Enterprise 2.0: Benefits and Risks

Many workplaces are discovering the usefulness social software and have now begun utilizing mainstream social systems such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook for advertising their brand and communication with customers as well as implementing in-house systems for communication and collaboration within the organization.

These tools have proven very useful in completing hobby projects between many parties who are unable to directly interact with one another and are now finally emerging into the business world. But what took employers so long to catch onto this revolution and why are so many still holding onto the old ways of communication rather than embracing Enterprise 2.0? The answer is simple they fail to see past the risks of these systems. The benefits are there and they are most definitely notable but many employers see it these tools as virtual water coolers in which employees gather to engage in “chit-chat” but they are so much more than this and have much more these systems if well.

So firstly let’s outline what are the risks of these Enterprise 2.0 systems:

  • Security: Social systems introduces big security risks as employees are more capable of interacting directly with the population instead of having the PR department draft all the communication from posters, adverts, press releases etc. This imposes a big risk of employees leaking confidential information and increases the risk of legal and ethical issues arising.
  • Wasted Time: While a little bit of off topic collaboration is encouraged to make the system appeal to the employees it is important to steer the discussion in the correct direction to ensure the system is used for its intended purposes. If there is no work related communication then the system hasn’t been introduced correctly into the workplace.

Benefits of Enterprise 2.0:

  • Increased Productivity: The social systems are designed to create a bridge between employees and enable communication by a large group of people. This helps in getting projects completed faster as the tools can be used for collaboration allowing everyone to stay in sync with the status of a project and not duplicating already produced output.
  • Ecofriendly: Rather than employees printing off memos, announcements, project details and the like most of these could be listed on a forum, wiki or a blog. This has the potential to greatly reduce paper and ink wastage within the organization as well as externally as a replacement for paper advertising.
  • Helps Team Building: Through a bit of off topic chat employees can get to know each other a lot better which will improve moral, motivation and also boost productivity as employees will be able to work together better.
Image courtesy of Geek And Poke.

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