Consumer Technology Poll: CIOs Still Fear Web 2.0 for the Enterprise

From blogs to wikis to hosted e-mail from Google, CIOs, on the whole, value command and control over user empowerment.

By C.G. Lynch
Fri, March 14, 2008

CIO — The results from this year's CIO Consumer Technology survey found that IT decision makers view consumer or Web-based technologies with mixed feelings. While some have embraced such applications to enable collaboration and cut costs, others have shunned them as lacking security and reliability.

The pool of 311 IT decision makers who responded to the survey on CIO.com for a week in January came from a variety of industries (including finance, accounting, health care, medical and manufacturing) and represented organizations of all shapes and sizes. The majority (43 percent) were from companies with 5,000 or more employees. The rest broke down as follows: 18 percent had 1,000-4,999 employees; 23 percent had 100-999; and 13 percent came from companies with fewer than 100 people.

In general, the numbers suggested that users have continued to bring consumer technologies into the workplace at a rapid pace, and that CIOs have had varying responses to their entrance into the enterprise.

"CIOs are really going to be challenged with Web 2.0 [technologies] because they're not necessarily the de facto gatekeeper anymore," says Rebecca Wettemann, an analyst with Nucleus Research. "They need to figure out where it makes sense to do this in the business when it could be an opportunity to improve employee productivity."

Still No Love for Hosted Productivity Apps, E-Mail

A particular point of contention for CIOs centered around the use and adoption of Web-based productivity applications such as Zoho and Google Apps. Of the IT decision makers surveyed, 46 percent said they'd use the tools if they are "free or low cost" or make employees more productive. In contrast, 54 percent answered "no," deeming them as consumer-grade applications not appropriate for corporate use.

The respondents also seemed reluctant to wean themselves off on-premise e-mail. When asked if they'd consider using a hosted e-mail service such as Gmail for their organizations, 18 percent said they would consider it, 50 percent said they would not at all and 33 percent said they were unsure. Of this last group, 9 percent said they'd consider it for archive and search capabilities, while nearly 33 percent cited cheaper cost as a driving factor.

For those who would not consider a hosted e-mail application like Gmail, a staggering 58 percent cited security as the primary reason. In fact, 18 percent said e-mail services such as Gmail and Yahoo posed the greatest consumer technology threat to their organizations.

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