Should social networking sites be banned in the workplace?
Somewhere between the Millennium Bug and Sarbannes-Oxley corporate IT stopped being an enabler, and started being a gatekeeper. We started distrusting our employees and and restricting what they could do. IT came to believe that its primary purpose was to stop staff doing ‘dumb’ stuff that could expose the organisation to risk. Of course this is part of their role, but not their primary one.
We now end up in the crazy situation where in many organisations it is easier for staff to collaborate with each other using consumer-focussed Internet sites than using internal IT systems.
The madness has to stop.
Taking advantage of social networks both internally and externally can be the ultimate competitive advantage. Too few companies are agile enough to spot potential and do something about it. The smart companies will embrace Facebook and their like. And not only that. They will coach employees on how to get the most out of these new tools – for the company’s advantage: getting to know your customers better, crowdsourcing new ideas, marketing your services, attracting new hires, or many, many more things.
Corporate IT’s role is to enable the business to be more productive, more efficient, more creative, more dynamic and more profitable whilst helping the business understand the risks and mitigate them.
And the reality is this. If corporate IT doesn’t change, the business will just go around them, and they will find their jobs sooner, rather than later, outsourced to a data centre in the cloud somewhere.