Web 2.0 doesn't boost productivity, security

So-called Web 2.0 collaboration tools are failing to meet workplace expectations when it comes to effectiveness and security, according to a new European study.

The Adobe-sponsored study, conducted by analyst Forrester found that, despite the hype around so-called web 2.0' or collaborative networking tools, they are failing to meet knowledge workers' need to work efficiently and securely together.

The study's findings were based on a poll of 3,000 users in the UK and Europe, where 99 per cent said they worked collaboratively with others, and 81 per cent worked with two or more people in different time zones and geographical regions.

Nearly half (49 per cent) indicated that they need to create high-impact content once a month or more. But in doing so, 87 per cent of European knowledge workers had experienced problems with the default collaboration tools they were using today.

Over two thirds (65 per cent) of respondents said faster collection of information was needed, while 49 per cent wanted to reduce their reliance on paper for information collection, and 44 per cent said they lacked more engaging ways to collaborate with colleagues.

As a result Tim Walters, Forrester senior analyst, said knowledge workers would rather resort to real-time communications, like the phone or email, to share information collaboratively.

"The challenge for the enterprise therefore is not just to provide improved collaboration solutions but also to support workers' current work habits while transitioning them to new and constantly evolving ways of working," he said.

Forrester advised IT departments to embrace email and phone-based data collection methods that include measurable, engaging approaches, such as surveys or forms that help compile data, not just collect it.

The study also found the use of collaboration tools was not aligned to ensure the protection of information assets and prevent unauthorised employee activity. Nearly half (47 per cent) of respondents were confident about the security of sharing information within their organisations, but only 21 per cent were confident when sharing data outside of their company.

Forrester warned IT departments to educate knowledge workers of the security risks and find tools and processes that minimise the exposure of sensitive information at the document level.

Michael Callahan, senior vice president of encryption and compliance software vendor, Credant commented: "[The report] confirms our observations that companies are very wary of web 2.0 technologies and the security loopholes they create."

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.