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Businesses urged to harness staff Web 2.0 skills

A Butler Group report claims employees' Web 2.0 know-how can boost workforce productivity and bring positive changes to businesses

Businesses should exploit their employees' knowledge of Web 2.0 in order to fully take advantage of the technology, according to analysts.

With more consumers than ever involved with social networking, user-generated content and cloud-based apps, businesses should be using their employees' Web 2.0 skills to make the workforce more productive, a report from the Butler Group has found.

Richard Edwards, information management practice director at Butler Group, told ZDNet.co.uk sister site silicon.com: "[We] have this other life outside of work in which we're interacting with [other people] and we're sort of bringing those ideas into the workplace."

He added: "[Businesses] need to recognise what's actually happening... and examine the possibility of utilising some of this to bring about positive change within the business."

However, in order to get the best out of Web 2.0-savvy staff, bosses will need to listen to their workers. "No-one can argue that getting employees to contribute more of their wisdom and know-how for the good of the organisation is not a positive thing," he said.

The Butler Group report adds that businesses risk losing out if they fail to formalise the use of Web 2.0 within the organisation.

Edwards said: "The workforce itself is starting to make use of the consumer web — ie, Web 2.0 — to do some of their daily tasks. These are being undertaken without any real form of governance or control from the organisation."

"Unless you understand the big picture, there's no way we can move forwards," he added.

In a recent silicon.com CIO Jury, however, several chief information officers revealed that they have banned the use of social-networking sites in their office.

Mike Roberts, IT director at the London Clinic, said: "The computer is a tool for work. I suggest these sites are blocked. Uploading/downloading can be a security risk. If staff feel that being able to access these sites is important to them, I don't want to employ them."