If you want to kill web 2.0 – give it to the IT department

This article from ITWorld Canada by Vawn Himmelsbach which discusses some of the issues of bringing enterprise 2.0 to an unprepared workforce, includes a statement that caught my eye.

Many organizations believe the IT department should be responsible for deploying Web 2.0, when, really, the IT department should be responsible for helping to pick, and then maintain, the right tools – but not necessarily defining the business case or driving their use.

I agree with the second part (strongly) – the IT department should NOT be responsible for defining the business case. Or promoting it’s use even though they can and should be recipients of the collaborative services web 2.0 offers. The real drivers should come from the business side of the organization. The grass roots – customers, employees, sales, HR, marketing and even the executive suite are the drivers. Many IT departments are staffed and managed by hardworking and brilliant people and the IT department should sit at the table and offer advice on some of the technologies involved and how they integrate into existing environments.

The problem with giving them something new to implement and maintain and control is that most IT departments are overwhelmed with maintaining existing systems. They don’t have time to devote to something new. Let the IT folks do what they do best – keep the lights on by ensuring that computers, systems and networks they already have in place, work and keep on working. Web 2.0 is not just another technology – it is a new way to communicate, collaborate, carry on conversations and conduct business. Letting the IT department steer the web 2.0 ship will put it on the rocks before it gains momentum in the organization.

If you are an executive who wants to kill web 2.0 in your organization, then give it to the IT department and the legal department and ask them to make a go of it. It will be dead and buried by lunch time.


2 thoughts on “If you want to kill web 2.0 – give it to the IT department

  1. Eek. That’s harsh! 🙂

    IT departments in large companies are coming ’round to accepting the notion of emergent, social software platforms. Best case scenario is getting IT, Business Unit, Marketing, HR and Legal in the same room to map out the initiative.

    After the hair flies and wounds start healing, all these factions will find they each bring something important to the party.

    1. Harsh but typical from what I’ve seen in my contacts with IT departments (12 meetings in the last 20 months). An extreme example came during a conversation with an IT Director and their assistant director. I asked if Web 2.0 was on their radar and the director said no. The assistant director said that their customers (the internal business units of this large enterprise) were asking for this but they had no plans to investigate or implement. WOW…Their “customers” were asking for this . . . and they weren’t delivering. What will be the result? Their customers will find a way to make web 2.0 work and sidestep the IT department. One IT manager I spoke with just three months ago mentioned that his team was using a wiki as a knowledge base but there were no plans to allow the rest of the company, which was a project based services company, to make use of a wiki or any other Web 2.0 technology. Of the 12 meetings I had with IT folks the typical response was ‘we have enough on our plate without bringing on any new technologies’.

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