Home > Enterprise 2.0 > The risks and benefits of Enterprise 2.0

The risks and benefits of Enterprise 2.0

As like any other venture there are many benefits and risks included in using enterprise 2.0 systems within a business. In many cases the benefits far out weigh the risks if implemented correctly.

Benefits

One of the most significant benefits that businesses find when using web 2.0 tools is the reduction in exclusive collaboration on issues. This is because tools such as wikis open employee communication up to the entire organisation. Not only does this increase productivity and reduce traffic on email servers, but it also captures knowledge.

To many companies knowledge is one of its valuable assets. Over the years there have been countless attempts at ways to capture this knowledge, some have been successful, however many have either failed dramatically or took to much time to perform. Knowledge is only valuable to a company if it is reused, they may have collected it however no one made the effort to make use of it. [1]

However, web 2.0 has brought a light to this problem. Not only does it allow for quick searching of information, it also allows for it to be part of everyday activities. As an employee gains knowledge they can simply note it on the system so that they, and others can use it to better their understandings for the topic at hand. [1]

Also, as it is “real time” employees can collaborate on projects and problems in a centralised location. Many companies have all their project documentation online, so the most up-to-date documentation is easily available to everyone involved and not locked up in emails. Having the documentation online reduces duplication of documents therefore leading to greater efficiency [2]. Also as explored in my last blog, it allows for upper management to tap in and view the status and process of all projects effortlessly in a matter of seconds when it previously took weeks just to get this information.

Risks

When it comes to enterprise 2.0 systems, there are many risks involved that may have significant impacts on the business. One of the most unforseen and damaging issues is the security of the information gathered. Many systems have plans to mitigate the loss of data, however in instances when mistakes are made when setting up the system the consequences are immense.

Some of the mistakes that have been made by companies that host their own systems include;

–       Making backups on the same computer, or even worse the same hard drive that the original data is on. The failure of a single computer would be all that needs to happen to lose the data.

–       Another is that many people don’t think twice about storing the backup in the same physical location as the original data. The issue with this is if there is a fire or natural disaster all the information will be lost. Even though it would be a minor problem in a situation like that as they have a lot more to worry about, it can still be avoided.

Another problem with having all of the company’s information centralised is the risk of someone stealing, or an employee leaking the information. The level of security of product development and research is greatly reduced when using enterprise 2.0 systems to store this information. As all the information is in “one” location, if the system was to be hacked an unauthorised person may have this information readily available to them. Businesses need to put in place mitigations to reduce the risk of this happening. However, in doing so they must be aware that locking down the system with tons of passwords and security codes will reduce the productivity of the users and possibly hinder their decision to use it.

Conclusion

As explored in my previous blog, enterprise 2.0 systems are going to be used within an organisation whether the company is ready or not. There are reported events of employees bringing systems in through back doors of the organisation and even using the company’s accounts to pay for the implementation. [3] At that point you would have seen this as a real indicator that these systems need to be implemented. However, realistically the management of companies should identify processes that can use enterprise 2.0 systems to increase productivity. If implemented by the company and not the employees it will allow for the systems to be properly and thoroughly implemented to avoid many of the possible risks and harness the potential benefits.

[1] http://www.biztechtalk.com/2008/04/enterprise-20-k.html

[2] http://e20portal.com/index.php/enterprise-2.0-benefits/benefits-of-enterprise-2.0.html

[3] http://www.zdnet.com/blog/hinchcliffe/the-state-of-enterprise-20/143

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Categories: Enterprise 2.0
  1. August 21, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    Nice outline, it’s interesting what you discussed in risks because I’m sure a lot of people have forgotten or even have not taken into consideration of taking those steps to ensure those risks don’t occur. Those mitigation plans are so simple and easy to accomplish yet a lot of people tend to forget or take them for granted.

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