You arrive early in the office to prepare for a meeting with your IT team. It has become increasingly clear to you that technology is changing?and fast?and many of the old IT tools your company still uses are becoming obsolete. Add to that your growing sales force of 20-somethings who find these tools unfamiliar and burdensome. They've been begging you to allow them to use the Web 2.0 tools on their smartphones. So you called this meeting to explore the possibilities with your IT team.
Since you just bought your smartphone two weeks ago, you had to learn about the variety of Web 2.0 tools available and brush up on their costs and benefits. Social networking tools allow people to create a customized public (or private) profile and update it instantly. Internet-based applications like word processing, spreadsheets, and calendars take the software off your computer so you can create, manipulate, and use documents anytime, anywhere. And cloud computing enables information of all sorts to be stored not on individual devices that have to be synced or connected to a network, but in a digital "cloud" that can be accessed from your desktop, your laptop, or your smartphone anywhere, anytime. "This has a lot of potential," you think. No more "Oops, I left that at the office" ruining a sales call, since documents can be accessed anywhere. You can keep up with your sales reps wherever they are?and they can keep in touch with you, too. If they have questions in the middle of a sales call, they can get the information they need to clinch the deal on the spot, since information?or the experts who can supply it?are instantly accessible. Anyone in the company can access the most recent performance statistics, find out how many items are left in inventory, or contact a colleague instantly. And Web 2.0 tools even offer new ways to reach out to potential customers. Your tennis partner, whose company has already begun adopting these tools, told you, "We're a lot less mired in technology. Employees say they can spend less time dealing with the IT system and more time actually thinking about their work."
You know that Web 2.0 has its disadvantages, though. It won't be cheap to adopt a cloud-based system, equip employees with the devices they'll need to access it, and train them how to use it. Also, tech companies are only beginning to integrate social networking, Internet-based software, and cloud computing into a single system, so there are still bugs. Maybe it's worth adopting one or two tools and moving toward Web 2.0 gradually. It also means your IT team will have less control over the flow of information, and you're definitely concerned about security. Still, the advantages are significant, and adopting a system like this could transform your business.
1. What decision criteria should you consider as you decide how to transition to Web 2.0? How would you weight those criteria? Which would be most important to you?
Some of the important decision criteria would be cost of the technology implementation including cost incurred on hardware, software, training of employees and associated benefits, readiness of the employees to embrace the change, fit of the new technology with the ...