August 30, 2007, 12:00 AM

I.T. rates Web 2.0: RSS and podcasting score high for value

The difficulty in capturing the true value of Web 2.0 tools could hinder the adoption of Web 2.0 technology, Forrester Research says in a new report. Much of the value of Web 2.0 is incremental, and Forrester suggests using alternative measurements like customer satisfaction.

“Like it or not, the vast majority of Web 2.0 deployments involve I.T. and the I.T. prioritization process is systematic and tough,” observes a new Forrester Research report, “I.T. will measure Web 2.0 like any other app.” With I.T. exercising at least partial control over a business’s Web 2.0 deployment, the multi-industry survey of I.T. managers on the perceived business value of Web 2.0 technologies also offers insights for marketers eager to get those tools in the door.

RSS got the highest rating among Web 2.0 technologies from the nearly 300 I.T. decision makers queried, with 23% reporting it had substantial business value, though only one in three respondents used RSS for external marketing purposes. Podcasting followed, with 21% of the managers polled associating podcasting with substantial business value. Blogging came in last, cited for delivering substantial business value by only 11% of the managers.

Capturing true value

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 who were using Web 2.0 tools said they hadn’t even tried to quantify their business value.

Unaddressed, 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 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, for example. Measuring the effects of Web 2.0 tools also requires a longer timeframe for a true read, notes the report, which states, “Most Web 2.0 project leads that Forrester speaks to report real business value materializing six to nine months down the road.”

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