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The hurdles facing social computing

This article appears in the issue April 2008 [Volume 17, Issue 4]

With the growing popularity of Web 2.0, Enterprise 2.0, social computing (just pick the term you like best), Gartner points out that organizations must address the sometimes-major obstacles facing adoption.

 

The well-respected analyst group has identified five major hurdles facing the justification of investing in such initiatives

  • Delivering Business Value,
  • Governing Participant Behaviours,
  • Ensuring Privacy,
  • Overcoming Cultural Barriers and
  • Managing Personal and Professional Time). Gartner notes significant culture barriers impede implementation and suggests that enterprises devote ample time to train and encourage users. Gartner also points to the possibility of inappropriate behavior on an enterprisewide social computing network and, thus, emphasizes careful governance of user activity.

 

The consultancy also points to privacy as a serious consideration. The possibility of information falling into the wrong hands is very real, so administrators must ensure that the strictest of security measures are in place and consistently monitored and, if necessary, upgraded. Another vital consideration is the effect of social computing on the balance of employees' personal and professional lives. Not all organizations are eager to embrace the virtual workplace, and enterprise computing 2.0 encourages loosely structured work in a loosely structured work day (or week or month or quarter). As a result, new ways of evaluating employee performance need to be established.

 

What about justification for such an investment? Oh, yeah, that. The business case must be proven, Gartner emphasizes. And although a wait-and-see attitude might be warranted, that certainly doesn't mean, in Gartner's words, an "ignore and it will pass" strategy. "It" won't go away. The new, younger work force will gain further dominance, and sophisticated social computing systems will become an expected part of doing business. For further views on this topic, see page 18, (KMWorld, Vol 17, Issue 4).

 


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