Employers back Web 2.0 for the workplace, says KPMG

Most corporate executives believe that blogs, wikis and social networks will help employees to work more efficiently. But widespread adoption of Web 2.0 is being thwarted by security and governance concerns, according to research by KPMG.

The professional services firm and the Economist Intelligence Unit surveyed 472 executives around the world. Almost 70% said they believe that Web 2.0 tools will help employees to work more efficiently. Seventy-five percent said that Web 2.0 tools will foster innovation within their businesses and 86% see them improving knowledge sharing.

More than half of respondents (52%) said they use blogs daily, 47% said they use social or professional networking sites daily and 44% said that they use wikis daily. The results do not distinguish contributions to enterprise blogs and wikis from visits to popular blogs and Wikipedia . Podcasts were used daily by 37% of respondents, RSS feeds by 41%.

However, while these benefits are encouraging some companies to embrace Web 2.0, for others, potential risks are hindering their uptake.

Over half of respondents said that protecting and securing critical data is the chief barrier to adoption, while a third admit that not knowing how to measure the impact of the technologies is the most serious challenge to implementing them more broadly across their company. Almost half (45%) cited a fundamental lack of understanding about how Web 2.0 relates to their business.

Implementation of Web 2.0 governance structures varies by industry with some industries indicating they are "already there" and others planning to make significant changes in the next two years. Many respondents indicated that their organisations have not yet addressed the risks of Web 2.0 in any systematic way.

Fewer than half say they are currently putting in place governance programs that will guard data from unauthorised external access and only 28% have included Web 2.0 tools in their risk management processes.

Across industries, IT/Technology companies and Financial Services companies show most awareness of the risks of Web 2.0 and have taken steps to head them off, 52% and 60% respectively have policies in place to protect digital content from unauthorised access, with the remainder indicating they will do so within two years.

Just over a third of respondents in the entertainment, media, publishing and communications sectors currently have policies in place, despite digitalisation being most advanced within these sectors. Industries such as automotive and construction and real estate are further ahead with 40% and 50% respectively having these policies in place.

KPMG's Chairman of Technology, Crispin O'Brien, said: "It could be that technology and financial services companies are more attuned to these risks due to the less tangible nature of the products they deal in, compared with construction or automotive industries."