Younger employees -- like that new batch of college grads hitting the market right now -- are going to be pushing employers to use Web 2.0 technologies on the job. And if their companies don't start adopting them, younger workers will most likely just start using them on the sly.
"The upcoming generation is going to have a major impact on business. She will expect to have access to her tools in the workplace," said Marthin De Beer, a senior VP with Cisco Systems. "It would be like someone from my generation not having access to e-mail and instant messaging. If they don't get this stuff, they probably won't be there for a long time."
De Beer was one of the keynote speakers focusing on what became a common theme Tuesday at the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston. IT managers better start preparing to deal with Web 2.0 technologies, like wikis, blogs, mashups, and social networking sites, because sooner or later -- and it'll probably be sooner -- they're going to have to deal with it.
And that means adopting technologies, managing them, and securing the network from the people who use them.
"People are bringing from home an expectation of how computing should be," said Dennis Moore, a general manager with SAP, who also gave a keynote presentation Tuesday morning. "Ten or 20 years ago, people did not bring computing expectations to the office. Now people have better computer technologies at home. ... People want to use their favorite technologies at work. They're satisfying themselves and not waiting for IT."
Moore then put up some IDC research numbers showing that 45% of companies have workers blogging, 43% use RSS feeds, and 35% of companies have employees using wikis.
What's interesting about that, according to Susan Feldman, VP of content technologies at IDC, is that the study also showed that IT managers and executives largely didn't know any of this was going on. She told InformationWeek that with Web 2.0 technologies increasingly becoming part of people's social lives, they will demand that it be part of their work lives, as well. And a lot of companies may have this new technology inside their firewalls that they simply don't know about.
"We'll have to deal with the reality of people coming in and using tools that aren't in the firewall," said De Beer. "Web 2.0 empowers users beyond creating content. It's about how we interact. For the next generation, it will be about mass collaboration, using social networking."