SmoothSpan Blog

For Executives, Entrepreneurs, and other Digerati who need to know about SaaS and Web 2.0.

Morgan Stanley has 70 to 80 Web 2.0 Projects Underway. How About You?

Posted by Bob Warfield on September 11, 2007

Don Farber recently had a great post talking about the 70 to 80 Web 2.0 projects Morgan Stanley has underway.  Accoriding to ComputerWorld, Pfizer is also in the Web 2.0 hunt.  Lots of interesting tidbits to be gained from these two articles:

–  50% of Morgan’s 55,000 employees are under 35, so the vast majority will have grown up online with social networking.  No doubt customers will follow the same pattern.

–  Web 2.0 fluency will start to affect their recruiting patterns.  See my post on this for a related take.  Just as employers will expect fluency, so too will new customers expect the companies they do business with to support their Web 2.0 lifestyles.

–  The Morgan External Web 2.0 is creating online communities and Wikis for its customers.  The External Web will be linked with Enterprise-wide CRM to facilitate a 360 degree view and ensure clients can provide feedback.  The Internal Web 2.0 includes social networking, online communication, expertise location, participatory culture, Q&A services, personalized learning, recruiting and alumni relations.

–  There are some interesting Business Trust Fabric issues at Morgan:  everything must be archived.

–  Culturally, it sounds like it has been very hard to overcome to inertia of the Old Ways, as well as to show ROI against the substantial costs of a big new initiative like this.  Web 2.0 benefits are likely to be soft benefits for a long time.

If I were sitting in a big organization like Morgan, I could definitely see the benefits to customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction, and generally improving my overall business by improving collaboration with Web 2.0.  At the same time, it would be daunting to consider just how many bases have to be touched in a large organization like this to see all the benefits.  There are internal versus external projects to tackle for a number of constituencies.  There would be a desire to create a diversity of offerings that cover the range of Web 2.0 Personality styles.  Just rolling out a blog or some such is not enough.  There would be a desire to try a lot of small experiments to address the “Tragic Knowability” problem before investing too much in a centralized solution.  70 or 80 projects might start to sound like not nearly enough.

Meanwhile, the tools available don’t make it any easier.  The ability to control the Trust Fabric around business lines (for example, to handle the archiving requirement) is embryonic at best for Web 2.0 tools.  Most of these were built for the Social Web.  Across 70 or 80 projects, there has to be a lot of reinventing the wheel as well.

It will be interesting to watch the Business Web 2.0 unfold.  Right now it’s caught between the Old School Enterprise Technologies such as Content Management and Portals and the Social Web 2.0.  Eventually, a happy middle ground will emerge.  This is a Blue Ocean opportunity for some group of companies to pursue.  It’s also an opportunity for Asymmetric Marketing in the sense that the Business Web 2.0 companies can draft behind the market momentum created in the Social Web.

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