Bosses Warm Up to Social Networking on Company Time

Bosses Warm Up to Social Networking on Company Time

By Nicole Girard / TechNewsWorld Part of the ECT News Network
09/13/07 4:00 AM PT


Enterprise 2.0, or the corporate adoption of social networking tools, has been considerable due to their effectiveness in cutting across barriers in large corporations, said Rachel Dappe, IDC research manager. Dappe was surprised to find such a high percentage of regular usage of these applications within the largest enterprises, rather than small and medium-sized companies, she said.

No longer the exclusive domain Over 800,000 High Quality Domains Available For Your Business. Click Here. of computer loving teenagers and college students, social networking has become a tool Free white paper on customer satisfaction metrics. Click here. to drive corporate innovation and facilitate communication from the boardroom on down.

For instance, for AAR, a Wood Dale, Ill.-based aviation services company, communication oriented Web 2.0 tools like those found on popular consumer sites MySpace Latest News about MySpace and Facebook, are playing a key role in their mission to go green.
"We have identified new business development ideas and have helped AAR
to become more environmentally friendly," said Shannon DuVaul, senior
director of end user computing. "An example of this is our electricity
cost savings initiative wherein AAR is replacing all building lighting
fixtures with Fluorescent fixtures."

Happier Employees

The energy saving measure was suggested by an employee and the change
was implemented throughout the company. When AAR Vice President of
Strategy Development Ben Sandzer-Ball logged onto the new myAAR
Discussion Forum and asked everyone in the company what they were doing
to reduce their carbon footprint, he received a flood of responses.

"For an employee, knowing that your voice is heard makes AAR a better
place to work," DuVaul said. "The myAAR Discussion Forum ensures
accessibility from the President’s office to all AAR employees."

AAR is a member of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Green Power Partnership.

An employee wrote that, "little improvements add up." Over time, she
said her family has switched to using earth-friendly cleaning products
and energy efficient appliances.

Another employee said he was so inspired by AAR’s commitment to going green that he purchased a 2008 Ford Escape Hybrid.

In the short period of time AAR has used this service, recommendations
for new threads and posts have been created. The application enables
anyone in the company to post a question, comment or response or start
a new topic of their own.
Adopting Internal Communication Structures

Ning, founded by Netscape cofounder Marc Andreessen, hosts the
company’s social network. With the ability to choose from applications
like photo and video sharing along with widgets and other features, the
social networking site does not offer a version to run on the company’s
own server Stay on budget with simple to install HP server technology..

With more than 60 offices worldwide, AAR is an example of a large
corporation that is quickly adopting internal communication structures
modeled after those found in social networks, according to
International Data Corporation, (IDC) research manager, Rachel Dappe.

Dappe, who produced a study called "Web 2.0 at Work," said that
Enterprise 2.0, or the corporate adoption of social networking tools,
has been considerable due to their effectiveness in cutting across
barriers in large corporations. Dappe was surprised to find such a high
percentage of regular usage of these applications within the largest
enterprises, rather than small and medium-sized companies, she said.

"Adoption of Web 2.0 tech is higher than we expected it to be," said Dappe, of the findings in her early 2007 survey.

More than 40 percent of business users consume social networking
applications like blogs, intranets and RSS (really simple syndication)
feeds more than three times a week. More than 30 percent of respondents
read information in wikis, social networks, discussion boards and
videoconferences/IMs more than three times a week. More than 20 percent
of respondents contribute to blogs, intranets, social networks,
discussion boards, video conferencing and tagging more than three times
a week.
For Official Purposes

Dappe found that business users often use these tools for more for
official purposes than for personal reasons. Although the study
concluded that the initial exposure to these social networking
technologies, for early adopters, was in the consumer space, it is
increasingly likely that initial exposure to these technologies for
many users will come from enterprise applications used in the workplace.

This study revealed that usage of Web 2.0 tools within the workplace
was significant and that many entities have not yet centralized the
management of these applications. The majority of business users are
evaluating, sourcing, paying for and deploying these applications
themselves. The majority of Web 2.0 applications implemented in
businesses are not managed by an IT department.

Given the rising adoption of these collaborative Web 2.0 technologies,
IT departments will soon have the complex task of consolidating
solutions and deploying them broadly across the enterprise so that
information is in a small number of secure and reliable systems.

Earlier this year, IBM (NYSE: IBM) Latest News about IBM implemented an
enterprise-wide IT controlled social networking package called Lotus
Connections.

The company said it is one part of a range of features designed to take
advantage of "real-time presence and communications capabilities."

At the Office 2.0 Conference earlier this month, 28-year-old former
investment banker Adam Carson of global financial services firm Morgan
Stanley outlined his vision to bring the firm up to speed with
Enterprise 2.0. Carson said that Morgan Stanley has 70 to 80 social
networking projects underway, many involving creating online
communities with clients and wikis.

His ideas are getting traction in part because of the demographics of
Morgan Stanley’s 55,000 employees. With more than half of their
workforce under the age of 35, Carson sees the conversion in
communication toward corporation wide collaborative software as a
necessity. Over the next decade, the vast majority of workers will have
grown up with social networking and be accustomed with using these Web
2.0 applications to communicate and share ideas.

They also use these tools to socialize however, which has prompted some
companies to restrict the use of consumer based social networks because
of security Webroot AntiSpyware 30-Day Free Trial. Click here. concerns
and loss of productivity.

So while some companies are implementing their own social networks, others are taking measures to restrict access to them.

This makes perfect sense, according to Rich Lyons, a veteran of IT
consulting. Lyons, who is president and founder of Lyons Consulting
Group (LCG), worked with AAR in the implementation of their social
networking applications.

"You have to separate the two out," he said. "Some companies restrict
chat, so similarly if you think of MySpace or Facebook as more of a
social, communication tool for friends, that company might incorporate
those same tools but use them for business purposes. There have been
people that have spent two hours a day on MySpace. No way are you going
to want that."

These business based communication tools were also safer when it came
to security issues, Carson said. They also allowed for easier
monitoring of employee communications.

"If it’s the property of your company you can monitor the content," he
said. "Its much harder to monitor what someone’s doing on MySpace, but
if your company has installed it, it’s much easier. Plus, you can focus
on how it’s going to help your business. You can set up different
forums for discussion and actually use it to foster communication but
yet drive efficiency at the same time."


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