Web 2.0 Control Moves from Marketing to IT

Deloitte finds that marketing teams have been running corporate social communities for product development. Fortunately, Forrester Research says that is a changing Web 2.0 paradigm, with IT taking the reins in the latter half of 2008.

You would think that blogs, wikis and social networks launched by businesses to engage with customers in product and brand development scenarios would be commanded by IT people.
Not so, according to a "2008 Tribalization of Business Survey," conducted by Deloitte Services and released July 16. The survey, which included 140 various companies, found that 42 percent of the respondents granted the CMO (chief marketing officer) reign over these networks.
Thirty-nine percent of the companies that participated cited idea generation as the purpose of their blogs, wikis and social networks, while 19 percent said they leverage these tools to drive new product development. These are largely overseen by marketing managers.
"You actually have marketing now running value creation for things like product development and customer care," which from an organizational perspective is probably not optimal, Deloitte Services Director of Product Innovation Ed Moran told me.
Probably not optimal? Marketing folks generally do a bang-up job of selling the idea of a product or brand. But do we want marketing folks lording over how software and services get built, or dealing with customers who buy the products?
To wit, Moran said some CMOs at companies are so overwhelmed in the community-building capacity that the company leaders are creating positions such as a "chief community officer" who has the facility for moderating content from many people within an online forum.
Indeed, Moran pointed to SAP's Mark Yolton, senior vice president of the SAP Community Network, who oversees the numerous communities the company uses to interact with its customers. SAP installed Yolton because it realized its customers were best served by dealing with one contact instead of many.
SAP is hardly alone. Forrester Research analyst Jeremiah Owyang has posted a list of community managers from larger companies.
ReadWriteWeb's Marshall Kirkpatrick turned up a ton of startups that have added what he calls "community managers" to their staffs.