How has Web 2.0 changed the work environment?

Johannesburg, 06 Aug 2010
Read time 2min 20sec

For most companies in SA, the Internet has become a key source of information, communication and commerce for their business operations...

This is balanced by businesses controlling the use of the Internet within the work environment; restricting the use of Web mail services (like Gmail and Yahoo Mail) and social networking platforms (Facebook and Twitter). Despite these restrictions, the number of Facebook users in South Africa has grown to approximately 2.9 million in 2010, corresponding with global trends where Facebook recently surpassed 500 million users.

This is made possible through people accessing the Internet on their mobile phones and personal Internet connections - perhaps rather than through work desktops and laptops, where some access restrictions might apply.

Like it or not, the convergence of mobile phone technologies and improved Internet capacity in South Africa is increasing the extent to which companies are exposed to new Internet technologies.

In the past, businesses were effectively able to control their Internet presence internally. This has evolved to a position where user-generated content is now easily published and social networks are far more extensive and more frequently updated through various platforms. Word-of-mouth has gathered reach and eminence.

At the same time, the Web 2.0 functionality of facilitating user-generated content has created a number of opportunities for businesses to communicate more effectively with their employees, clients and customers.

Firstly, social media can develop brand eminence by showing the human side of a business, and this can be used to manage reputation or develop loyalty. Internally, social networking can be used to change the efficiency with which people communicate across business units, and the way that people manage their work environment. In addition, crowd sourcing, through Web 2.0 innovation campaigns, provides open environments where people can create, rate and develop new ideas.

As these technologies are adopted or introduced to businesses, this should be balanced with a view on how to mitigate the associated risks, and deliver business results through:

*.The right change management interventions
* Establishing the most appropriate legal policies and procedures
* Ensuring Internet security
* Optimising information management
* The use of data analytics to further understand transactional data generated by operations and customers

Overall, social networking and mobile phone technologies do not replace the way we do business, they simply provide new opportunities and should be used to make the work place more efficient.

If you'd like to find out more about how Deloitte has specific solutions relating to your Web 2.0 strategy and all the issues referred to above, please us.

Editorial contacts
Andrew Farrant +27 83 604 0929
Deloitte Greg Comline +27 (0) 825614063
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