A new report about Enterprise adoption of Web 2.0 technologies, by Awareness, Inc., shows that employers are increasingly allowing staff to use social media applications in working hours. Awareness puts the figure at 69 percent of businesses in 2008, up from 37 percent last year.

It’s the latest in a string of reports this year – from Awareness, Forrester and others – which provide data about the growth of web 2.0 in the enterprise. It’ll be a $4.6 Billion industry by 2013, according to Forrester. More of Awareness’ findings below…

Despite the positive stats, Awareness sounds a note of caution: some employers still have concerns about social media. The report notes that “employers who do not allow
employees to use social media sites at work cite fears including loss of productivity (65.7 percent), lack of security (45.7 percent) and the fear of having inappropriate content posted (42.9 percent).” However, Awareness says that “these views are fading.” Although not enough to stop some businesses from monitoring social media use “with strong manual and automatic moderation tools.” 28% of businesses monitor usage in this way.

Other findings from Awareness:

  • Employers are finding the benefits of using social media: 63 percent are using social media to build and promote their brand, 61 percent are using it to improve communication and collaboration, and 58 percent are using it to increase consumer engagement;
  • 75 percent of employees are already using social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn for business purposes, up 15 percent from 2007;
  • Use of internal-facing communities is on the rise with 6 percent of organizations already reporting they deployed internal-facing communities, while 33 percent indicate their organization plans to implement internal-facing social media initiatives;
  • Similarly, external-facing communities are increasing: 27 percent of respondents said their companies were planning to deploy external-facing communities while only 13 percent indicated their organizations already have external-facing communities;
  • Online communities directed at specific interests and groups of people allow for more targeted marketing techniques and better results so for this reason 37 percent of organizations have specific areas of focus for their communities.

Finally, it’s interesting to note that enterprises see video as the number 1 web 2.0 tool. Google will be pleased to see that, given the recent release of Google Video for Businesses.