August 14, 2007, 12:00 AM

How IT managers view five top Web 2.0 technologies

RSS rated highest with IT managers in a Forrester survey, cited as having substantial business value by 23%. Blogging came in last, cited by 11%.

With IT exercising at least partial control over Web 2.0 deployments at most companies, a multi-industry survey by Forrester Research Inc. on how IT managers rate the business value of Web 2.0 technologies also offers insights for the marketers eager to get those tools in the door. RSS got the highest rating among Web 2.0 technologies from the nearly 300 IT decision-makers queried for the report, “IT will measure Web 2.0 like any other app.”

23% of those surveyed by Forrester reported that RSS (Really Simple Syndication, a means for disseminating information to subscribers) had substantial business value, though only one in three respondents use RSS for external marketing purposes. Podcasting followed, with 21% of managers polled associating podcasting with substantial business value. Wikis-simple ways of collaborating on web content and used within the organization as a collaborative tool-followed at 14%; social networking applications came in next, at 13%; blogging came in last, cited for delivering substantial business value by only 11% of managers.

Nearly 63% of respondents turn to traditional metrics to value Web 2.0 tools, with that number even higher-73%-among respondents from the retail, manufacturing and wholesale industries. 14% of those surveyed by Forrester who were using Web 2.0 tools said they hadn’t even tried to quantify the business value.

The difficulty of capturing the true value of Web 2.0 tools with traditional metrics on one hand and the failure to capture any metrics at all on the other could hinder the adoption or spread of Web 2.0 technology, according to Forrester’s report. “Much of the value of a Web 2.0 deployment is incremental and soft in nature, and, as a result, clear business value measurement remains illusive,” notes the report’s author, Forrester analyst G. Oliver Young.

One solution proposed by Forrester: encourage other methods of measuring value that lend themselves more easily to Web 2.0, such as customer satisfaction surveys.


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