APAC CIOs wary of social networking

Adoption of collaboration tools will grow, in spite of recent survey that found nine-in-10 Asia-Pacific IT heads had no plans to roll out Web 2.0 tools soon, says analyst.
Written by Vivian Yeo, Contributor

Chief information officers in the Asia-Pacific region are still not keen to bring Web 2.0 tools into their organizations, a new survey has found.

Conducted by Springboard Research earlier this year, the study found that over 90 percent of the CIO-respondents said they had no plans to use blogs, wikis or social networking tools in the next 12 months. Nearly 470 IT decision-makers from Australia, China, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines and Singapore took part in the survey.

CIOs surveyed, according to Springboard's research manager Ravi Shekhar Pandey, were also not keen on unified communications--two-thirds of all respondents indicated no implementation plans for the next six to 12 months.

"Seventy-two percent of respondents are not aware of telepresence as a technology," he added, in an e-mail interview Friday.

But the lack of interest and awareness from CIOs is set to change, as the research analyst has predicted that the collaboration software market will grow at a five-year compound annual growth rate of 17 percent, to reach US$1.24 billion by 2012. Springboard defines the collaboration software market as one that includes e-mail applications, real time collaboration tools such as Web conferencing, application or document sharing capabilities, social networking tools and collaboration platforms.

Enterprise caution on IT spending in the light of the current financial climate is not expected to "derail growth" in the collaboration software market, said Pandey. "In fact, spending in areas like Web conferencing and unified communications will get a boost from the rush by companies for initiatives to cut costs and streamline operations.

"Many big organizations are including collaboration as a key ingredient in their large IT implementations; enterprise productivity and innovation are two other factors driving the movement towards collaboration within Asia-Pacific enterprises," he noted.

Among all the collaboration tools and technologies, Web conferencing and VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) will be the most deployed within enterprises in the Asia-Pacific region in the next six to 12 months, said Springboard. Pandey noted that group chat or instant messaging is currently the most used real-time business collaboration tool in the region.

"The key challenges Asia-Pacific organizations face when promoting collaboration between employees, or with business partners and customers are: old mindsets resistant to change, lack of relevant tools and applications, and rigid organizational hierarchies," the analyst pointed out.

Springboard's research also shows cloud-based collaboration instruments are driving the proliferation of collaboration applications in enterprises, said Pandey. Google Apps, for instance, has gained traction and is emerging as "a key provider of collaboration applications and tools" for businesses in the region.

"Internet or cloud-based on-demand collaboration tools are growing more pervasive as more enterprises adopt them and make them available to a larger base of users across their organization," he noted.

According to Pandey, multinational software vendors such as Microsoft and IBM currently have a leadership position in most collaboration technology segments in the region, but local vendors especially those in Australia and China have an "important role" to play in shaping the market.

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