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Web 2.0 in business survey shows considerable take-up levels of the technology

Inbox/Outbox : 30 June, 2009  (Technical Article)
A survey conducted as part of the Inbox/Outbox event shows that 70% of respondents are already beginning to use Web 2.0 as a business alternative to e-mail
Inbox/Outbox in partnership with Mesmo Consultancy have announced the results of a new survey investigating the adoption in business of social networking and collaborative tools generally referred to as Web 2.0 technologies. Founder of Mesmo Consultancy, Dr Monica Seeley, chose Inbox/outbox 2009 to reveal the outcome of the survey that confirmed that 41% of respondents believe there will be an increase in the use of Web 2.0 and over 70% are already using it as an alternative to email in the business environment.

The survey targeted IT, marketing and business professionals to look at how, if at all, Web 2.0 is generating profitable business for them. Both generation X and Y were represented with interestingly 62% in the 36 to 55 age bracket. With leading computer manufacturer Dell recently reporting $3M of sales generated from Twitter, it is indisputable that social networking outlets such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn are now being used as an integral part of business communication.

According to the results of Dr Seeley's survey, the main driver for the increase in Web 2.0 adoption seems to be the need to reduce the time spent sending emails and the volume of emails being sent. Mesmo Consultancy found that organisations are wasting up to twenty one days per person per year (45 minutes per day) through inappropriate use of email. It is this fact that has caused 71% of respondents to cite the need for an alternative to email, for communications and information sharing.

Despite the increase in interest towards social networking websites, blogs and wikis, there is still a great deal of concern and scepticism. The three key reasons for not using Web 2.0 technologies, as cited by respondents were security, the lack of evidence supporting its effectiveness as a relevant business communications tool and the time it takes to use such media.

Dr Monica Seeley commented on the results, "Over 51% of the business professionals who took part in the survey highlighted security as a potential barrier to the evolution of Web 2.0 in the work place. Judging by the number of emails I receive on a daily basis from IT professionals who are struggling to make conventional email systems bullet-proof, it is clear this will play a key factor. However, time and information overload are real problems for most of us. We are time poor and data rich and for many businesses, there is no other option than to develop current communication tools and look at new ones."

"Web 2.0 is exciting and it does offer the opportunity for businesses, large and small, to be more efficient and productive. For this to work, there needs to be more reassuring, proven cases of success before it is more commonly used in business to improve productivity and increase sales," adds Managing Director of Revolution Events, Rich Tribe. "Already 45% of Internet users spend most of their time on user generated websites but sound policies and clear practice guidance need to be in place to reassure IT professionals and office managers that business intelligence and data security is not at risk."

The current lack of clear guidelines and training was also highlighted in the survey with 36% citing a lack of suitable training and education. Whilst only 29% said their current Computer Acceptable Policy explicitly covered the use of social networking. The recent publication of the Government's Digital Britain again highlights the need for far more focus on improving the level of IT competence and confidence amongst UK.

Inbox/Outbox 2009 took place on the 16th and 17th June at the New Connaught Rooms in Covent Garden, London. The key areas of focus for the event were email management and security, data protection issues and Enterprise 2.0 and collaborative applications.

Inbox/Outbox 2009 is owned and organised by Revolution Events and was sponsored by AcumenMobile, Azaleos Corporation, BakBone Software, EMC Documentum, Lightspeed Systems Europe, Opsera, Research In Motion and Sophos.
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