Forrester to business: ignore virtual worlds at your peril

Well known technology and market research company Forrester have released a paper titled ‘Getting Real Work Done In Virtual Worlds’.

If you’ve got a spare $249.00 (US) you can read the full report, but otherwise you’ll have to be happy with the executive summary supplied. Although far from a new claim, the key one in the summary is that “within five years, the 3-D Internet will be as important for work as the Web is today”.

It’s a message most businesses either can’t or won’t digest. A lot of businesses are unable to see beyond immediate return on investment and combine that with the cutting edge nature of virtual worlds and you have the slow adoption occurring now. The corporations who are taking the plunge have rightly realised it’s a research and development exercise. Of course, the true virtual business innovators are the thousands of small businesses running every day in worlds like Second Life. The larger real-world entities could learn quite a bit from the home-based virtual world entrepreneurs.

Comments

  1. It sounds a little bit like that Simpson’s episode where the ‘motivational speaker’ tells everyone in Springfield to act like Bart. Businesses have to have a reason – beyond it being cool and trendy – to be in virtual worlds. And there needs to be a ongoing plan, not just for the short term but for the medium and longer terms. If you’re in virtual worlds for brand promotion how are you going to draw people to your build 6-12 months after it’s opened. Is it important to have a regular stream of traffic day-in day-out? Or will bursts of popularity suffice? Have you budgeted for all that? If you’re doing meetings in world do you really need to spend $50k or can you get away with a smaller or existing feature? Same with training in world. Do you need to drop a few $10ks on a facility you use once per year and is left empty the rest of the time? There are lots of reasons to use virtual worlds in your business. Finding the right reason for you – even if that is not now – is far more important than having the most spectacular virtual head-office.

  2. It sounds a little bit like that Simpson’s episode where the ‘motivational speaker’ tells everyone in Springfield to act like Bart. Businesses have to have a reason – beyond it being cool and trendy – to be in virtual worlds. And there needs to be a ongoing plan, not just for the short term but for the medium and longer terms. If you’re in virtual worlds for brand promotion how are you going to draw people to your build 6-12 months after it’s opened. Is it important to have a regular stream of traffic day-in day-out? Or will bursts of popularity suffice? Have you budgeted for all that? If you’re doing meetings in world do you really need to spend $50k or can you get away with a smaller or existing feature? Same with training in world. Do you need to drop a few $10ks on a facility you use once per year and is left empty the rest of the time? There are lots of reasons to use virtual worlds in your business. Finding the right reason for you – even if that is not now – is far more important than having the most spectacular virtual head-office.

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