Delivering Business Value through User-generated Content

Part 3 in the Enterprise Web 2.0 Fundamentals Series

Since its inception, the Web has seen phenomenal growth. One year ago Google reported processing 1 trillion unique URLs. While most Web 1.0 content came from traditional media and content publishers, the majority of Web 2.0 content is generated by users themselves. In 2008, content creators in the US alone were estimated at 82.5 million. Web-enabled mobile devices allow users to upload and tag photos and videos of events where and while they happen. Social networking sites, like Facebook, enable users to quickly share time-stamped, location-based content with context. User-generated photos and videos make content more visual, more personal, and more real. They can also provide business value since nothing sells a product better than a satisfied customer video testimonial, particularly if that customer is a known and respected expert in the field.

User-generated content is having an impact through other Web 2.0 tools as well. Blogs and discussion forums enable users to comment on anything and everything, including your company. They provide a fantastic opportunity to gather customer feedback, forever changing the way marketing works. Bookmarking and folksonomies can help your organization share information as well as define and tag content in ways that facilitate and accelerate search and retrieval. Like Wikipedia, corporate wikis enable users to share information and develop content repositories. These knowledge bases can increase employee productivity, improve customer support, and elevate customer satisfaction. Customers will often pay a premium for content employees and customers themselves help to create.  

One example of the business value of user-generated content is the wiki-based knowledge repository established in support of Cisco’s Remote Management Services.  The Remote Operations Services (ROS) team within Cisco provides remote management, monitoring and protection of complex networks and advanced technologies, serving 800 customers in 75 countries with over 40,000 devices. The ROS wiki enabled users to contribute content documents describing various aspects of network management. The wiki facilitated continuous improvement of the content, enabling users to refine each document over time, based on peer review. The resulting knowledge base, consisting of hundreds pages of content, saves customers and employees countless hours of network diagnosis and problem-solving. The ROS wiki content has been so well-received that some customers subscribe to Cisco’s services in order to gain access to the knowledge base.

Enterprise Web 2.0 Fundamentals, the book I recently co-authored for Cisco Press, provides more detail on ways user-generated content is delivering business value to Cisco, its customers and partners. Join me here to learn more about the exciting Cisco Web 2.0 story. I'm eager to hear your feedback as we explore the possibility, recognize the opportunity, and realize the potential of Web 2.0 to deliver business value to your enterprise. Safe journey!

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