The free web's threat to corporate IT

In the rush out the door this morning, I noticed another new blog being offered up by the BBC – but this time, there’s a twist. And not a good one.
Breakfast programme business presenter Declan Curry now has his own blog – but for some reason, they’ve built it at Google’s freebie Blogger service, rather than the Beeb’s Movable Type-based platform. Why would they do that?
I can’t believe the corporate platform wasn’t able to host it. I’d be more than surprised if the Breakfast guys weren’t aware of its existence. Perhaps it’s an over-eager junior member of staff not thinking ‘big picture’, or an over-eager senior member of staff demanding an instant response to an out-of-the-blue brainwave.
It’s a perfect illustration of something I was planning to mention here anyway; the inherent risk to Corporate IT Projects posed by freebie web services.
Expectations are high and getting higher. Company employees, even the most junior – in fact, especially the most junior – know what technology can do for them. They do it ‘out of hours’, running their own blogs or online groups, sharing their own photos or videos, IM’ing and VoIP’ing and all that. They ask the company IT department for the same kinds of tools – and the IT department says no. Or more likely, ‘not yet’ – which effectively means the same thing.
Are they going to be good corporate citizens, and park the idea? Maybe initially, but frustration will soon triumph. A few clicks later, and they’ve got a ‘company blog’ hosted somewhere like Blogger or It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s free. There are no barriers to entry. And with a bit of IT skill, they could make it look as good as – or indeed, better than – the ‘official’ website. Indeed the more ambitious rebels might even download MySQL and PHP, get a bit of free web space somewhere, and build some seriously rich online applications.
The genie can get out of the bottle any time he wants. It’s up to the corporate IT department to persuade him to stay in there, by giving him no reason to escape.
Update: the plot thickens, by the way. A post at says: ‘Declan Biz Blog is being moved to the much easier to remember
They’re removing Declan’s name from the URL… does this hint at the imminent removal of Declan himself? And more to the point – if they want to move the blog, wouldn’t this have been a good time to join the BBC’s corporate platform?

2 thoughts on “The free web's threat to corporate IT”

  1. On the specific point of Declan Curry’s blog, it was set up during a breakfast show about 6 months back during a piece on how easy it was to set one up.

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