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With dozens of different definitions flying around and a host of industry experts getting involved in the debate, web2.0 is one of the most heavily discussed technology topics of modern times.
But, however you might want to label it, web2.0 is not something that companies can afford to ignore for much longer - instead it is an essential component of successful web strategy.
No longer satisfied with one-way communication, web users have stopped viewing the internet as just another broadcasting channel. Instead, they want a richer online experience with more dialogue, and to feel empowered by a website.
Companies are rushing to facilitate user-generated content on their websites. By introducing web2.0 applications like blogs, forums, ratings and Flickr they have realised how they can enhance the interactive experience for users, whilst generating revenue and improving their profile at the same time.
Providers of web content management (WCM) have had to move hastily to ensure that their products can offer dynamic web2.0 solutions in line with the massive demands of a rapidly evolving landscape, where seemingly new innovations are pioneered every day.
Until now, organisations have looked to bolt-on periphery third party solutions to provide web2.0 functionality. But with web solution providers integrating web2.0 capabilities into their WCM suites, user-generated information can now be captured and leveraged in the same manner as editorial content, providing web creators and editors with a one-stop shop for all their web projects.
With web2.0 becoming a native feature in WCM, web editors are starting to witness a huge impact on what they can offer. They can now expand their web initiatives to include blogs, forums, wikis, comment fields and ratings as easily as selecting files and images and incorporating these applications into the website.
What's more, staff from both technical and non-technical backgrounds can be invited into the editorial chain, enabling them to supply, manipulate and approve web content with ease.
Editors can easily initiate discussions in an intranet setting, or write an editorial entry, attach documents, and expand it from a forum or blog. Specific user groups can be easily granted ‘read’ and ‘write’ authorisation and, best of all, the components can easily be reused for multiple web projects.
With these added features and modules, consumers undoubtedly benefit from a website with more of a community feel.
Loyalty is gained, advertising becomes more desirable and revenue and sales are boosted. The whole web experience becomes more pleasurable and unique for web users.
For web editors and companies alike, the latest innovations in WCM can bring a company's entire infrastructure, including sales, marketing and HR teams, into the editing process. The company naturally benefits from enhanced internal and external collaboration on content.
With just a third of UK companies implementing web2.0 technologies in their corporate websites, the education process has only just begun.
The potential take up in the next few years should be overwhelming and there is massive scope for WCM systems to facilitate this transformation and bring websites up to speed with the very latest innovations.
Andy Bellinger, UK manager, RedDot