UK business missing out on web 2.0 benefits

New research has found almost half (47.1 per cent) of UK senior managers do not understand the business benefits associated with embracing web 2.0 technologies, while almost a third (32.4 per cent) of IT managers lack an understanding of the capabilities of web 2.0.

Released today, Web 2.0 - More than Social Networking, is a research study conducted by Bournemouth University that looks at current levels of web 2.0 adoption and understanding among UK businesses.

It found that even among those organisations that are currently using web 2.0-based tools, only 11 per cent actually purchased the technology to achieve increased collaboration, process change and more streamlined systems. The rest relied on the advanced web capabilities of such technology to improve content management and search facilities.

Rob Banathy, client relationship manager of IT services organisation and research sponsor, Parity Group told IT PRO that common web 2.0 misconceptions around areas like security and bandwidth resource were holding businesses back.

"It's common to see our clients coming across web 2.0 technologies from the social networking arena," he said. "They are less sure of their applications in the enterprise, where concerns are just a smokescreen - web 2.0 applications can be written just as securely as other enterprise applications, while wikis and blogs, for example, are not at all bandwidth intensive."

He said the research suggested the majority of organisations are simply buying what they perceive to be the latest document management and search technologies, rather than adopting web 2.0 to achieve a new way of working.

The research found improved content and document management were cited as benefits by less than one fifth (16.7 per cent) and only 11.1 per cent cited search. Instead, 55.6 per cent of respondents cited working together more efficiently and uniting workers across different locations (52.9%) as the biggest benefits of web 2.0, while 50 per cent cited more openness in the organisation.

Banathy added: "UK companies risk alienating their major stakeholders, like customers and shareholders, as well as staff and business partners, if they ignore the increased interaction, communication and openness this technology can bring."

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.