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Innovation

McKinsey research explores ROI from Web 2.0 technology investments

For months, denizens of Web 2.0 have proclaimed its benefits with little more than gut instinct to support their case. Now, some new research from McKinsey quantifies what works.
Written by Heather Clancy, Contributor on

For months, denizens of Web 2.0 have proclaimed its benefits with little more than gut instinct and anecdotal information to support their case. Now, some new research from McKinsey seeks to more specifically quantify what works.

The consulting firm reports that close to 70 percent of companies that have made some sort of Web 2.0 investment (more on that in a moment) have seen some quantifiable business benefits, such as more effective marketing, better collaboration or a lower cost of doing business.

The top 3 benefits of using Web 2.0 technology internally:

  • Increasing speed of access to knowledge (68 percent of respondents with a median improvement of 30 percent)
  • Reducing communication costs (54 percent of respondents with a median improvement of 20 percent)
  • Increasing speed of access to internal experts (43 percent of respondents with a median improvement of 35 percent)

The top 3 benefits of Web 2.0 technology when used for external purposes:

  • Increasing effectiveness of marketing (53 percent; median improvements ranged from 17 percent for conversions up to 25 percent for awareness activities)
  • Increasing customer satisfaction (43 percent with a median improvement of 20 percent)
  • Reducing marketing costs (38 percent with a median improvement of 15 percent)

What are these companies using?

For internal purposes, the five most widely used Web 2.0 tools are Video Sharing, Blogs, RSS, Social Networking, Wikis and Podcasts. (RSS and Social Networking are tied as far as influence.) For customer-related purposes, the five most popular tools with the survey respondents are Blogs, Social Networking, Video Sharing, RSS, Wikis and Podcasts. (Wikis and Podcasts are tied as far as influence).

One finding that I found particularly notable. The percentage of executives reporting at least 1 measurable benefit from Web 2.0 when it came to internal processes were definitely not dabblers: 72 percent of them were using three or more technologies. Another telling statistic: 74 percent of the executives who DID NOT derive a benefit from Web 2.0 also said they have barely integrated the technology into their employees day-to-day work lives.

The findings are explored more thoroughly in the article, "How companies are benefiting from Web 2.0: McKinsey Global Survey Results." The 2009 survey covers the thoughts of approximately 1,700 executives from all over the world.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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