I just read this interesting post in TechCrunch, which suggests that an expected downturn in corporate IT spending in the U.S. is good news for the Web 2.0 trend, since the Web is full of free or low-cost alternatives to the expensive hardware and software sold by the industry leaders. Beyond the interesting good news/bad news duality of this story, it brings to light the schitzophrenic reaction of IT departments to Web 2.0 technology. In fairness, I totally understand why they are often defensive and even incredulous in the face of this trend – one could argue it threatens their very existence. If I can download a free corporate blog platform from the web, get tips and help through blogs and chat rooms, and even host the program externally using Google or Amazon servers, why do I need my IT department? Software, servers, applications, information and trouble-shooting tips…all these can be found on the Web at little or no cost. Furthermore, many IT departments have a troubling habit of promoting rules and products that are good for them, but not necessarily their internal clients or external customers. (Don’t even get me started on antiquated firewall or bandwidth rules that prevent employees from properly doing their jobs.) Smart CIOs  and IT teams will address these criticisms and help their companies navigate the shoals of the Web 2.o environment. Their expertise, support and counsel are critical to the long-term success of any corporate social media strategy. Otherwise, many marketing and PR professionals will simply work around the hurdles, and that’s usually not the best option.

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