For the past two years, innovation has remained the #2 CEO priority (right behind the perennial #1, customer care). And over the past several years, an important new avenue for rapid innovation and value-building has been emerging: community-based collaboration.
A growing number of businesses are enlisting the help, via the Web, of large communities – of customers, prospects, employees and partners – to generate new product and service ideas, solicit feedback on existing offerings, gauge reactions to new marketing messages, etc. On the technology front, an explosion of “Web 2.0″ tools and services are emerging to support this strategic collaboration and communication, including blogs, wikis, really simple syndication (RSS), social networking, social bookmarking, mash-ups, and more.
In a survey earlier this year, we wanted to determine how corporate IT groups are doing in helping business executives take advantage of the Web 2.0 model (sometimes referred to as “Enterprise 2.0″ in a corporate setting). As you can see below, the answer is: not very well.
Of those respondents who had an answer to the question: What percentage of the Web 2.0 tools you use for business are managed by your corporate IT department?, 25% percent answered None (0%). Another 30% indicated that up to 39% were managed by corporate IT. For the entire sample of respondents, the weighted average for the percentage of Web 2.0 tools managed by corporate IT was only 32.8%. In other words, over 68% of the Web 2.0 tools used for business purposes in our sample are NOT being managed corporate IT. This percentage was not much different when we looked only at small or medium or large enterprises. Nor did the responses from business executives differ markedly from the IT executives we surveyed.
Think for a minute about how many important IT tools and services there are in the enterprise for which you could say “two-thirds are NOT managed by IT”. It’s a pretty short list. Given how high a priority CEOs are giving to improving innovation, and the growing importance of Web 2.0 tools and practices in enhancing enterprises’ ability to innovate, this survey finding doesn’t strike me as a very good thing. It suggests that CIOs and their organizations are seen as irrelevant by way too many organizations when it comes to this new ingredient in the innovation formula.