*As seen in The Age
Local company blogs lag according to Intranet Research
Three-quarters of Australian companies are interested in using social networking tools such as blogs and discussion forums to improve communication between their employees, according to a survey by software company Intranet DASHBOARD.
The survey of 386 respondents, 200 in Australia and the rest worldwide, found that just over half the Australian companies were interested in social networking tools but were not using them yet. Another 26 per cent had begun a trial or were using them.
But it seems that Australian companies are lagging: one in three overseas companies surveyed had begun a trial or were using social networking tools.
“This is what Web 2.0 is all about – communication, everybody contributing rather than staying in their individual silos,” Intranet DASHBOARD director Campbell Dobbin said.
“When you improve communication you promote cross-collaboration. You can capture and share knowledge within your company and make more accurate decisions about the future of your business.”
But opinions varied about which social networking tools were useful.
Only 10 per cent of Australian respondents had set up corporate blogs, although another 19 per cent planned to.
Almost half the respondents had either set up, or planned to set up a facility for employees to bookmark internet sites and share the links with each other.
Almost a quarter had RSS feeds and discussion forums, while 15 per cent had a wiki and a further 16 per cent planned to have one.
Social collaboration, and the use of Web 2.0 ideas in a corporate context, is becoming a key part of enterprise services, said Tien Tzuo, chief strategy officer at on-demand software company Salesforce.com.
Mr Tzuo said classic content management software was about storing and finding documents but by adding Web 2.0 tools such as tagging, a company could create a more co-operative environment.
The software could also be extended to bring the company closer to its partners and customers, he said.
Salesforce is using this model to develop ideas about features and fixes for its software. Customers suggest and promote ideas they want developed on the IdeaExchange website.
“The concept of voting (for software features) sparks participation – the user community is galvanised around that,” Mr Tzuo said.
The Intranet DASHBOARD survey also found that Australian chief executives were less likely than overseas chief executives to contribute to an internal blog.
Only 13 per cent of Australian chief executives surveyed had a blog, compared to 20 per cent of those overseas.
In Australia, 9 per cent of chief executives used their blog for regular communication with employees, while 4 per cent used it to communicate outside the company.