Web 2.0 creating Enterprise 2.0

Security and culture are holding enterprise back from fully taking advantage of Web 2.0 technologies, according to a white paper by professional services firm KPMG.

Consumer technologies such as blogs and social networks can be applied to enterprise, but other collaborative tools are being created for the workplace, the paper noted, such as collaborative document production, sharing computer power and "crowdsourcing" - such as finding amateur photos to use as stock images.

The report is the first in a series looking at "Enterprise 2.0", as KPMG has dubbed the corporate side of Web 2.0. Although companies across sectors are using such innovations, there are barriers which firms must overcome.

"While Enterprise 2.0 clearly has the potential to improve business efficiency, communication and encourage innovation and problem solving, there are concerns over security, confidentiality and in some countries cultural and legal issues," Crispin O'Brien, head of Technology at KPMG said in a statement. "Companies need to be alert to the dangers that free comment made in wikis and blogs may be libellous or infringe employee rights laws."

While security is a major concern with any IT project, the report said that a major point of failure for wikis and blogs is not that they reveal too much information, but too little. "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," said O'Brien.

Because such collaborative communications are a different way of working for so many companies, internal culture needs to change, the report said. Tools such as wikis mean credit for work is often unclear, changing the competitive atmosphere of many work environments.

"The Baby Boomers in senior management are wrestling with how to reap the benefits of Generation Y technologies," said O'Brien. "Institutional cultures or norms may work against sharing information and hierarchical structures may also impede progress."