Keep Your Scary Software Out of the Workplace!

Today is the first day of participating in an IT Consortium around collaboration. The hot topic seems to be around Enterprise 2.0. Not surprising. I am speaking tomorrow around how Intel is using social computing tools to transform collaboration. I will admit that I entered this discussion with a misperception about other company's state of maturity in "going social." An open conversation began with discussions about whether companies block access behind the firewall to any social media sites. An unbelieveable 75% said "yes" to sites like Facebook and YouTube but a bit more were receptive to LinkedIn. I asked "why"? Answer: Business groups don't want their employees to "goof off" doing non-business activity during work time. Also expressed were security and information control concerns. I followed-up with a question asking of those companies that block social sites, how many have external corporate blog sites. Zero. I think corporations are trying to control something that no longer can be controlled.

I flashed back to a great post on Go Big Always. The article captured historical reactions to disruptive software and technologies to corporations. If you answered "yes" to blocking social sites and not finding business value in social software, then this is a MUST read! It shows that sometimes reactions to change are more out of fear, than logic. We are taking it as food for thought as Intel attempts to take our investment and usage of social software to the next level. Below are the article's key takeaways (re-published):

Email has no place at work (1994)

It’s clearly used for goofing off. The last thing I want are my employees wasting my money emailing each other. What’s the use case for email at work? What’s the ROI? Who else is doing it? See industry article

Internet access has no place at work (1996)

Giving employees access to the internet would be a massive productivity problem. Not to mention there are huge security concerns. What’s the reason employees should be allowed to cybersurf? See industry article

eCommerce is too high a risk for our company (1998)

Our company can’t afford the risk associated with opening ourselves up to new, unproven channels or even hacking. There are a lot of thieves online. Why would someone buy our products on the World Wide Web? See industry article

Instant Messaging has no place at work (2002)

It’s a massive distraction. Interruptions cost billions each year. Employees shouldn’t be allowed to spend time chatting all day work. Instant messaging has massive productivity loss implications. See industry article

Social Software has no place at work (2005)

It’s clearly used for goofing off. The last thing I want are my employees wasting my money blogging or networking with each other. What’s the use case for social software at work? See industry article

If IT is truly a strategic business partner, then let's start advising our businesses that not only can we not stop scary software, but that the software may not be that scary after all.