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In IT Together blog: Web 3.0 - Hype or reality?
28 Apr 2023
We’re all picking up on the increasing noise surrounding Web 3.0, as the next ‘game-changing’ juggernaut is said to be rumbling towards us from over a not-too-distant hill. A technology which - if you believe the hype - will truly revolutionise the way we do business.
In our latest article, we felt it valuable to gain a firmer grip on the shape this innovation is likely to take, along with its potential impacts; exploring business understanding and the associated preparedness to embrace such technological advance.
Whilst not a definitive tome on the subject of Web 3.0, our blog provides a solid foundation upon which a more in-depth understanding and richer knowledge of the topic area can be layered. It’s an accessible start point, to be mulled over whilst slurping your mid-morning coffee (or tea) - chocolate digestive optional!
Ultimately, this ‘thought piece’ is just that. A tinderbox to spark ideas, further exploration and - ideally - action. Helping you ask the tough question: ‘Am I, my team and my organisation well placed to embrace such innovation and the opportunities proffered?’
Before we fully immerse ourselves in Web 3.0 - or Web3 if you prefer - it’s worth briefly reminding ourselves of the evolution of Tim Berners-Lee’s world wide web since its inception. In summation:
- Web 1.0 (the past) - the internet simply provided access to online data. Static web pages, if you will
- Web 2.0 (the present) - internet users can manipulate and interact with content (social media, etc.)
- Web 3.0 (the future) - whilst the concept is still evolving, the essence of the idea is that the web is decentralised and self-regulating. No one entity will have control over the network, effectively creating a more secure and transparent virtual environment
So, why should businesses care about Web 3.0?
The answer to the challenge ‘Why should I/we care about Web3?’ is self-evident, forewarned is forearmed. Having a solid understanding of the evolving technological landscape, along with the associated organisational opportunities and challenges this creates, can only aid your strategic thinking - providing a tactical, commercial, advantage.
Let’s also remind ourselves that Web3 is not purely conceptual. The building-blocks are already in-place, including technologies for storing and transmitting information without governance by any central authority (blockchains), cryptocurrencies, smart contracts, decentralised applications (DApps), peer-to-peer (P2P) networks, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and decentralised autonomous organisations (DAOs). Each of these already has real-world applications across many industry verticals.
Gaining a snapshot of current business understanding
Additionally, we felt it informative to gain a measure of the understanding of Web 3.0 across the business community - gaining a snapshot of the perceived benefits and anticipated take-up.
To gain this market illumination we conducted an IT decision maker (ITDM) survey - across US and UK businesses - to explore the associated territory. The related insights are shared with you here.
Almost three-fifths (58%) of such IT professionals stated that their knowledge of Web3 was not comprehensive. Unsurprising, at one level, given the future shape and application of such a technology has yet to come fully into view. Of note though is the clear Atlantic divide, with those in the US having a markedly stronger grasp of Web 3.0 (vs. UK based ITDMs).
Whilst in-depth understanding of Web3 is - as yet - far from universal, the potential benefits are more widely acknowledged. Such adoption was felt to have the potential to ensure enhanced data analytics (70%), greater data management (64%), as well as ensure an increased ability to understand customers’ needs (63%).
Given this degree of potential engagement with future applications, it is no surprise that some 78% of IT decision makers felt that the majority of organisations in their sectoral vertical will employ the technology over the next 5 years - a figure substantially greater in the US than UK.
Positioning you, your team & your organisation for the future
So, what’s the best approach to ensuring you’re well positioned to embrace Web 3.0? There are a number of practices which can be put in-place to ensure you are not caught flatfooted, such measures include:
Raising your base knowledge
It’s imperative you raise your knowledge base - being inquisitive, informed and future-facing in terms of ethos. This is no different to when dealing with any such drivers of truly transformational landscape/organisational change.
In more specific terms, you should be asking yourself, your team and your organisation the following questions:
- To what extent do we truly understand the fundamentals underpinning Web3?
- Do we have time, headspace and/or resource dedicated to understanding related movement within our industry vertical? At the very least, is Google Alerts set-up to monitor ‘Web3’/’Web 3.0’ - tracking major sectoral developments
- Has any thought been invested as to how we position our proposition (and brand) within a Web 3.0 landscape?
Keeping a close eye on the pioneers
Within your sector (as well as across adjacent verticals), pay attention to those businesses at the leading-edge of developments, those truly embracing Web3. Learn from both their successes and missteps.
- Which activities/product solutions are they prioritising?
- How are they positioning themselves?
- What problems are they solving?
- How are they adapting their business model(s)?
Focussing upon walking, before running
Start small. You don't have to go ‘all in’ from day one. Simply look to become gradually more familiar with the foundational concepts of Web3, so that you're ready to pivot when the opportunity arises.
A few final thoughts
Whether it’s called Web 3.0, Web3, or something entirely different, the third generation of the internet is heading our way. Such major transformational change may still be five years - or even a decade - off, but irrefutably it’s coming.
Let’s not kid ourselves, Web3 will bring with it the full VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity) suite of impacts and disruption - as is the case with all game-changing innovation. Ultimately though, such seismic transformation can be viewed through the lens of opportunity or challenge.
If recent history is anything to go by, the most agile, innovative, forward-facing businesses will look to embrace the technology and the associated commercial possibilities, to win.
So, in our view, the emergence of Web 3.0 should be closely monitored and considered, but not feared. Whilst the foundational technology continues to evolve and integrate, it’s no bad thing to sporadically ask yourself that same, tough, question: ‘Am I, my team and my organisation well placed to embrace such innovation and the opportunities proffered?’
300 IT decision makers from across the US and UK were interviewed in March 2023. All respondents were from organisations in the private sector, with 1,000 or more employees.
For a conversation about how we can help your organisation activate research in this area or to discuss your insight objectives, get in touch with Scott or Rowan. You can find lots more technology research insights and inspiration on our blog.
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