by November 2, 2007 0 comments

What would you do if you caught an employee chatting with friends on an
instant messenger? You’ll block it because it’s against company policy, chokes
Internet bandwidth, and wastes productive time. However, next time, you’ll find
another employee using something else to interact with others, say Orkut or
blogging. You’ll block that also only to find them using some other mechanism to
communicate, maybe a new P2P application.

All these events don’t happen overnight, as new social networking
technologies take time to develop. But while they develop, many other
interesting things also happen in the background. While IT managers were busy
banning Yahoo! Or MSN Instant Messengers, somebody, somewhere was busy adding IM
capabilities to a Mail server for the same IT manager. Later, the same IT
manager who was blocking IMs ends up deploying that mail server for the
enterprise for official use.

This is not a new trend. In fact, many technologies we see being used in
enterprises today were at one point of time criticized or banned from use. I’m
not saying that organizations are following the wrong practice. by banning such
social networking technologies. After all, such social networking technologies
do cause disruption. What’s important to realize here is that many consumer
driven technologies have entered the enterprise world this way, and
revolutionized the face of IT; and more will continue doing so in the future.
The one that’s hot off the platter today are social networking technologies,
also called Web 2.0.

Anil Chopra,


Most organizations today end up blocking Orkut or YouTube, the torch bearers
of Web 2.0 technologies, as they eat up productivity and network bandwidth. But
a lot of enterprise software vendors have taken queue from the concepts behind
these sites and introduced similar features within their own products.

Take the latest versions of any collaboration or messaging suite from any
vendor worth its name today, and you’ll find it to be filled with Web 2.0

Many other trends are also in the making, which just might make it big. For a
long time, enterprises have been banning USB drives from being used in the
company due to security reasons. But what if the same USB drive could carry the
entire desktop of a user? This way, users could be more productive on the move,
without having to carry laptops. That’s a trend more commonly known as desktop
virtualization. Likewise, most organizations block P2P software, but today there
are companies busy creating new avatars of the same ‘menace’, which will be very
beneficial for organizations. How about file sharing or web site hosting using a
P2P software from a PC, or downloading a new patch on one machine and
distributing it across?

So there are two sides to everything, and we should also see the better side
and appreciate this spirit of innovation!

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