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'Critical' social media banned in enterprise: Report

Australian IT managers are struggling to deal with social media in the enterprise, with more blocking Web 2.0 sites despite their status as being "critical" to company development, a new report has found.

Released this week, the Clearswift 2011 WorkLifeWeb report found 48 per cent of Australian organisations viewed Web collaboration as being crucial to their business, with 30 per cent having said they increased investment in social media in the past 12 months.

The report surveyed 1529 employees and 906 managers from organisations in Australia, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, UK and US.

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Clearswift's regional director, Phil Vasic, said the results should ring alarm bells for IT managers.

"Alarm bells come from the employers who appear to have regressed, despite their investment in social media technologies and supporting technologies, and recognition that the social Web benefits their organisation," he said.

"They need to applaud their employees and see that a 'stop and block' approach will only hold their organisation back online and reduce their ability to win employee trust."

Despite more Australians using social media for work purposes, one third of Australian employers surveyed said they banned access to social media in the enterprise.

The report also found security concerns prevented adoption of technology in the enterprise, with 89 of those surveyed having said that was the case.

"Clearswift's 2010 WorkLifeWeb research showed that Australian organisations were taking a somewhat chaotic approach to social media, and there was a blurring of the work/life boundaries for employees," he said.

"12 months on, it's a positive story for employees who are starting to work smarter, take advantage of collaborative technologies and act responsibly, while being aware of the pitfalls."

Compared to last year, Australian employees have become more aware of their social media presence, with the number of employees unwilling to discuss work-related matters over a social networking site jumping from 50 per cent to 72 per cent.

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