How to make a business case for Web 2.0

How to make a business case for Web 2.0

Social media tools and web based collaborative approaches (web 2.0) are a disruptive technology changing business, social and political models by enabling instant, often unmediated content generation and sharing.

Most business leaders anticipate that marketing and sales are the functions within their organisations to make the most use of web 2.0. But communication with customers may not be the most significant benefit. Corporations have used web 2.0 for different applications, and some of the case studies in the tool examine to what effect these innovative uses have been employed.

Although there is much enthusiasm for web 2.0, and pressure to be an early adopter, there is comparatively little data on organisations’ experiences of web 2.0 implementations. A lack of publicly available information on the costs and benefits makes it difficult to make the business case for web 2.0 projects.

A business case combines investment appraisal, forecast, judgement and a ‘leap of faith’ on behalf of management. It is the Chartered Global Management Accountant who has to find and combine internal and external information of various types into an analysis which minimises that leap. There is nothing inherently special about the investment appraisal process for web 2.0 business cases. It may be hard to measure the results of web 2.0 projects, but it is also hard to measure the results of marketing and advertising projects.

It may be difficult to calculate the costs of web 2.0 projects if they are largely staff costs, but so is it difficult to measure the costs of similarly labour intensive projects such as the implementation of new performance management systems. The difficulty of making the business case is no reason to omit such an essential element of such a decision. This tool provides a proposed approach to constructing a business case, which should prove useful both to CGMA designation holders, their finance staff, and to those supplying the information on which the business case is based.