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Enterprise 2.0 - What is it good for?

Enterprise 2.0 - What is it good for?

A 12-step guide to getting the most out of Web 2.0 tools and making it safe-for-purpose

9.Use It for Talent Attraction and Retention

In the face of all such security concerns Westpac CTO David Backley remains undeterred. Not only does Westpac let staff access Facebook at work, the bank has also built both a Westpac-branded site on Second Life, and a Web 2.0-style portal in-house.

While most CIOs still restrict employee access to social networking sites like Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and Second Life through fear of encouraging staff to time waste and concern about introduced security risks, Backley remains adamantly unflustered. There are security concerns around such technologies, he agrees, but as is true of many areas of technology adoption, the real issue is about culture.

"It's about the way people work," Backley says. "It's also about working in a much more dynamic demographic where we have people from multiple generations in the same business. The question for us is, if we want to attract and retain talent, how do we blend the needs of the organization for security - and for a bank that is number one - efficiency, and collaboration, and the expectation of people coming into the organization.

"The general traffic flow on Facebook doesn't have at this point in time something that we can see is a damaging payload," he says.

Rather than block access to Facebook at work, Westpac has opted to simply block those applications within Facebook that try to access closed ports, such as sending people a flower or a hug. To address security concerns the bank relies on both its general code of conduct and its technology code of use to regulate employee behaviour, and is working on developing a relatively simple guide to staying safe online.

"The thing is, it's very difficult to manage what people do outside of work, and just because we don't allow a certain traffic type through, doesn't mean people aren't going to access that information at home," Backley says. "I'd much rather that we had a level of understanding and governance around the use of social networks and give people credit for being intelligent adults, and allowed them to leverage their networks. I'd much rather have a thousand people on Facebook who are positively disposed towards the organization that they work for, rather than a whole discussion group around 'why can't we do this'.

"So it's balancing all of those issues which CIOs have about the business need, the requirements for security, the technology available, and the demographic that you work for."

Backley says Westpac is also considering introducing video YouTube-type capability internally for training, learning and development, and for getting messages and information out to branch networks and a wide audience. With Web technologies evolving so fast, the issue for CIOs is to find ways to iterate such technologies.

"You know, today's flavour might be podcasting, next year's might be something very different. Traditionally IT shops inside large organizations have been very good at developing core systems and things, but not necessarily as good at iterating and throwing away yesterday's solution, because today's solution for the same problem is much better. And I think the Web 2.0 technologies allow you to do that because you can bring components together quickly and then disband them."

He says he has a person on staff who spends his days evaluating emerging technology.

10.Use It for Green Computing - As Long As Your Architecture Is Right

Cisco's Sheard says Enterprise 2.0 is already proving its worth in enhancing organizations' carbon emission reduction programs. Blogs, wikis, RSS feeds, mashups and social networking are all about helping people to collaborate and communicate more effectively. Sheard says not only can adoption of the technologies result in more current information getting into the hands of those who need it to make better decisions; it can be a boon to green computing.

Few organizations opted to make full use of videoconferencing capability, but now remote desktop videoconferencing and telepresence suites are filling the same role much more effectively, and dramatically reducing the need for employees to travel to meetings. Better still; employees like to use the new technologies. Cisco's videoconferencing suites were typically used for less than 1 percent of a typical corporate day; by contrast the company is running at 77 percent utilization of its telepresence suites. And more than half of the calls Sheard makes on his desk phone are now video calls, he says.

Better still, not only is the technology incredibly easy to use, he says the experience is so realistic most participants quickly forget they are not sitting across the desk face-to-face.

Cisco polls users at the end of every telepresence meeting to help it calculate the money it is saving, and the carbon credits it is building up using the technologies. "That's building every day," Sheard says.

But Sheard warns the architectural approach is absolutely critical to successful deployment of Enterprise 2.0. The days of being able to pull together new products and technologies as they arise are over, he says. Enterprise 2.0 makes it all the more essential for organizations to build a secure and stable architecture from the ground up, built not just with connectivity in mind, but also with respect to the data centre.

"We're seeing now networking technologies start to morph into the data centre, and for example, storage area networks are enabling virtualization of storage resources, and this gets back to the green agenda," Sheard says. "If you look at your average data centre, there are pockets of storage and pockets of CPU or computer power that are much underutilized. Within an architected intelligent network you are able to virtualize that resource and therefore make it available for the rest of the corporation as opposed to just a department, for example," he says.

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