IT departments snub blogs, wikis, RSS and fear IM

The business potential of social-networking Web sites and various Web 2.0 technologies remains largely untapped, according to separate reports released by the analyst firms Forrester Research and Gartner.

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The business potential of social-networking Web sites and various Web 2.0 technologies remains largely untapped, according to separate reports released by the analyst firms Forrester Research and Gartner.

IT departments are taking an active role in acquiring and deploying Web 2.0 technologies, Forrester found, but such individual technologies as blogs, wikis and RSS feeds are being adopted in only a minority of businesses.

Organisations in the UK are even missing out on the benefits of instant messaging, according to a new survey.

Forrester surveyed 729 IT decision-makers at US companies with 500 or more employees. It found 64% of IT shops have no plans to invest in wikis in 2008, and another 8% were not familiar with the technology. Sixty-nine percent of IT shops had no plans to invest in blogs this year, and 66% have no plans to invest in RSS.

That's not to say IT shops are ignoring these technologies. When it comes to deploying Web 2.0, "budgetary controls, the need for integration and technical skills, and the growing importance of Web 2.0 tools are all putting IT departments in the driver's seat," according to Forrester analyst Oliver Young.

Most IT decision-makers expect Web 2.0 to have a moderate or substantial impact on their business in the next three years. Funding for Web 2.0 deployments is more likely to come from IT than from any other department, Forrester found. IT budget constraints are thus a roadblock for many Web 2.0 initiatives.

IT departments should get involved in Web 2.0 initiatives, because unmanaged deployments driven by non-IT employees carry the risk of exposing sensitive corporate data. Nearly 80% of the IT decision-makers surveyed by Forrester were concerned about this risk.

Gartner, meanwhile, surveyed more than 4,000 PC and mobile phone users in 18 countries and territories, finding that most users of social-networking Web sites are "motivated by personal needs and a desire for entertainment, rather than business and practical objectives."

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