A new Forrester report contends that IT has begun to take a greater interest and leadership role in the enterprise adoption of Web 2.0 technologies such as blogs, wikis and social networks. Until now, those technologies have often been driven by line-of-business users rejecting traditional enterprise software in favor of consumer applications.
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In a survey of 262 enterprise IT professionals, reports the Forrester study, 63 percent expected to see Web 2.0 technologies have a moderate or substantial impact on the business.
Prior to this report, IT was largely viewed as a blocker, not an enabler of Web 2.0 technologies. According to Oliver Young, the Forrester analyst who wrote the report, that’s because Web 2.0 technologies suffered a reputation problem with IT. “They’d look at social networking and think MySpace and Facebook,” he says. “They look at wikis and think Wikipedia. They had the perception that these are for kids and not for business.”
But IT has begun to change its mind because IT pros are becoming users of the technologies themselves. The survey asked respondents if they used certain Web 2.0 technologies or if they were at least familiar with them. The results revealed that, at least in certain categories of staple Web 2.0 technologies, IT professionals are heavy users themselves or knowledgeable of the technology.
About 35 percent use blogs and 59 percent are familiar with them. Other technologies revealed similar trends: social networking at 38 usage and 46 percent familiarity, respectively; wikis 43 and 32 percent; podcasts 34 and 53 percent; RSS 34 and 31 percent.
The first cause for IT involvement is their use of Web 2.0 tools (as evidenced above). In addition, Young says IT wants to have a role in delivering them securely to enterprise users, who have been going around IT and accessing consumer applications on the Web.
In the survey, 79 percent of respondents were somewhat concerned or very concerned about the risks of employees bringing unsanctioned technology into the enterprise.
“It’s a matter of trying to take a leadership position by giving people the right [Web 2.0] tools while not putting the corporation at risk,” Young says.
And IT is putting its money where its mouth is. According to the report, around 80 percent of all Web 2.0 initiatives are led by IT.