George F. Colony of Forrester Research points out that CEOs have problems with Web 2.0 (free subscription required). As he said:
Imperious CEOs often have trouble with this one. They still see their company dictating pricing, product configurations, and service levels – a one-way street, with the company lording over subservient customers. The mentality is: “We’ll do what we want to do and the world will love it.” It’s this sort of logic that results in GM focusing on trucks (“Hey, it’s good for our profit!”) in an age of $3 gas, and Airbus building the A380 (“It’s bigger than the 747!”) when the hub-and-spoke airline topologies are crumbling. Customers are changing too fast, they have seemingly unlimited choice, and, to borrow a phrase, they want what they want.
The bigger and more powerful the company, the less likely it is to relate to Web 2.0. As Dawn Bushaus of Light Reading points out Web 2.0 is presenting the telecoms with a real identity crisis.
.. and what exactly is Web 2.0. It’s a phrase that everyone bandies around without really being sure what is implied. It is used by the technologists to define websites that have much greater interactivity. So visitors can interact with websites and vote on items or leave comments. It’s what is called user generated content (UGC). You’ll see it on such popular sites as youTube or Facebook. How could such websites create any problems for powerful companies?
The real answer is that it isn’t really Web 2.0 that is creating the problem. Web 1.0 (whatever that may have been) created the same challenges and Web 3.0 and Web 4.0, if they come along, will perpetuate the problems for powerful companies.
What is creating the difficulties is just the Internet itself. Web 2.0 is only a small fraction of that. The Internet could be called a disruptive technology in that it changes the way societies and economies function. It levels many playing fields. Buyers are much more in control. Individuals can now express opinions and can easily come together in groups to give weight to those opinions. Unless you adopt an Internet mindset, you will be in for many surprises. The old-style power brokers who have not adopted this new mindset will find that their old traditional methods are very much less effective or even counterproductive.
The really successful major corporations are already seeing the writing on the wall. Wal-Mart for example made some mistakes initially but has now clearly adopted an Internet mindset. Unfortunately the telecoms in general still assume the world goes on as before. Just check out the crowdsourcing project run by Roberto Rocha entitled Your Call Is Important To Us for confirmation of what you know so well.
A further graphic example of how the telecoms still feel power works in the old way turned up in a Gazette article last week by the same Roberto Rocha. Telecom complaints body comes under fire. This all relates to the Commission for Complaints for Telecommunications Services.
The ombudsman-like body, whose mission is to resolve conflicts between consumers and telecom companies, surprised interest groups when it materialized without warning last month. The Commission was spawned from the government’s decision to deregulate telephone companies in markets where there are at least three competitors, thus letting market forces set prices and product offerings.
The critics, and there are many, feel that although the office is long overdue, it should not have been created by industry players themselves without prior consultation. The suggested mechanics are of course those the telecoms would prefer. That might have worked in the old days. However without an Internet mindset, they may well produce a final outcome, which is worse than they could have achieved by communication and involvement of the other relevant parties.