Companies that fail to adapt to using Web 2.0 tools and practices are likely to find it difficult to move forward. Company managers are well aware of this.

Are companies which do not innovate doomed to disappear by 2020? Yes, warns the main conclusion of a survey carried out by the Economist Intelligence Unit and sponsored by Ricoh, which is due to be published in March 2012. According to a poll undertaken between September and October 2011, 60% of the 567 senior business leaders from various sectors surveyed are sure that their businesses will undergo profound changes in the next ten years, due mainly to the development of new technologies. Moreover, 37% of the business leaders surveyed believe their organisation will be unable to keep up with the technology and they will lose significant market share to the competition. In some industries pessimism is widespread: 30% of those surveyed from the IT sector don’t think their company will still be around in 2020.

Innovation coming from employees and customers  

The new technologies are likely to change the very way companies work. Some 63% of bosses predict a shift to decentralised structures with a far-reaching devolution of business decision-making authority towards the periphery of their organisations.  Business process innovation will be central to a company’s potential success, with ideas and suggestions no longer just coming from the top of the structure, but equally from employees and customers. According to David Mills, Executive Vice President at Ricoh, employees and customers “will play a key role in driving the changes by the way they are using” the technology. So business leaders will have to learn to listen to these new purveyors of ideas.

Access to information across all levels of the company

What really needs to change rapidly is the way information and knowledge are transmitted inside the organisation, in order to adapt both to the new demands of the digital age and also to the working practices of employees. Critical business information must be “easily accessed by employees across the organisation,” stresses David Mills, pointing to the “steady increase of mobile working,” and the consequent need to “access information across multiple locations."  These are issues that business leaders are well aware of: 70% of those polled saw significant opportunities for technology to improve the way they conduct business and agreed that there are plenty of gains to be made in improving operating efficiency.