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Frost & Sullivan Releases End User Study on Web 2.0

Frost & Sullivan just released our newest end user study, a look at how companies are using Web 2.0 in the enterprise, including social networking sites, and to what extent they have policies and corporate control of such use. The survey, which includes responses from 1,439 participants, shows that social networking is increasingly visible in the workplace and is being harnessed by organizations around the world.The survey shows that Web 2.0 technologies are widely in use: More than half of all respondents (54%) reported that they use Web 2.0 technologies for professional purposes, such as connecting with colleagues, generating leads, and collaborating on projects. Social networking sites are the most used Web 2.0 tool; others include blogs, wikis, and team spaces. (Of more concern to managers, perhaps, is the fact that 80% of respondents use Web 2.0 technologies to connect with friends and family while on the job.)

Here, some highlights from the study:

* Mid-size enterprises (those with 100-999 employees) employ Web 2.0 tools more often than small (1-99 employees) or large (1000+ employees) organizations, except for team spaces, which are most used by large enterprises.

* More executives, or current leaders, avail themselves of Web 2.0 tools than do entry-level employees and middle managers.

* Roughly four out of ten organizations formally use Web 2.0 tools. In most cases, the IT department initiated the program, and the vast majority of the initiatives are managed internally.

* The majority of respondents say that their organizations have written policies regarding the use of social networking sites; 80% work in organizations that allow access to such sites, despite no formal policies.

* Roughly one-third of respondents report formal organizational use of social networking/Web 2.0 tools within the past year.

* Interestingly, client relations, advertising, marketing, and other business communications are not part of most organizations' use of Web 2.0 tools. The majority of respondents reported that their organizations use Web 2.0 tools primarily for internal use, staff relations, and training.

Clearly, Web 2.0 technologies are making inroads into the workplace. That presents real opportunity for communications vendors that already understand the needs and requirements of the enterprise (and the IT departments that support them). As companies continue to embrace social networking and other Web 2.0 technologies, they must pay closer attention to the ways in which the tools are used (and misused) within the organization. They should also look for applications that can integrate with other software and communications platforms.

Most important of all, perhaps, is the fact that Web 2.0 is literally changing the way people think about collaboration, and how willing they are to share information. Organizations have always looked for ways to make their employees more collaborative; today, they need to look for ways to make their collaborative employees more effective.