Security risks and organizational culture greatest barriers to Web 2.0 workplace adoption, says KPMG

(Tuesday July 31, 2007) – The advent of new Web 2.0 technologies such as social networking sites, blogs, wikis and mashups, have created both new opportunities and challenges as organizations grapple with how to maximize the potential benefits of these new media tools, while mitigating their risks. According to the first of a series of three white papers to be released by KPMG entitled �Enterprise 2.0: Fad or Future?�, organizations are beginning to seriously assess the business applications and impact of these new social media software platforms.

�Akin to the introduction of email which induced an e-revolution in the workplace, Web 2.0 technologies will significantly alter the way in which businesses operate,� said Jonathan Kallner, National Industry Leader for KPMG Canada�s Information, Communications and Entertainment (ICE) Practice. �Given the zealousness with which Gen Y has embraced these new digital social media, it would be short-sighted for companies today to underestimate the business opportunity and impact these new technologies will have on the way we communicate in the future.�

While Enterprise 2.0 technologies clearly have the potential to improve business efficiency, communication, innovation and problem solving, there are concerns over security, confidentiality, and in some countries, cultural and legal issues.

�Although this can be a tremendous business opportunity, clearly companies need to be alert to the risks of information sharing and the fact that free comments made in wikis and blogs may be libelous or infringe on employee rights laws,� said Kallner.

While there are inevitable hurdles to adoption, the whitepaper illustrates how many corporations are beginning to adopt the new social science. Wikis (where users create and edit their own content) have blossomed. Somewhat surprisingly, one such place is an investment bank, which operates one of the largest corporate wikis globally, with more than 50 percent of all employees at Dresdner Kleinwort participating.

Sean Collins, Sean Collins, Chairman, KPMG Global Communications and Media Practice, comments: �For those companies who do plan to utilize Web 2.0 technologies, security is of course a concern, but the culture of an organization can also impact successful adoption. The issue is two-fold. Social networking requires a high volume of active participants and regular postings–many wikis and blogs fail due to lack of interest–so commitment is key for companies taking this route. Equally, institutional cultures or norms that work against sharing information, either because of concerns about confidentiality or because of their hierarchical structures, will also impede progress.�

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