The New Reality for Customer Engagement
Technology managers may need to unclench just a bit as blogs go mainstream in the enterprise. "This is skunk works stuff, not huge top-down systems that you install and then try to convince people to use," Li says. "CIO involvement usually means a uniform platform, a managerial and organizational culture of control."
At Lucent, Angeles hopes to see blogs and wikis gain acceptance from IT and business executives. "The pitch is productivity, the sell is savings," he says. But acceptance doesn't necessarily mean companies need to manage blogs as big, CIO-level systems. "That will depend on the circumstances," he says. "If you are just replacing pages that nobody uses on the intranet, you may not have to throw a big system at it."
But blogs are being integrated into more traditional enterprise systems. "People are spending money on integrating blogging into stuff they do," says Jared Spataro, director of collaboration and knowledge management solutions for Open Text Corp., a vendor that has added weblogs to its existing product mix of collaboration and content management tools. He cites a large defense contractor that recently began using blogs in a multimillion-dollar project to help tie together businesses it has acquired.
But while Spataro says he is talking blogs with an increasing number of CIOs and other senior managers, many executives remain resistant. "We hear from users on small teams, inside big companies, who are told by IT that this can't be so good if it's so simple, and that it doesn't fit with other systems," says Jason Fried, who owns 37signals LLC, a small, Chicago-based application service provider that markets a Web-based project management tool built around a blogging system. Certainly vendors large and small are aiming at the traditional IT market. A small e-mail services and equipment seller called WhatCounts Inc. is even selling a "blog appliance" that promises CIOs a turnkey solution with familiar features like versioning and content approval.
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