Nearly one-fourth of companies surveyed by ChangeWave Research are now using Web 2.0-social networking software in some form, and another 8 percent intend to do so within the next year.
The study is the organization's first stab at tracking Web 2.0 in the enterprise, said Joshua Levine, editor of ChangeWave Investing, an advisory service from the Rockville, Maryland, firm.
"I think Web 2.0 has been simmering a lot for the last couple of years under the radar, at least in enterprises; 2008 looked as we were coming toward it that this stuff would be exploding," Levine said.
Overall, 39 percent of respondents said their firms are very or somewhat willing to use social software. In addition, among respondents whose organizations are already using such software, 35 percent said spending on it will rise in the next 90 days and just two percent said it will fall.
Twenty-six percent of companies currently using social software said they plan to invest most heavily in wikis, followed by blogs (15 percent), social networks (13 percent), mashups (5 percent), RSS feeds (5 percent) and collaborative tagging (3 percent).
However, the trends were somewhat different among future Web 2.0 users. They said their companies intended to spend the most money on social networks and blogs, which scored 22 percent and 21 percent, respectively.
While 79 percent of current Web 2.0 software users said it is being used to improve internal communication and collaboration, only 48 percent of future users said the same. Future users were more focused on external goals, such as better customer service, greater brand awareness and increased sales.
"That's something we really want to drill into next time, why that is," Levine said. The company plans to repeat the survey, possibly by as soon as midyear.
However, open-source and in-house-developed software both showed strength. Some 31 percent of respondents whose companies are using or will begin using wikis within the next year are doing so with open-source technology, and 28 percent of those using mashups developed them in-house, according to the study.
ChangeWave surveyed 2,081 people in September.