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Report on using Web 2.0 technology for competitive advantage

IT Governance : 02 July, 2008  (Technical Article)
The risks and benefits of using Web 2.0 technology in a corporate environment are highlighted in a report published by IT Governance
Web 2.0 is a business reality, and organisations risk losing their competitive edge if they fail to engage with Web 2.0 technologies. However, firms face making critical mistakes around privacy, information security and possible legal action if they adopt Web 2.0 technologies without thinking through their risks. In response, independent compliance expert IT Governance has just published the 'IT Governance Best Practice Report, Web 2.0: Trends, Benefits & Risks', the first comprehensive look at both the opportunities and threats which Web 2.0 presents to the business world.

Web 2.0, or social networking, is a catch-all term for making websites as interactive as possible, with examples like Facebook, YouTube and photo-sharing site Flickr being among the best known. All manner of companies are starting to adopt the same kind of approaches by encouraging employee blogs, customer forums, greater use of multi-media content and images, and self-created 'encyclopaedias' (or 'wikis'). Firms that care about their business and which are not using these strategies to engage with the audiences, from customer to partner to supplier to staff member, risk jeopardising those relationships and wasting the technology's competitive potential.

However, before companies rush into Web 2.0, they need to consider how empowering their employees, or inviting more and more outside comment on their sites, could lead them to litigation or other privacy and data protection problem areas.

This 113-page Best Practice Report structures what managers really need to know about Web 2.0 and social networking, starting from a workable description of what Web 2.0 actually means in the business environment. It then goes on to offer an in-depth glossary of Web 2.0 terms, and a description of the business benefits to be derived from Web 2.0 technologies, with examples taken from real-life case studies. There is also an identification and discussion of the information security risks inherent in Web 2.0 technologies, together with recommendations for their effective mitigation.

The need for clear thinking about the right way to move to Web 2.0 is highlighted by a recent survey by IT Governance (May 2008), which showed that over 40% of respondents are using Web 2.0 sites for more than an hour each day: a proportion markedly higher in the 'Generation Y' (16 to 25-year-old) demographic.

The message is that the smarter organisations will adopt and adapt Web 2.0 technologies while safeguarding themselves against the dangers - risks such as breach of privacy, financial costs (lower productivity, increased drag on the corporate bandwidth) and security and regulatory compliance. Doing this will enable them to offer staff and customers the more information-rich and agile way of working and operating - at less risk.

Alan Calder, Chief Executive of IT Governance, commented,

"Company leaders have, for too long, been burying their heads in the sand when it comes to the importance of social networking. Web 2.0 is now a business reality, and CEOs need to get a proper understanding of its risks and benefits so as not to miss out on the opportunity. The best place to start such a journey is with our Best Practice Report, which aims to separate the hype from the reality."

'IT Governance Best Practice Report, Web 2.0: Trends, Benefits & Risks' is priced at £295. A special 'Early Bird' discount of 25% is available for pre-publication purchases before 10 July.

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