Most Enterprises Lack a 'Real-Time' Strategy
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Credit: David Needle
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- You can't ignore the real-time Web. That was one of the main messages Gartner Analyst James Lundy hammered on in a keynote address at the Collaborate 2.0 Summit Friday, sponsored by SD Forum.
Real-time services span everything from instant messaging, Twitter and online conferencing to blogs and wikis that users can update without an editorial or management filter. Lundy said a new generation of users that grew up with these consumer services expects to continue to use them in an enterprise setting regardless of corporate policy.
Lundy, managing vice president of Gartner's Social Software and Collaboration team, said less than 40 percent of enterprises have a real-time strategy, but he said it's essential all enterprises develop one. "We tell clients, 'you can't avoid this. So even if you don't have a strategy, start from recognizing that and go from there,'" he said.
Lundy pointed out that companies, particularly publicly traded and regulated ones, are concerned about real time services for one simple reason -- compliance, a requirement that companies keep track of communications related to company business.
But companies can't ignore the popularity of these services or their inevitable use, said Lundy. He recalled, for example, being in meeting with a Wall Street client who said instant messaging wasn't allowed at their firm.
"The minute those managers leave, we asked the other people in the room and they said, 'Absolutely, we still do it,' referring to instant messaging."
So if employees are going to use these tools anyway, should companies just let them? In Lundy's view, no. He said a lot of work needs to be done in developing the most effective ways to teach employees how to communicate on public Web sites and services. And he sees employee's social profile taking on added importance in the years ahead.
"When people talk about what they do, if that's capturable, taggable and part of an activity stream, there are a lot of companies that want to do something with that information and leverage it," he said. "Today it's not viewed as strategic in most enterprises, but we think it will be."
Lundy also said the growth of services in the cloud is "unlike anything we've seen in the last couple of years. It's changing Silicon Valley and that's resonating to the rest of the world. It's not an on-premises story anymore; it's a hybrid story tying portals and other content sources together."