Despite a long-term future marked by commoditization, enterprise spending on Web 2.0 technologies will surge over the next five years, growing 43 percent each year to reach $4.6 billion globally by 2013, according to a new report by Forrester Research, Inc.. The five-year Forrester forecast includes a breakdown of future business spending on technologies such as social networking, RSS, blogs, wikis, mashups, podcasting, and widgets, as well as an analysis of enterprise Web 2.0 spending across North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific.
Forrester believes that Web 2.0 technologies represent a fundamentally new way to connect with customers and prospects and harness the collaborative power of employees. Large enterprises such as General Motors, McDonald’s, Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance, and Wells Fargo have all made heavy use of these tools, and 56 percent of North American and European enterprises consider Web 2.0 to be a priority in 2008 according to a recent Forrester survey.
The key question for software firms is who pays for Web 2.0 in the enterprise? Three challenges face vendors: IT shops are wary of what they perceive as insecure, consumer-grade technology; ad-supported Web 2.0 tools on the consumer side have set “free” as a starting point; and Web 2.0 technologies enter a crowded space dominated by legacy software investments.
Currently, large businesses are spending more on employee collaboration tools than customer-facing Web 2.0 technologies, but Forrester expects that trend to reverse by next year. By 2013, investment in customer-facing Web 2.0 technology will dwarf spending on internal collaboration software by nearly a billion dollars.
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