Enterprises embrace Web 2.0

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Senior IT leaders have confirmed that so-called Web 2.0 technologies are making huge strides in the enterprise, delivering some game-changing results.

Speaking at analyst group Forrester Research's annual IT Forum, Peter Hambling, chief information officer (CIO) at Lloyds of London, said the use of enterprise mash-ups is delivering significant benefits to insurance markets.

Hambling said Lloyds had implemented an initiative called “Graphical Excellence” that take numerous data sources to improve risk assessments for some of its insurance projects. Using a combination of Google Maps and data from aerial remote sensing firm Infoterra, Lloyds had been able to model the potential impact of hurricanes hitting the US.

Meanwhile, Barcardi Martini CIO Francois Jolles said his IT department had been able to establish its business credentials by taking a lead on the firm's corporate responsibility strategy. This had been achieved through developing a system of gauging customer perceptions through social networks and blogs.

Jolles said IT initiated a programme for monitoring consumer concerns, particularly in relation to alcohol consumption. This has helped shape the company's customer relationship strategy, he said.

Keith Holder, head of sector transformation programmes at the Department for Children, Schools and Families said that it was looking at Web 2.0 technologies internally as well as a mechanism to engage with the public. "We are looking into how we can fit Web 2.0 technology in the enterprise as well as a means to communicate with our customers."

But some IT leaders are looking to more familiar methods of delivering business value.

British Airways CIO, Paul Coby told delegates that his IT department was increasingly being called upon to open up systems to third parties, as the c ompany looks to expand revenue streams.

BA aims to achieve this through implementing a service-oriented architecture programme, codenamed Project Leapfrog, which will improve its ability to share data with its partners.

“We are taking our services and other people's services and putting them on our own and other people's web sites," said Coby.
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