Blogger: Larry Cannell
Two weeks ago, just before I took the week of Thanksgiving off, Greg Lloyd of Traction Software published a blog post that describes a vision for Enterprise 2.0 that is close to my own view.
First off, I really like how Lloyd re-connects Enterprise 2.0 with the “ubiquitous web” (which I interpret to be a less buzz-worthy name for “Web 2.0”). In addition, he notes that the differences between the two are rooted in the “shared purpose” of people working together in enterprises (emphasis added by me):
The scale shift that ubiquitous Web tech enables as well as bottom up participation in E2.0 initiatives are both necessary - but neither are sufficient to distinguish "Enterprise 2.0" from the Web we see and use every day outside work. I believe the difference lies in the shared purpose which drives people to create or join an enterprise and work together over time, along with the need to manage use of scarce resources to a shared end.
In saying "2.0 modifies how the Enterprise works, not the technology," I take the rhetorical position that the technology which underlies E2.0 - specifically the ubiquitous Web as a platform - is a necessary enabler which provides the first chance to practically apply many of the principals of open work, distributed work and effective collaboration over time that Drucker and Engelbart have advocated for the past fifty years.
I particularly like how Lloyd brings “work” into the Enterprise 2.0 discussion. In most conversations about Enterprise 2.0, “work” is (at best) mentioned in passing and rarely gets the attention it deserves.
Later in the post, Lloyd addresses how organizations can “intentionally use it [Enterprise 2.0] to improve their own ability to get work done.” Bingo! To me, this is the major difference between opportunities enabled by Web and Enterprise 2.0.
A work-based perspective is also one that is understandable to both line of business organizations and IT since it is not simply rooted in technology, nor is it caught up in the nuances of social networks, emergent collaboration, or necessary organizational changes (which, no doubt, can all play a role in improving how work is done).
This Enterprise 2.0 perspective is about bringing to bear the resources a company has to help people make the best decisions and improving the quality of their collective work. This is language even a pragmatic business manager can understand.
But I also believe that the most likely path to large scale adoption and use of this enabling technology will come from small to mid size groups within an organization who intentionally use it to improve their own ability to get work done - rather than in direct pursuit of emergent benefits. They can (and by mandate should) open the direct and indirect record of their work to others who then may become better aware of what their enterprise plans to do, is doing or has done - and who knows what.
At future Enterprise 2.0 Conferences I would like to see more coverage of this work-based perspective. In addition to bringing a broader audience to the discussion (from both the business and IT), it also provides an opportunity to discuss other aspects of IT and the “ubiquitous web,” beyond social tools, that are equally important but have mostly been left out of the E2.0 discussions. In particular, I am interested in exploring how corporate “data” (bill of materials, sales, supply chain information, other application data, as well as social content such as discussions, profiles, and so forth) can be leveraged to improve how work is collectively done.
By the way, this “working better” perspective is the basis of the Burton Group Online Workplace Framework. If you haven’t done so already, I invite you to take a look at it.