Regional companies hesitant to embrace Web 2.0

IBM software business manager calls for a cultural change to dispel myths

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By  Vineetha Menon Published  October 2, 2008

According to Bashar Kilani, manager of software business at IBM Middle East, companies in the Middle East need a cultural change in order to embrace Web 2.0 and use social networking tools to enhance business productivity.

Web 2.0 has become a reflection of today’s society with MySpace and Facebook becoming household names. Recently, it was revealed that the UAE is the second most socially-networked country in the world; however, enterprises are yet to embrace the trend competitively.

Kilani believes that the challenges don’t just stem from a technical point of view, but are also culturally related - “From an end user perspective, we constantly look for more efficient ways to work and more efficient tools to facilitate this, however there is often a reluctance to change the way we actually work.”

“IT managers are hesitant about giving up control of information and access to data; being skeptical of the way employees will use the information, and the way they will use the common tools that are available to them in the web 2.0 era such as blogs and instant messaging (IM) applications,” Kilani said.

The myth that most employers hold on to is that web 2.0 tools focus only on socializing but Kilani adds that “there are whole host of applications that enable the tapping of hidden resources in an organization, increasing the productivity of people that use them through sharing of information and collaboration.

“There is a need for employers and employees to take the time to understand the opportunities that web 2.0 tools present…but first a cultural change is needed,” Kilani concluded.

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