Catching up with feeds reading over the weekend, I came across this post in Dennis McDonald’s blog: Howlett Makes Some Good Points About Enterprise Web 2.0 Adoption. This contains additional commentary to an article by Dennis Howlett: The poverty of enterprise 2.0 and social media. While Howlett’s post provides lots of food for thought on the sociological and organisational side, McDonald focusses on the involvement of IT departments in any social media strategy in a corporate environment.

McDonald points out his conclusion that:

… the corporate IT department needs to be involved in technology related social technology initiatives, but it can’t necessarily lead the charge. There are two factors at work here.

The first is that social technology initiatives frequently involve more time, energy, and cost associated with process change than they do with technology itself. (…)

The second factor is that corporate IT is well situated to understand the security and support implications of initiatives involving technology, even when such initiatives involve remotely hosted applications that, initially at least, don’t require heavy duty integration with corporate systems and data stores.

McDonald also notices that IT staff has more experience in project management than the units where the initiatives may originate from. This may inform the perception that IT staff stands in the way of social technology initiatives when what they’re really concerned with is managing a successful project.

This rang a bell in the context of future initiatives we’d like to take to broaden the toolset of our CGXchange project, in order to support knowledge sharing within the CGIAR and between the CGIAR and its partners.

In particular, it brings out the need to balance experimentation and adoption. Even if we aim for pure experimentation and exploration of new tools and their uses in our work, It seems necessary to keep IT staff involved in the discussion right from the start, to provide validation of some key security- and network/bandwidth-related requirements.

What do you think?