Web 2.0: a Weapon of Mass D...

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17 June 2009
Nicolas Michellod

While many people refer to Web 2.0 as a technology, Celent considers it more of an attitude. As already mentioned in one of my previous posts on this blog, Web 2.0 combines the need for more mobility, faster information flows, a higher degree of openness, and a strong reliance on collaboration and community. To do so people need to have easy-to-use tools, and the technologies nurturing this need are usually referred as Web 2.0 technologies.

There is a good example of the transformational power of Web 2.0 currently on the news headlines: the Iran post presidential elections troubles. For the Iranian government in place, Web 2.0 represents certainly a danger since it allows the mass people to be the instant messengers of what’s happening minute by minute in the capital city of Teheran. In this war of information, the Web 2.0 attitude is a strong ally for the protesters and the power in place could consider it as a weapon of mass disturbance. Outside of Iran, many people have understood the importance of the Web 2.0 attitude and the impact it can have in such a chaotic situation. Journalists firstly (just check the CNN website and you’ll understand what I mean) but more importantly politicians. What a surprise when I read that the US Government had contacted yesterday the social networking service Twitter to urge it to delay a planned upgrade that would have cut daytime service to Iranians disputing their election. In other words, these people see the Web 2.0 attitude as a weapon of mass democracy.

I am the author of a report Celent is publishing this week called “Reaping the Benefits of Web 2.0: European Insurers Strategies that Work” and I will present the main findings of my research about this topic in a webinar soon. This report and my webinar try to evaluate how the Web 2.0 attitude is currently perceived and adopted by the insurance industry. The Web 2.0 attitude cannot be neglected by insurance companies, but sometimes it seems difficult for them to determine whether it represents a transformational wave. In addition, it is still difficult for them to evaluate the value of initiatives in this area. The Web 2.0 initiatives launched by European insurers described in this report are very different in terms of the impact they might have and can generate on the organization, the level of risk involved, and their probability of transforming the insurance business. For those of you, who are interested in this topic, I invite you to read my report and/or attend my webinar and then determine whether the Web 2.0 attitude can be a weapon of mass development for insurers in the future!

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