Two bits of research have highlighted caution among businesses towards so-called Web 2.0 applications like blogs and wikis, as well as fears that confidential information could be leaked by employees on social media sites.
The first, a YouGov survey commissioned by security firm Clearswift, found that 42% of company employees aged 18 to 29 had talked about work-related issues on social networking sites, and that 59% felt they should be entitled to use them at work.
Over 70% of workers of the same age group also said they accessed Web 2.0 sites at least "a few times a week", while 39% said they accessed them several times a day.
Our message here would be to develop policies that account not just for security concerns and employee's needs and wants, but also the business benefits of blogs and other Web 2.0 apps. Also, not to get paranoid and 'do a Waterstone's'.
Ian Bowles, Clearswift’s COO, said:
"It isn’t difficult to envisage an employee posting unauthorised comments about their organisation’s product or service quality issues on a blog – causing major brand damage – but at the same time, banning all blog access is not the answer as it cuts the organisation off from conversations with partners and customers."
The second piece of research, by Forrester, found that many company CIOs are interested in implementing things like blogs and wikis but want them to come from big vendors like IBM, SAP and Microsoft. This doesn't make any kind of sense. At all.
According to Computer Weekly, 71% of the US-based CIOs surveyed...
“...said they would be more interested in Web 2.0 technology if they could buy it from major vendors such as Microsoft or IBM. And 74% said they would be more interested in Web 2.0 technology if they could acquire it as a software suite.”
The big vendors are starting to come out with Web 2.0 components for their existing platforms – for example, IBM's Lotus Notes and Microsoft’s Sharepoint include Web 2.0 features. But whether they have the right level of functionality for all businesses is another matter.
Some specialist blog platforms are already posing a threat to traditional vendors' content management systems, although this tends to be at the lower end of the scale.
For the bigger company, badges still matter, for whatever reason. Do you need an IBM-powered wiki?