Web 2.0 / Enterprise 2.0 in the Capital Markets Industry

I have attached below some notes from last Monday’s Financial Markets World conference on Web 2.0 / Enterprise 2.0 in the Capital Markets Industry , at Bayard’s, New York.

My own talk was on “How to Source Deals with Web 2.0 Technologies”. It was focused on how private equity funds, venture capital funds, and hedge funds can more efficiently find companies in which they can invest. Slides are here.

Lauren Buckalew from our Shanghai office took notes, below:


A pilot study on awareness and use of Web 2.0 by Canright Communications and Evalueserve found that of the executives surveyed, 44% were “extremely” interested in Web 2.0 for business, but only 17% felt “extremely” or “very” knowledgeable about the technology.

The survey results-which were distributed at the Financial Markets World Web 2.0 / Enterprise 2.0 in the Capital Markets Industry event today-mirrored the speakers’ sentiments: the business community in general imagines grand possibilities for Web 2.0 technologies in the workplace, but the barriers to adoption, such as lack of understanding at the executive level or compliance issues, are still great.

I came to the event excited to be educated. I knew a little about Web 2.0, but I was overwhelmed by the possibilities I saw in the news and just wanted authoritative instruction on how to filter through all of the noise.

The most informative sessions to get the overview were Matt Nelson of TowerGroup‘s opening remarks, and the last talk I attended, Dion Hinchcliffe’s Applying Enterprise 2.0 and Web 2.0 in Financial Services: Early Notes from the Field’. In fact, Dion’s absorbing speech would have been better placed early in the day, as it provided a good background, real-life examples of Enterprise 2.0 successes, and a straightforward summary of its shortcomings.

Get invites to exclusive events, jobs, and research.

Other speeches and roundtables drilled down on specific topics, like Instant Messaging, Collaboration, Web 3.0, and David Teten’s talk on using Web 2.0 to source deals (I did not hear the last talk by Tom Steinthal of BSG Alliance). Since I was learning about these areas for the first time I was only able to understand on a superficial level, but was most impressed by Penny Herscher of FirstRain and her simple yet sharp insights.

Stephen Leung, a Senior Manager at BEA Systems, who was a panelist on both the Web 2.0/Enterprise 2.0 in the Financial Services Industry’ and Rich Internet Applications and the Client Portal: Using Web 2.0 to Improve the Client Experience’ panels, spoke on the infrastructure and applications side of Web 2.0, and probably received the most questions from the audience.

Although the roundtable topics had various titles, and nearly all of the discussions went overtime out of lively discussion, I didn’t come out of the event in control of Web 2.0 like I thought I would; I just learned how much more there was to it, especially more creative uses of Web 2.0 apps for businesses than I could have imagined.

In following the “Top 10” theme used by Xignite Chariman/CEO/Founder Stephane Dubois to kick-off the first roundtable, here’s my Top 10 Learnings from the event:

10) Web 2.0 technologies should fit into existing workflow and should be invisible to users.

9) The finance world’s secrecy and competitiveness inherently conflicts with Web 2.0’s nature of viral, self-correcting information sharing.

8) Longtail, mashups, fine-grained entitlement, folksonomies, meta data, geo-tagging and MetaWiki are good things… once you understand them.

7) Individuals can use Web 2.0 tools to leverage existing social networks to generate sales or make deals. One can do this outside of any business structures, based on one’s own diversity of contacts, character, competence, the relevance and strength of one’s contacts, and access to information.

6) Executive decision makers’ lack of information on and understanding of Web 2.0-“What’s the ROI?/I don’t have time for this!/Kids these days and their crazy technology…”-prevent companies from realizing adoption. Any new technology would face similar barriers.

5) Web 2.0 is not a technology or a step in development, but a social concept.

4) Legal/compliance teams haven’t yet figured out how to effectively regulate Web 2.0 tools without reducing them to meaninglessness. But giving employees unbridled Web 2.0 tools is also not recommended.

3) Internal company wikis-which act as a unified log for all project developments and conversations-are a successful example of Enterprise 2.0 in the real world. Key to success is to motivate employees to use it and control the structure themselves.

2) Each element of SLATES (Search, Links, Authoring, Tagging, Extension, and Signals) is required for a Web 2.0 tool to be effective.

1) There is no clear solution for how the capital markets industry should integrate Web 2.0 into business. The interest is there, but Web 2.0 is still effectively consumer-driven, not enterprise driven.

More discussion on Enterprise 2.0 is in order, but before then, more actual application of Enterprise 2.0 in the workplace would be more informative.

Get invites to exclusive events and research.