Is Enterprise 2.0 a vision, discipline or a toolbox? Or maybe the real question is: does it have to be either/or?
In this post I will boldly go where no man has gone before (well, maybe not entirely true) and argue that Enterprise 2.0 is all of those things at once – which also explains why it is a powerful and attractive concept.
Enterprise 2.0 as a vision
Maybe more than anything, Enterprise 2.0 has become a vision of the future of business. The various definitions popping up every now and then in colorful variations all share the vision of an extended enterprise where organizations collaborate closely with their partners, customers and even consumers and the public in an open, transparent and respectful manner. The engine in this extended enterprise is an engaged workforce consisting of creative, empowered, social and self-disciplined knowledge workers who work in a work environment where every contribution counts and where their curiosity and willingness to learn (and unlearn) is the fuel that drives the extended enterprise forward at an increasing speed.
In a way, Enterprise 2.0 answers to all the rhetoric questions that we ask ourselves and each other after having experienced and observed the development of the social web. Why can't collaboration be as easy as on the web? Why can't we get to know people from other parts of our organization when we can find, connect? Why can’t it be as easy to find information in our internal systems as on the web which of overwhelming and seemingly unstructured information? Why can’t we share and aggregate our collective knowledge in one body of knowledge that we maintain together?
Enterprise 2.0 as a discipline
More and more people have come to see and describe themselves as Enterprise 2.0 practitioners, me included, and there's a growing online community on Twitter and elsewhere that proves that. Enterprise 2.0 is a magnet that attracts smart, passionate and curious people from various (more established) disciplines such as ECM, Collaboration, KM, CRM, Web development, Marketing, Communications and so forth. It’s perfectly rational. It's on the edges – not the core – of these disciplines where the interesting things happen. Enterprise 2.0 is the very intersection of a multitude of disciplines and where exciting new things happen. No wonder why curious people looking for exciting new thinking are attracted to it. For me, with a background in such various disciplines such as KM, ECM, Collaboration and Web development, Enterprise 2.0 really feels like coming home. When my colleague Henrik
recommended my current employer, Acando
, to hire me, he described me as a “renaissance person”. I hadn't thought of myself that way, but it seemed to explain why I'm attracted to new thinking and change. Enterprise 2.0 holds a lot of those ingredients. I think of Enterprise 2.0 as a cultural movement that attracts thinkers from various disciplines in a similar way as the Renaissance once did (I’m probably going to get some reactions on this rather "big" statement).
As practitioners, we just don’t settle with thinking. We think to be able to act. We want to make change. We want to make the vision become real. Individually and collectively we develop methodologies, tools, solutions and whatever is needed to help our own organizations or other organizations to achieve this vision, step-by-step. For each step we take, we redefine the vision and find new paths that might lead us there as some proved to be unsuccessful. We share our experiences as practitioners with each other in the true open, transparent and friendly spirit of the social web, be it online or in real life – with events as the currently ongoing Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston
as highlights (which I am sad I could not attend) but that one also can follow online via blogs (V Mary Abraham provides excellent summaries from the sessions she attends
) and Twitter
Enterprise 2.0 as a toolbox
Enterprise 2.0 also stands for a number of principles, practices, mechanisms and technologies can be used in various ways to improve business performance. By learning how to handle these tools, we can use them to improve specific use cases, fix problems and create opportunities. As practitioners, understanding and mastering the tools is essential. For example, we need to master mechanisms such as links, filters, signals, extensions and syndication to build solutions that help organizations harness network effects, build collective intelligence, allow tacit knowledge to be captured and flow to anyone who might need it, and so on. We can use these tools from anything to improve tasks and fix broken processes to accelerate the transformation of an entire business or industries.
"The largest enemy of change and leadership isn't a 'no'. It's a 'not yet'. 'Not yet' is the safest, easiest way to forestall change. 'Not yet' gives the status quo a chance to regroup and put off the inevitable for just a little while longer. Change almost never fails because it's too early. It almost always fails because it's too late."
- From "Tribes - We need you to lead us” by Seth Godin
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This post and comment(s) reflect the personal perspectives of community members, and not necessarily those of their employers or of AIIM International