State of the Enterprise: Wikis, Blogs, RSS

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Back in December of last year I wrote a post on enterprise wiki adoption, “Wither The Enterprise Wiki", in which I noted that a relatively small number of enterprises were adopting emerging enterprise collaboration tools such as blogs, wikis and RSS (really simple syndication).  At the time of that posting, we had interviewed about 75 companies for our “Building the Virtual Workplace”.  We totaled about a hundred interviews, so let’s look at some of the results.

Enterprises by and large have not adopted these tools, with only 23% of enterprises using blogs, 37% using wikis, and 23% using RSS (most of which use RSS for external communication via their corporate web sites rather than for internal collaboration).  You could look at these numbers two ways depending on your perspective.  One, the adoption rates are fairly low given the hype, and two, the adoption rates are fairly high given the newness of these applications.

Enterprises did express a significant interest in trying to understand the potential benefits to these end-user-driven applications and many were in the very early stages of evaluating their usefulness and in trying to develop an enterprise-wide strategy for their use.  Those still in the evaluation phase often express concerns about management, security, and compliance as key factors that inhibited enterprise adoption.  Others noted that tools such as wikis were often brought in outside the control of IT, with individual users or business groups signing up for one of the many free or hosted wiki services currently available via the web.

Still, many enterprises have yet to gain awareness of both the capabilities of these tools as well as their usefulness to helping groups share information.  More than a few times we heard “what’s a wiki?” in response to our questions about enterprise wiki adoption.  When we asked specifically about collaboration strategies, the responses typically revolved around shared workspace applications and real-time tools such as web conferencing.  

These results suggest that the second perspective is a more accurate analysis of the results – that applications such as wikis, blogs, and RSS are still in the early stages of the hype curve.  Enterprises are just now becoming aware of the existence of these tools, and are only now starting to evaluate their use and deployment strategies.  This means that vendors in this space still have to spend a great deal of time educating the enterprise marketplace on the existence and capabilities of these tools before they are able to sell potential customers on their advantages of specific products.  Over time I expect that we’ll see the adoption rates for all of these tools significantly improve.

Editor's Choice
Samuel Greengard, Contributing Reporter
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek
Carrie Pallardy, Contributing Reporter
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author
Astrid Gobardhan, Data Privacy Officer, VFS Global
Sara Peters, Editor-in-Chief, InformationWeek / Network Computing