Sunday, July 13, 2008

The value of web 2.0 to government

I've been reading about a presentation given by Michael Specht at PubCamp Sydney, an event that brought together old and new media people to look at opportunities and threats facing the industry.

He gave a an impromptu presentation on Enterprise 2.0, which contained a number of insights that apply equally to the public sector.

The full presentation and Michael's slide notes are at Enterprise 2.0, employees and profits.

Below is a summary of some of the key takeaways for me, with quotes from Michael's slide notes.
  • The active engagement of employees in an organisation delivers enormous financial benefits
    A 2007/2008 Watson & Wyatt research report looked at employee engagement on a global basis and showed a strong linkage between engagement and financial performance. In summary organisations in the top 25% of engagement had a 20% total return to shareholders, a 22% market premium and $276K productivity per employee when compared to the bottom 25%.
  • Most Australian workers are not fully engaged - this results in productivity losses
    A Gallup poll in 2005 of 1,500 employees found that 20% are actively disengaged (disruptive, unproductive or disloyal), with another 62% not committed to their role or employer. Gallup estimated this was costing the Australian economy A$30 billion annually. This research is backed up by recent studies in the US that found only 27% of workers were actively engaged.
  • Communication and customer focus are key drivers for staff engagement
    A finding of the 2007/2008 Watson & Wyatt research report mentioned above was that communication and customer focus were two of the four key drivers for engagement. The others were compensation/benefits and strategic leadership.
My conclusion from these is that as social media is a key way to expand communication and customer engagement it's an important influencer of organisational effectiveness.

For government agencies this means that staff have a better understanding of customer needs and views and are able to collaborate effectively either within the agency or across all of government.

The combination of these two outcomes - understanding and collaboration - improves policy development, execution and service delivery.

Reduced costs, improved outcomes - that's the value I see in Web 2.0 for government.

What do you think?

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