Businesses need to open up their networks and applications to improve the return on investment of business automation by taking advantage of Web 2.0 collaboration, Gartner has advised.
The analyst firm has predicted that by 2009, six out of 10 new collaboration-related IT projects will seamlessly incorporate supplier, partner, and customer personnel, heralding a move away from the traditional, closed, inward-looking organisation to a more open, collaborative and innovative environment.
"Businesses have long understood the value of growing and supporting the business environment in which they operate," said Nikos Drakos, research director at Gartner. "Collaboration can be supported in new ways, among customers, partners and teams, and IT has a fundamental role in embedding these practices in the business."
E-mail is the most widely used tool for collaboration, but its use is so prolific that, at times, it has the opposite effect as users cannot recognise important messages from "noise", according to Gartner. Dakos believes other social software applications, such as wikis, discussion forums and blogs have the advantage of providing user-friendly and flexible ways to aggregate, organise, share and amplify the value of personal knowledge and experiences. "Improving intra-organisational and inter-organisational communications with people and groups that may not be able to physically interact is the ultimate goal and organisations need to look at new and innovative ways of making this happen," said Drakos.