Online Communities Help, Not Hinder, IT Work

 
 
By Deb Perelman  |  Posted 2007-07-24
 
 
 

It seems rarely a day passes that a headline doesn't decry another Web 2.0 "lesson learned," so to speak, from "Employee Fired for MySpace Profile" to "Workers Squandering Company Time on Message Boards."

Online communities are deemed negative, potential thieves of valuable company resources and time-wasters to be cautioned against.

However, it seems unfair that this equation of Online Communities = MySpace = Slacking at Work has become so entrenched in most employer's minds when increasingly professionals are using Web 2.0 technologies to help and not hinder their work.

Over 80 percent of systems management professionals report that they are able to shave hours off their work weeks by using online IT communities, finds a survey released July 24 by KACE, a provider of systems management appliances in Mountain View, Calif.

These communities were saving workers both time and money by providing a resource to help answer complex system administration questions. Of the 203 IT professionals surveyed, 100 percent said they benefited professionally from participating in online communities, arguing that systems management and application deployment has become more and more complicated, making it time-consuming to find up-to-date information.

"Online communities are quickly becoming the 'go to' source for systems management questions," said Rob Meinhardt, CEO of KACE. "Gone are the days of frustrating searches through vendor sites, discussion boards and technical publications. Systems management today needs answers quickly from a reputable, easy-to-find resource and online communities deliver these benefits to systems administrators."

The survey additionally found that 93 percent of the survey respondents claimed that they do their jobs more efficiently and save time by using IT communities to solve system administration problems. Ninety-four percent indicated they had to visit more than one source of information for each problem they solved.

Eighty-two percent saved at least one hour a week by using the information found in online communities. Over one-third of the respondents saved three or more hours weekly.

"IT departments have embraced online communities to deal with the time-consuming application deployment issues that plague them everyday," said Diane Hagglund of King Research, which did the market research in the survey.

"These communities clearly serve as an important resource to answer questions, share experiences and communicate with peers who also wear many IT hats. Systems management professionals and the organizations they work for are seeing huge benefits from online communities both in the time saved for the individual or team and therefore money saved for their organizations, with potential for even greater benefits as new functionality is delivered to users," Hagglund said.

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