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CIO Jury: Corporate blogs more than a fad

But approach them with caution, say IT chiefs

Corporate blogs can be a useful communication and collaboration tool but businesses need to approach them with caution, say leading CIOs.

With companies increasingly using blogging to communicate both internally to staff and externally to clients and customers, 10 of silicon.com's 12-strong CIO Jury IT user panel said corporate blogs are more than just another technology fad that has found favour among senior managers.

Christopher Linfoot, IT director at LDV Vans, said: "Like all new technologies corporate blogs are often misapplied but there are valid applications, usually employee communication and not external. We do have a couple in use here in the former category."

But corporate blogging also throws up issues of how censored or moderated the content is. Rob Wharton, CIO at Colt Telecoms, said: "Blogs are popular because they tend to represent personal opinions and personality rather than corporate messages. Therefore we need to take a great deal of care to ensure appropriate use so we don't devalue the blog concept, whilst avoiding mayhem in what essentially needs to be a controlled message."

Russell Altendorff, IT director at the London Business School, said his organisation uses an MBA blog to improve conversion rates for applicants to students.

He said: "The real dilemma that we faced, as do all corporate blogs, is the issue of censorship, moderation, PR and the shades of grey between these three states. We have public (uncensored) content, moderated content and 'seeded' content from alumni and our PR and marketing people - it's a balancing act. The objective is to create a 'trusted' source of 'objective' information about our product."

Matthew McGrory, head of IT at Fulham Football Club, said blogging can also be a useful collaboration tool.

He said: "It can be a much needed project management tool for complex projects that involve suppliers and their contractors. Recent negative experience could have been curtailed with a blogging system. Etiquette and company work ethics have to support it though."

But not everyone is convinced by the blogging hype. Nic Evans, European IT director at Key Equipment Finance, said: "Personally I think corporate blogs are at best just a 'jeans day' version of more formal communications and at worst more benefit for the ego of the blogger than their potential audience."

Today's CIO Jury was...

Russell Altendorff, IT director, London Business School
Alastair Behenna, CIO, Harvey Nash
Paul Broome, IT director, 192.com
Graham Benson, IT director, The Web Factory (Play.com)
Nic Evans, European IT director, Key Equipment Finance
Kevin Fitzpatrick, CTO, Manpower
John Keeling, director of computer services, John Lewis Partnership
Christopher Linfoot, IT director, LDV Vans
Matthew McGrory, head of IT, Fulham Football Club
John Odell, group IT director, BBA Group
David Supple, director of IT and creative services, Ecotec
Rob Wharton, CIO, Colt Telecoms

If you are a CIO, IT director or equivalent at a large or small company in the private or public sector and you want to be part of silicon.com's CIO Jury pool, or you know an IT chief who should be, then drop us a line at editorial@silicon.com

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