensures that all users are on the cutting edge. With…devices and information in the cloud, employees can access data anywhere and at any time, collaborating across borders online to get things done better and faster, giving businesses on the cloud a competitive edge," said Callow.
Jens Butler, Ovum
Traditionally, the flexibility and cost balancing act has limited uptake in large enterprises, but with improved architectures being offered now, there is a greater potential with less risk and greater return for larger organizational processes to be pushed to the cloud.
Butler noted smaller organizations will drive cloud computing and SaaS, due to their flexibility, agility, innovativeness and lower level of risk averseness. But some larger companies are also working on pilot projects to assess the viability of these options.
"Traditionally, the flexibility and cost balancing act has limited uptake in large enterprises, but with improved architectures being offered now, such as from Salesforce.com and SAP [Business] ByDesign, there is a greater potential with less risk and greater return for larger organizational processes to be pushed to the cloud," he said, adding that system integrators are likely to push these services to their existing large clients. Telcos with their control of the networks that deliver the cloud, may focus on getting service offerings to smaller firms, Butler added.
Chee Heng Loon, SonicWall's vice president for the Asia-Pacific region, said the end-user community is still not fully aware of how viral malware spread through Web 2.0 tools, can be. This is because not enough education is being provided to help users understand they must take precautions when using Web 2.0 tools, he explained in an e-mail.
The situation is expected to get worse as companies tighten spending in the economic downturn, said Chee. "There are still many companies which will sacrifice security--both the implementation of protection tools as well as educating the workforce--when adopting cost-cutting measures."
Andrew Dobbins, regional vice president at Verizon Business Asia-Pacific, pointed out in an e-mail, security has become an afterthought in the rush to provide more features onto Web 2.0 applications. "This pattern reflects what we saw in the early Internet days and the consequences of not incorporating security early on in Web 2.0 may be severe as SaaS and Enterprise 2.0 continue to blur the traditional organization boundary, even further than the extended enterprise," he said.
However, Dobbins noted that businesses will start looking to security specialists in 2009 to provide solutions to manage risks associated with the new technologies.
He said: "We predict that the most effective way to provide these services will be to monitor network activity, or 'in the cloud' monitoring looking for anomalous traffic and behaviors."