IT wrestles with workplace blogging

How are IT departments dealing with the advent of the blogosphere?

There's no question that blogs are multiplying in cyberspace. Now they're infiltrating businesses, too, even if the IT departments haven't sanctioned their implementations.

"I've definitely seen the problem with unsanctioned blogs finding their way into enterprises. It's happening more than IT would like to believe," says Oliver Young, an analyst at Forrester Research. "Executives realize it's a losing battle to lock it down, so they're bringing in official solutions. It's not everybody, but there are plenty of IT shops that realize this is coming whether they like it or not."

The movement of blogs from a primarily social technology to a business tool is happening fast. As a result, IT workers are developing best practices for implementing, managing and maintaining this technology. At the same time, corporate IT departments, executive sponsors and the business units that want blogs are trying to build business cases, craft user policies and estimate costs -- and even returns on investments -- even though there's not yet a lot of data to define success.

"There's a fair amount of learning going on based on early adopters," Young says.

Costs and liabilities

The number of companies that have made a significant commitment to blog technology is limited, according to Forrester. It found in a June 2007 survey of IT decision-makers at US companies with 500 or more employees that only 7% have made large, strategic investments in blogs. Another 20% have made small scale implementations, with 12% piloting blogs and 15% considering an investment.

Calculating exact costs for corporate blogs is difficult. But based on multiple accounts, those costs aren't significant.

"I can do it for zero cost in almost zero time," says Ray Valdes, an analyst at Gartner. Open-source platforms guarantee a cheap option but can result in unauthorized blogs floating around the corporate infrastructure, with attendant IT headaches.

IT departments are more likely to turn to corporate applications, opting for either hosted services or commercial products designed to meet corporate requirements for security, permissions and scalability.

"IT does not like the idea of people in departments or lines of business downloading software whether it costs or it's free. They want to manage it," Valdes says.

In addition to vendors that specialize in providing corporate social media applications, Valdes says the major players in the corporate collaboration software space either have or will ship products that include blog capability and other Web 2.0 technology.

Easy on the maintenance schedule

Blogging technology, like e-mail systems, doesn't require heavy maintenance. "IT will obviously operate the machinery behind blogs just [as it does] the machinery behind e-mail, but it's a relatively minimal effort," Valdes says.

Corporate-hosted blogs that operate behind company firewalls, Valdes notes, enjoy a certain level of security. Moreover, the blogs can be structured to meet specific corporate requirements: IT can prohibit anonymous postings, restrict who can read certain blogs and even determine who has read a particular blog and when.

Whether such restrictions and insights clash with the free-spirited nature of blogs is up for debate, but such abilities certainly give IT the kind of control that makes for easier management.

"There's a lot of debate around that -- the amount of governance and control you should have over it," says Jim Johnson, lead technology strategist at Xerox. The IT department there supports some 50 to 60 blogs, using a mix of commercial products and open-source technology, Johnson says.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Mary K. Pratt

Mary K. Pratt

Computerworld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?