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IT departments become Web 2.0 gatekeepers; 41% of execs stumped about mashups

Corporate technology departments are becoming the primary gatekeepers of Web 2.0 purchases--it used to be the business types--but could use a little education on concepts like mashups.
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Written by Larry Dignan on

Corporate technology departments are becoming the primary gatekeepers of Web 2.0 purchases--it used to be the business types--but could use a little education on concepts like mashups.

According to a report by Forrester Research, IT departments are now in control of enterprise Web 2.0 deployments and the usual cast of mashup, social networking, blogs, wikis, blogging and podcasting tools. The report, penned by Forrester analyst, G. Oliver Young is targeted to enterprise 2.0 vendors, which better start talking to CIOs and technology decision makers instead of marketing types.

There is some interesting data in Young's report--although I was surprised that IT departments didn't have control before. Forrester said its queries about enterprise 2.0 applications are on the rise and IT managers are now believers. Nevertheless, don't expect a groundswell of deployments. Some CIOs need a little Web 2.0 education and there are many paws in implementations of these newfangled technologies. In addition, IT managers are wary of the risks--namely security if these enterprise 2.0 projects run willy nilly.

Forrester surveyed 262 IT decision makers and found:

Web 2.0 understanding is uneven at best. Junior staffers knew the tools, but CIOs and senior managers were skeptical about the enterprise 2.0 thing. Guess who has the money? However, Young did note that CIOs are catching up.

This chart from the report tells the tale--41 percent of IT folks can't tell the difference between mashups and mashed potatoes.

Despite that uneven knowledge base, 40 percent of respondents expect Web 2.0 to have a moderate impact on business with 20 percent predicting a limited impact. Twenty three percent said Web 2.0 will have a substantial impact on business and 14 percent say it's too early to tell. Add it up and you could conclude that IT execs are in wait-and-see mode on Web 2.0 technologies.

IT organizations are also worried about employee-driven Web 2.0 efforts. Thirty one percent of those surveyed said they were "very concerned" about the Web 2.0 risks and 48 percent were somewhat concerned. Twenty one percent said they were unconcerned somewhat or completely.

According to Forrester's survey the IT department is footing the bill for these deployments, but there are a few wild cards about deployments. Here are some of the major concerns about deploying Web 2.0 technologies in the enterprise:

Add it up and enterprise 2.0 is definitely closer to reality than it was a year ago, but there's still a big hill to climb.

Also see: Virtual world tipping point: Is there an enterprise use?

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