The future of Internationalization is here

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  • March 23, 2015
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The future of Internationalization is here

The term “Web 2.0” was coined in 1999 by DiNucci (1999), but became popular in 2004, when O’Reilly and MediaLive launched the first Web 2.0 conference (O’Reilly, 2004).

According to Robb, “Web 2.0 it is a system that breaks with the old model of centralized Web sites and moves the power of the Web/Internet to the desktop” (Robb, 2002, article on en.wikipedia.org, accessed on June 7, 2013).

Lindmark (2009) defines “Web 2.0” as a set of applications, technologies and user roles. According to Musser and O’Reilly (2006, p. 4), “Web 2.0 is a set of economic, social, and technology trends that collectively form the basis for the next generation of the Internet – a more mature, distinctive medium characterized by user participation, openness, and network effects”.

O’Reilly is using a single marketing term, “Web 2”, to describe the result of the change in the services available on the Web (O’Reilly, 2004). According to O’Reilly, the web is more important than ever, with exciting new applications and innovative websites popping up with surprising regularity (O’Reilly, 2007). In 2005 the term “Web 2.0” was cited in more than 9.5 million in Google (O’Reilly, 2007).

In 2013 “Web 2.0” was cited in Google for 1.390 billion times. Despite that, there is still disagreement regarding what Web 2.0 means.

For some people Web 2.0 is as a meaningless marketing buzzword and for others, it is as the new conventional wisdom (O’Reilly, 2007; Lindmark, 2009; Gartner, 2005).

According to Hamil et al. (2010) a new revolutionary phase takes place in online space characterized by information “pull” rather than “push”, user-generated content, openness, sharing, collaboration, interaction, communities and social networking. New generation of technologies and Web-based applications, such as social-networking and social-content websites, blogs, wikis, podcasts and vodcasts, virtual realities, mash ups, RSS feeds and mobile applications are starting to have a major impact on customer behavior across a diverse range of industries and countries, both B2C and B2B (Hamil et al., 2010).

Web 2.0 is considered to be a bundle of technology, economic and social trends that together make up the basic structure of the new Internet generation – “a more mature, distinctive medium characterized by user participation, openness and network effects”, (Bell and Loane, 2010, p. 216). Web 2.0 applications enhance SMEs to become more flexible, adaptable, interwoven and specialized.

Several authors (including Brabham, 2008, and Kleemann, Voß and Rieder, 2008) identify the rising of Web 2.0 in connection with the development of crowdsourcing. They argue that Web 2.0 structure was required for companies to be able to reach communities of consumers more easily. Lee, DeWester and Park (2008) described Web 2.0, technologically, based on computers being able to automatically manage information, so that it can be spread more easily; sociologically, Web 2.0 is the foundation in creation of networks of people who share common interest; economically, Web 2.0 is distinguished by the ability for anyone to create content and upload it online for future rewards, from recognition to tangible products (Schwienbacher and Larralde, 2010).

Lee et al. (2008) define three main characteristics for the Web 2.0: user knowledge collaboration of the resources; the possibility to contribute freely to different projects; the number of users is rising thanks to the easy way of access and use of computers and Internet.

Subjects like the barriers to internationalization faced by SMEs, incremental, evolutionary internationalization; country screening; market concentration versus market spreading, etc. (Hamill and Gregory, 1997) take a different form if they are linked with Web 2.0.

It is accepted by the experts that Web 2.0 has all the characteristics to boost innovation essentially. Web 2.0 is the key for firms to follow the opportunities and to harness and integrate services or ideas provided by others, outside the companies’ environment (Schwienbacher and Larralde, 2010; Bell and Loane, 2010). Activities such as working with lead users, mass collaboration with customers or engaging in peer-to-peer design, change the rules of value creation, transform companies from outside to inside and they become instantly international (Bell and Loane, 2010; Lee et al., 2008).

According to Bell and Loane (2010), in the first place, the new innovative business models, facilitated by Web 2.0 principles, allow firms to overcome resource and knowledge deficits by leveraging external resources.

O’Reilly (2007) said, at the first conference about Web 2.0, in October 2004, that, like other important concepts, Web 2.0 does not have strong edge, but more, a gravitational core defined by a set of principles and practices that form together a virtual solar system of sites.

Web 2.0 applications can be used both to ameliorate internal processes and to communicating with suppliers, partners and customers. According to McKinsey (2007, 2008), Web 2.0 percentage usage was about 25-35 % depending on application in 2008. It also showed that about 94 % of organizations which use Web 2.0 tools use them for managing internal collaboration, while 87% use them for interfacing with customers and 75% to interface with suppliers and partners (Lindmark, 2009).

According to McKinsey Global Survey (2007): How business are using Web 2.0, it is also important that managers of SMEs understand that Web 2.0 disruptive technologies may present significant opportunities to gain competitive advantage, at least in the short-term, given the rapid change of trends.

As geographic and firm boundaries become increasingly blurred, Web 2.0-enabled firms are increasingly likely to collaborate even more extensively with international partners in co-creation and opportunity exploitation. The number of firms and their potential economic contributions are also likely to increase dramatically in the next decade (Bell and Loane, 2010).


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