Starbucks’ Use Of Web 2.0 To Further Their Knowledge Management Initiatives

Founded in 1971 in Seattle by three young businessmen, Starbucks has emerged as one of the most popular specialty coffee brands in the world. The Company has its presence in 47 countries around the globe and has more than 15,000 stores both company controlled and licensed in these countries. Starbucks has been one of the most profitable coffee specialty brands in its history and its business is in profit and is expanding continuously throughout its history.

The company is now considered one of the best specialty coffee brands due to its unique style of presenting its products, coffee bars, outlets and stores. This paper will assess the current usage of Web 2.0 applications for KM and will recommend further roadmap to leverage Web 2.0 technologies for KM initiatives.

Because Starbucks controls about 16000 stores worldwide the company relies heavily on information technology and related technologies. Starbucks have been using web, internet and networking technologies to interact with all its outlets, coffee bars and stores world wide in about 43 countries. Moreover the company has already been using Salesforce on demand CRM software, which is also built on Web 2.0 and other latest technologies. The company has been considered one of the most successful organizations, which have not only generated unique knowledge but also, has maintained it and innovate it.

Because innovation and maintaining unique identity gives the company a competitive advantage over its competitors, and furthermore it requires more ideas, which should be according to the customers’ demands, the company took another initiative in the KM field. Unlike most companies, which used KM initiatives and its assistive technologies internally for knowledge, generation purposes Starbucks used the same collaborative tools to get ideas from its customers. The company’s ideas website which is developed in collaboration of Salesforce.com is completely developed on Web 2.0 platform, thus providing all the functionalities, flexibilities and customizations associated with web 2.0 platform.

The company uses this platform to get new ideas about products, stores and coffee bars’ environment, provision of new facilities like Wi-Fi etc. In this way Starbucks generated knowledge and ideas about more innovation in its business and leverage these to enhance and boost its business and revenue generation capacity.

What is Web 2.0?

Web 2.0 is the second generation of web development technologies, which have emphasis on facilitating communication, secure information sharing, interoperability, and collaboration on the world wide web. (. Web 2.0 is not a radical update in the existing web 1.0 technology; instead it is the change of approach of developing and designing websites.

The most popular web 2.0 applications and concepts include web-based communities, as in the above-mentioned Starbucks ideas website, hosted services and applications like social networking sites, video-sharing sites, wikis, blogs and folksonomies. (Web 2.0, 2009) the most powerful and feature of Web 2.0 is its use of web 1.0 interactive technologies to provide “Network as platform” computing.

The websites developed under Web 2.0 specifications are highly customizable and decentralized in control. (Web 2.0, 2009) In web 2.0 the websites are designed in such a way that the users can give their opinion, share what they want, influence other users and personalize contents of the website as he likes (according to the rules and regulations laid out by the administrators).

At Starbucks the latest Information technologies in use of latest on demand CRM software from Salesforce.com, Web 2.0 based website to get ideas from the customers, b2b applications and websites, online store etc. Among these the online store, b2b applications, on demand CRM ideas website and Starbucks V2V all use the latest Web 2.0 technologies. Internally the company also uses a WAN to interact with the near 16000 locations around the globe.

The company also uses Apple’s ITunes store for providing music entertainment to its customers at the coffee bars and recently the company has also started providing free Wi-Fi services to its loyal customers on coffee bars. Moreover the company uses latest information technology for planning, marketing, hiring of new employees and training. The company uses the latest communication technologies like tele-conferencing, videos and other technologies to completely make the new employees adaptable to the new environment.

Moreover the company also collects data and information regarding customers pattern of buying products and in this way they figure out the product in demand. In order to achieve this the company uses the latest technologies developed by Salesforce.com. Starbucks also uses the latest collaboration tools and technology to ease the interaction and communication of users and workers in different geographic locations. The collaboration tools help the workers in different geographical locations to interact and work as a team seamlessly, and without any obstacles.

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