Enterprise 2.0 – Enabling change or part of the problem?

This is my slide deck and script for the The 6th Annual Enterprise Architecture Conference in Sydney on 3 September 2008.

We all know the world of business is experiencing massive change. The nature of how we do business itself is undergoing a groundswell that redefines work for the early part of the 21st Century.

We can no longer push messages to a passive consumer base, or an equally passive workforce. Customers, stakeholders, consumers, clients and particularly our employees expect, quite rightly, to have a hand in the way your organisation operates. We need to be aware of that, and of the growing power of each of those groups as consumer activism and personal branding become significant considerations in our interactions with them.

The need for collaboration throughout our organisations and effective management of knowledge workers is a driving force for change and innovation. As is the need to attract, engage in meaningful work and retain over time a skilled (and skilled in the right things) workforce.

Continuing to operate by Taylor’s outmoded rules – where the employee is a simple and uninformed cog in the machine – is setting ourselves up for failure and a spectacular and messy crash as we rush headlong into what looks like the light but is actually the onrushing train of progress.

We are at a tipping point. One where we have just two choices; business as usual and the accompanying inevitable crash, or a reboot.

That reboot will change our businesses dramatically.

That change will bring about organisations where empowerment, sharing and open communication are watchwords for this new world. Where walls, gates, silos and unnecessary control are collapsed in favor of a more human place that envisages our businesses as exciting, collaborative, engaging places to be.

Let’s begin at the beginning.

There’s a lot of fear, uncertainty and doubt about what Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 actually mean. So let’s clarify those meanings. Without them, we don’t really have a topic to talk about.

Take the red pill, Neo.

Sorry, but no. Adoption of Enterprise 2.0 processes and tools in your organisation is no panacea for the problems you may be facing. And it won’t bring about an epiphany in your business tomorrow. Embarking on this path is fraught with risk. Doing this right involves a potentially huge amount of organisational change.

That change will inevitably touch almost every part of your business – HR, Marketing, Sales, Comms, Finance, Production, IT and the C-suites on the top floor. You can’t do something that profound without a robust and thorough strategy and implementation plan in place.

Not only that, adopting Enterprise 2.0 approaches in your organisation is a problem that affects management and people strategy, technology strategy and almost everything else you do. That said, while you should be careful in your Enterprise 2.0 adventure, it’s no cause for panic. The sky is very definitely not falling.

The naysayers, of course, will have you believe that it’s the end of civilisation itself. Dogs and cats living together in harmony stuff.

Not true.

Yes, adopting Enterprise 2.0 tools and techniques will bring about some major changes – culturally, organisationally and technically – in your business. But appropriately well thought out strategy and equally careful implementation will make it very, very doable.

Let’s get down to some definitions.

Cue heavenly host. In the beginning…

We’ve all heard of Web 2.0. Some of us even think we know how to define it. Anyone want to have a go at a definitive answer? If you do, you’re braver than me, and I deal with this stuff every day.

To avoid argument, let’s look at what is considered one of the most definitive explanations of Web 2.0 – the one laid out by publisher and analyst Tim O’Reilly way back in October 2005 in his article What Is Web 2.0? We’ll stipulate this to be our definition today.

Tim’s first assertion is that for Web 2.0 applications, the Web is the platform. What this means is that we’re no longer in client-server land.

But it’s more powerful that that. By using the Web as the deployment platform, as the carrier for the signals the applications generate, you can, as Tim O’Reilly says, “Leverage customer-self service and algorithmic data management to reach out to the entire web, to the edges and not just the center, to the long tail and not just the head.”

This is an incredibly big assertion, and it carries an equally big, and perhaps more powerful effect. By using the Web as delivery platform – whether the World Wide Web, or just the internal web provided by your corporate network, you expose opportunities and information to a far richer ecosystem; one where users are self-organising and self empowering, one where your ideas, and the ideas of others, and the knowledge you collectively generate are available to the very edges of the network.

This approach is something we’re seeing more and more.

I use applications on the Web every day for a multitude of things – my email is hosted on Google Apps, as is my calendar. I host photos with Flickr. I manage my travel with TripAdvisor, TripIt and Dopplr all working together harmoniously. I do project management with BaseCamp. I keep all my conference presentations at Slideshare. I host videos of my conference talks on my own YouTube channel. I keep up with events on Upcoming and Facebook. I don’t bother keeping a CV or Rolodex anymore – LinkedIn and HighRise do a much better job of both those tasks than I ever did. And to keep in touch with my network – professional and personal – I use Facebook and Twitter.

Few of these tools even existed five years ago. And none of them in their present form.

The second of Tim O’Reilly’s Web 2.0 factors is the notion of the harnessing of collective intelligence.

It’s a core premise of Web 2.0 applications that there is an exponential increase in the value of both the network of contributor-users and the information in the network as new information and users are added.
As O’Reilly puts it, “Network effects from user contributions are the key to market dominance in the Web 2.0 era.”

The third of O’Reilly’s factors is data as the DNA of the application. Without good data, no application, Web 2.0 or otherwise, is of much value. Garbage in definitely equals garbage out. But quality data in is a very different beast indeed when leveraged well by the network of users.

Flexibility of data, too, is a core aspect of this competency. Data needs to be freed for consumption via APIs so that it can be mashed up and repurposed by other applications and the multitude of end users.
As O’Reilly says, “Database management is a core competency of Web 2.0 companies… [but often] allow users to take control of how data is displayed on their computer.”

Monolithic projects with two-year lifecycles are dead. The groundswell emerges, matures and evolves so quickly that an agile (not necessarily in the development methodology sense) and innovative approach to understanding the marketplace and the needs of business is a prerequisite to building and developing applications in a 2.0 world. Applications need to be launched with core functionality quickly and evolved and matured just as quickly. All the time taking into consideration the needs of the user base as a key factor.

Failure to consider users and their explicit needs is guarantee of failure and is a frequently identified key factor in those IT projects that in Australia and around the world, fail as much as 70 per cent of the time. How many bad implementations of grand scale enterprise applications have you seen? I’ve seen plenty. My friend and Bostonian, Michael Krigsman of Asuret actually runs a blog at ZDNet dedicated to exposure and analysis of such failures.

To quote O’Reilly once more, “Operations must become a core competency… Users must be treated as co-developers.”

O’Reilly touches again on the models for Web 2.0 success, big-bang projects are once again having the death knell sounded upon them. He says, “Support lightweight programming models that allow for loosely coupled systems… Think syndication, not coordination… Design for “hackability” and remixability.”

Business practices, release cycles, programming approaches, platform choices all must undergo significant change in order to achieve success. An approach that abandons slow, management-heavy practices needs to be substituted with more lightweight approaches that allow for flexibility, frequent change and release, breadth and depth of stakeholder input and light-touch management where development and business teams are allowed to get on with the job.

The notion of a single choice of platform, or even a single browser for web application delivery was always a bad idea. Today, it’s suicide.

In Africa and Asia, and increasingly in the West, mobile devices are the go-to platform for consumption of applications. Failing to account for multi-platform, multi-device, multi-browser delivery of your application is at best, unwise, at worst, a guarantee of failure.

It’s not unreasonable to assume that your application could be consumed by an iPhone user, or on a Blackberry, an Eee PC, a TiVo, a PlayStation 3, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, or even machine-to-machine using RSS or some other form of syndication. Equally, those same platforms could be providing data back to your applications. Are you ready for that? You should be.

Another quote, then, from Tim O’Reilly, “What applications become possible when our phones and our cars are not consuming data but reporting it? Real time traffic monitoring, flash mobs, and citizen journalism are only a few of the early warning signs of the capabilities of the new platform.”

Tim O’Reilly’s final factor for Web 2.0 applications is one of aesthetics and good user experience. I can’t think of the number of times I’ve been forced to use an awful interface or workflow because the user experience and actual user needs weren’t a core consideration of the development process.

No wonder your projects fail when they are deployed and nobody uses them because they are, frankly, unusable. Did you actually ask the users what they wanted or needed? Did you actually articulate their problems and solve them in the application? Or did you bypass that because “the users will do what they’re told” or you ran out of time to hire a decent information architect and usability expert.

Sorry, but the days of passive users that will accept the crap shovelled at them in the name of enterprise applications is over. The sooner that’s realised in many organisations, the better.

Tim’s last quote on the matter; “Companies that succeed will create applications that learn from their users, using an architecture of participation to build a commanding advantage not just in the software interface, but in the richness of the shared data.”

In fact, let’s look at a quick video of Tim from last year, where he gives us a pretty nice, clean definition that touches on some of the material we’re going to cover shortly.

Network effects. Users add value. Don’t forget that.

What all of these applications do is focus on people over process. They bring people together in a community. They empower them to communicate and collaborate in new and engaging ways.

Most simply, they break people out of the Industrial Age factory paradigm we’re all used to working in – heads down and backside up, slaving away over a hot keyboard – and let them work in a more human way.
There are a multitude of measurable benefits to working this way – a higher inclination to innovation, higher engagement and motivation of the people involved, increased ability to capture data and apply meaning to it as knowledge, greater discoverability of expertise and information. There are already several case studies showing these benefits and others.

Alongside the increased human way of working, O’Reilly talks a great deal about network effects. So what’s he on about? A network effect describes the increase in value in a system the more users join in on it. As every new user joins, there’s an exponential increase in the value of the network for both the new user and the existing user base.

So, with network effects applied, the whole is very much greater than the sum. The ability for any one user to reach out to the vast pool of knowledge and information in the system is dramatically amplified with every new user.

There are good mathematical and observational models to prove this. Perhaps the most important is David P Reed’s 2001 observation in Harvard Business Review on the increase in utility, particularly in social networks, when the number of two, three and larger groups are extrapolated out of a larger network.

“The value of a group-forming network increases exponentially… its implications are profound.”

David P Reed

Reed argues convincingly that eventually the network effect of potential group membership can dominate the overall economics of the system, regardless of the smallness of the network. This has big implications for the implementation of social technologies in business where knowledge networks are core to successful operation.

So now that we’ve had a short primer on Web 2.0, we can jump out of the apparent chaos and into the order that must come in the world of business. Web 2.0 is not Enterprise 2.0, but they are siblings. It’s like one having ADHD, and the other being meticulous and orderly (but in a good way).

Arguably, the first mention of Enterprise 2.0 as a coherent set of tools and technologies was by Harvard Business School’s, Professor Andrew McAfee in the Spring 2006 issue of the MIT Sloan Management Review; one of the world’s leading management best practice publications. Andrew is a world-recognised expert on management best practice and the enterprise use of social technologies to boost innovation, implement leadership best practice and build new-world collaborative businesses. Since the Sloan article, Andrew has continued to set the standard for analysis and thought leadership in enterprise social tool analysis.

So, what is Enterprise 2.0? What are the tools, processes, cultural factors and practices that make up this potentially revolutionary change for business in the 21st Century?

Let’s look first at how this all applies to business. How are the tools used? Where? By whom? And what results might we see?

Enterprise 2.0 implementations use the tools of Web 2.0 in a business-appropriate context. Wikis, blogs, social networks, and other Web 2.0 applications are used inside the wall, amongst employees, to enable low-barrier collaboration across the enterprise.

A number of research projects, including most recently the McKinsey Global Survey, Building the Web 2.0 Enterprise, published in July 2008, have found an increasing use of both tools and the type of tools, the willingness to adopt across all parts of business, the range of activities being undertaken using the tools and the range of beneficial effects on business, management and leadership practices the tools are facilitating.

Enterprise 2.0, like its sibling Web 2.0, brings a more human focus to collaboration and knowledge management. The open, barrier-reducing leadership practices required for success are also strongly centered on people rather than traditional command-and-control management.

The McKinsey Global Survey also identifies a number of business and cultural changes of benefit that Enterprise 2.0 programs can bring including customer and supplier communications, recruitment, engagement and retention strategy and practice, the introduction of new roles focussed on supporting, enabling and evangelising programs and flattening of organisational hierarchies to the end of improving intra-organisational communications and collaboration.

Visibility to activity across business – effectively, removal of siloed activity – is a key factor in Enterprise 2.0 implementations. Resulting in increased discoverability of both expertise and information, visible, in-context activity streams for individuals and projects have a measurable effect on improving corporate and individual communications, increasing employee engagement and breaking down departmental walls.
With all of this activity going on, realising real benefits takes only a short time.

Several research projects as well as real-world successes have found Enterprise 2.0 projects can boost an organisation’s ability to collect and retain information. And, in particular, to contextualise that information into knowledge and to facilitate the gathering of knowledge that had previously remained tacit, stuck in people’s heads until just the right questions were asked.

Training is a virtual non-issue. Most people can become comfortably adept at using these tools with less than a hour of training. There’s actually an ongoing case study in Canada with 5th Graders. They are taught to use a wiki, as a tool for a group project involving writing, video, audio and other multimedia in less than 30 minutes of training.

Are you and your staff smarter than a 5th Grader?

The human-centric approach to using Enterprise 2.0 tools allows patterns of work and processes to be emergent, introducing efficiencies that aren’t otherwise realised in a workplace where “the way we do things” is predefined and laid down.

On of the greatest impediments to productivity, innovation and program success in organisations of all types is lack of visibility to activity by the entire business. Whether it’s the result of a deliberate culture of secrecy and siloing to protect some theoretical patch, or simply a lack of communication through inaction or undeveloped skills and activity makes no difference.

The implementation of Enterprise 2.0 programs, adopting both the cultural and technical components, brings forth an opportunity to radically rethink notions of openness and visibility for work. The accompanying spread to the edges effect of openness also gives activity the opportunity to receive input from otherwise uninvolved parts of the organisation.

With open exposure of activity in programs and projects, the likelihood of duplicated effort – a huge source of wasted dollars in many businesses – is reduced. In fact, projects approaching similar problems are given the opportunity to collaborate and join far more easily.

With all of this exposure, input, innovation and reduction of waste, the opportunity to see real ROI on Enterprise 2.0 projects can be realised. It’s not immediate, but it is measurable over useful timelines.

Also, this pattern of working and the tools allow people to be more productive generally, as they work in a more natural style and, when done right, are able to be more engaged in their work. There is a significant and growing pool of research and case study evidence pointing to productivity gains through well-implemented Enterprise 2.0 programs.

So what are the components of the Enterprise 2.0 world?

Andrew McAfee’s original article came up with this mnemonic – SLATES. Let’s take a quick look at each of the components.

Here’s a quick quote from Andrew’s article. Just something to chew on.

“These [tools] are part of a platform that’s readable by anyone in the company, and they’re persistent. They make an episode of knowledge work widely and permanently visible.”

Andrew McAfee

The first core component of Enterprise 2.0 is Search. Enterprise search is a frequent bugbear in organisations. No doubt many of you will have heard cries of, “I can’t find anything on the intranet.” Good Enterprise 2.0 tools facilitate discoverability of information.

Linking. We all know the hyperlink is the heart of the World Wide Web. The same goes for your internal tools. Everything should link together so that related projects, tools, topics, people, business units or whatever are discoverable in the context of everyday activity.

Authorship. Identifying the source of a piece of information or knowledge is key. How else do you know who and where to turn to when you need the next piece of the puzzle? No more anonymous white papers. Authorship also grants ownership for the creation of material to individuals, providing self-actualising factors that aid in their establishing themselves as organisation resources on their subject matter.

Tags. Many of us have probably seen tools like del.icio.us, Ma.gnolia and StumbleUpon in the outside world. They allow end users to apply their own meaning to information, over and above the more considered corporate taxonomies we work with. Tagging has been found, in at least one study, to offer in excess of 70 per cent greater discoverability for information. Imagine people in your organisation finding things easily because they were tagged with words and phrases meaningful to them and the other people they work with.

Extensions. We’re talking here about the ability of smart systems and smart users to surface up the long tail of content through features such as reputation systems and “other material like this” or “people like you” algorithms. Extension of the threads out to other sources increases the likelihood of discoverability of your information.

Signals. We’re all overwhelmed by the sheer volume of content available to us, and sifting through it can be a task so onerous as to discourage action. Enterprise 2.0 implementations adopt inbound signaling as a way of alerting users to new and changed material that has been identified explicitly as of relevance to them. Use of email is the most basic form, but is inefficient and far less powerful than technologies like RSS.

We can see by combining the forces of Enterprise 2.0, we can build an ecosystem where users are connected to information and each other, can find it easily and are made aware of change.

Of course, Andrew McAfee’s definition is now three years old. That’s an age in Internet Time.

Just less than a year ago, Dion Hinchcliffe, one of the world’s leading EA and Enterprise 2.0 minds rethought SLATES and came up with FLATNESSES. More than a little humorous, it also calls to mind the flattening of organisations that takes place in successful Enterprise 2.0 implementations. But what does it mean?

Here’s a quote from the article Dion wrote to publicise his mnemonic.


Again we hear the network called forth as the predominant platform for distribution. And it’s the network in all it’s forms – infrastructure, services and people.

Let’s look at FLATNESSES.

Freeform. Open, emergent, linked and evolving as needed.

Links. We know about those.

Authorship. Again, we know.

Tags. We know.

Network-oriented. In all of the hardware, software and wetware.

Extensions. Again, we know.

Search. We know. And I think we all agree it’s fundamental.

Social. We’ve talked extensively about bringing human-centric views into our work. Successful Enterprise 2.0 implementations pay special attention to ensuring people are able to have a conversation, collaborate on work and build a community around it.

Emergence. Best practices, knowledge, innovation and all the other factors needed to build a successful 21st Century, knowledge-centric, people-centric organisation are facilitated in Enterprise 2.0 programs. They are allowed to emerge and evolve.

Signals. We know about those.

We’ve seen that successful programs implementing Enterprise 2.0 tools can give us a radically shifted workplace where we get better, richer outcomes. But what outcomes?

The systems, the tools, push new material to users. The need to go looking is reduced.

Just as easily, users are empowered to pull data to themselves through RSS or other notification systems.

Flow, in the psychological sense is potentially increased, as employees suffer fewer distractions and interruptions, leading to higher productivity and higher engagement.

How do we make it happen? Let’s look very briefly at some of the key findings from the McKinsey Global Survey mentioned earlier.

The survey found that businesses that focussed tool choices around real, well-described user needs rather than reliance on a vendor or perceived need that didn’t address real user requirements had measurably greater success with their Enterprise 2.0 programs.

To quote the survey, these organisations realised “increased productivity and enablement of tacit interactions on a previously unknown scale.” That’s compelling stuff.

The same survey found that businesses seeing success were also enagaging customers and suppliers in their product development. This led to better-realised products and offerings. They drew feedback from outside the organisation that the business was paying attention to customer and supplier needs, driving return business and new business by referral as well as a number of other benefits around cost-savings and client and supplier interactions.

The best knowledge or innovative ideas about something may not always reside in the product team, or marketing, or R&D. Successful Enterprise 2.0 implementations, again according to the McKinsey Global Survey, tapped into a rich ecosystem of ideas and input, both within the wall and from customers.

The final key finding to look at is a transformational change the businesses seeing success in their Enterprise 2.0 programs are realising.

These companies are not only rapidly adopting additional Enterprise 2.0 technologies over and above their original efforts, but they are using them to aid in organisational and management change – flattening structures, opening lines of communication and breaking down barriers.

We’ve seen the changes that successful Enterprise 2.0 programs can bring. But none of this is new. How many of us have read, or know of “The Cluetrain Manifesto”? Next year, Cluetrain will be 10 years old.

That’s right. 10 years ago we were all made aware of how changing our businesses to operate this way would bring more customers who were more satisfied with what we are doing, would attract more of the right staff who would be more motivated and engaged in their work and would transform management and leadership practice.

So what’s our problem? Why aren’t we all doing this? Why are so many of our businesses still 9-5 (or later) sausage factories where we work head-down backside-up in a state of blissful, decontextualised ignorance? Why is it that century-old practices devised to operate factories rather than innovative, knowledge-centric businesses still predominate?

Your business and every other business you work with, have a stake in, or are a customer of, actually needs to operate focussed on people and the conversations they have.

Technology is not the answer to our problems, it’s a toolset to be utilised.

As technology implementers and leaders in your organisations, it’s up to you to provide the right tools at the right time in the right context to make the jobs of the people you work with easier and more productive.
So let’s take a brief look at the core pieces of the Enterprise 2.0 toolkit.

Wikis are often seen as the big bang product. A place where everyone in the organisation can get involved as much or as little as they see fit. There are several case studies in Australia and overseas where successful wiki implementations have replaced an otherwise unused and unusable corporate intranet and, in a very exciting new case, the Australian Navy have just implemented a brand new public website using MediaWiki; the same free, Open Source, extensible platform that runs Wikipedia.

Blogs. Not just the fevered rantings of millions of self-reflective, self-indulgent emo kids, but a great way to actually communicate the progress and activity of your project or business unit out to your colleagues, or implement a useful customer relations channel.

Mashups. The open data APIs offered by many Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 tools make mashups a reality. Far more than the dashboards of the 90s, mashups can offer real-time two-way looks into business activity, system status and corporate and market trends.

Communities. We all live in them. Yet we come into work and hide away in our 10m2 or less of floor space and never communicate with the rich community of thinkers and doers we work with. Enterprise 2.0 tools offering community aspects can help build the collegiate, village feel we crave for – whether it’s the lunchtime soccer club or the CEO’s Feedback Forum.

Bookmarks. We all have favorites in our browsers, but they’re locked away and unusable by our colleagues. Bookmarking tools inside the wall – a corporate del.icio.us or Ma.gnolia – can expose a vast world of information to ourselves and our colleagues as each of us discovers new and valuable knowledge we want to share.

Social networks. Not quite the same as communities, but sharing aspects of them, social networks inside the wall, and across them out to our customers and suppliers, can facilitate the discovery of talent and expertise, sources of information and connections we can exploit to do our jobs better.

Now a short diversion before we wind up. A little look at what our organisations might realise with these things in place.

Let’s look at some of what are often considered “soft” benefits that can be realised by successful implementations of Enterprise 2.0 tools and practices.

Enterprise 2.0 culture and tools are equally accepting of variant work styles. The busy, 8-hours-a-day worker who likes to be head-down backside-up is just as easily accommodated as the bursty, creative worker who spends time in conversations, or collaborating on many projects.

That doesn’t set aside the potential cultural clash between these worker types, that’s altogether another issue. But it is one that is addressed by the overall cultural changes that come along with successful Enterprise 2.0 implementations.

Back in April 2007, my friend and colleague Anne Zelenka published something of a manifesto regarding the busy/burst dichotomy, falling strongly on the side of burst.  Same place as I am.

“The burst economy, enabled by the Web, works on innovation, flat knowledge networks, and discontinuous productivity.”

Anne Zelenka, Web Worker Daily

Recent research published shows a strong tendency, greater than 90 per cent in fact, for new hires under 40 years of age (and frankly, that’s most of your new hires) to pick roles where they are facilitated in engaging in open, collaborative work environments.

Given the choice of two otherwise equal roles, these people will choose the role where the corporate culture and the tools available make it easy for them to engage in the conversation, collaboration and community they want in their work.

“Employee recruitment and retention could become one motivator and one very significant ROI.”

Bill Ives, FASTForward

Given employee turnover and attraction of new hires is an extremely expensive business – on average at least $10000 on the first year’s other costs – aren’t you better off making sure you have the right tools and culture in place to keep your people motivated and doing a great job?

There’s a lot of talk going on about the schism between various worker generations – the near-to-retirement Baby Boomers, the Gen Xers like me, and the brash young Gen Ys who want to rise rapidly up the corporate ladder without paying their dues.

And yes, these generalisations apply across large sample populations. But solid research out of the HR industry suggests very strongly that this divide is false. People are far more influenced by life events and personal preferences in the way they work, in the roles they seek and in the attitudes they bring than by any arbitrary generation they are supposed to belong to.

The capability that a successful Enterprise 2.0 implementation brings to an organisation to engage employees across generational lines and to get them working together is a strong motivator for success.

Let’s take a very quick look at two Enterprise 2.0 success stories.

The CIA. Of all places. Don’t tell me doing this stuff in your organisation is too risky if this organisation can do it.

In June this year I had the privilege of meeting two of the CIA’s leading players in their Enterprise 2.0 efforts, Don Burke and Sean Dennehy at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston, Massachusetts.

Since 2005, the CIA have implemented a suite of tools as well as a number of core cultural changes in order to bring about a new best-of-breed practices. They’re collaborating at several levels of classified material with 15 other agencies in what is referred to as the “Intelligence Community”.

That suite of tools includes:

  • Intellipedia for aggregation
  • Intelink blogs for communication
  • Tag|Connect (similar to the Internet’s del.icio.us) for organization
  • Inteldocs (a document management system for file sharing community-wide)
  • Gallery (similar to the Internet’s flickr)
  • iVideo (similar to YouTube)
  • Intelink Instant Messaging (IIM)
  • Really Simple Syndication (RSS)

Janssen-Cilag are a pharmaceutical company that undertakes significant research programs and product development. With around 350 employees, like many organisations, they had an underused, often out of date intranet until mid-2006 when they replaced it all with a wiki.

The wiki was implemented after a careful examination of and research into actual user needs and was switched live during a demo in a large staff meeting. Gutsy.

Nathan Wallace, one of the driving forces for JCintra, estimates that a large percentage – in excess of 70 percent – of staff now actively contribute to or update content on the wiki.

Nathan puts the following four points forth as a manifesto for successful implementation:

  1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.
  2. Ease of use over comprehensive training.
  3. Flexible tools over completeness.
  4. Responding to needs over creating demand.

Janssen-Cilag are now taking further steps in their Enterprise 2.0 efforts, introducing blogging to any staff member who want to do so and Jitter, an internal equivalent to Twitter.

There are many more success stories and the list grows daily. I’m only too happy to help you find a case study that might be relevant to your organisation.

We’ve seen fairly comprehensively the benefits that a well-considered, people- and problem-centric approach to Enterprise 2.0 programs can offer.

As more and more businesses undergo the shift to operating this way, your business risks being left behind, flailing, as it fails to adapt to the changed way of doing business in the 21st Century.

While more than a little scary, the need to adapt and adopt is upon us. Taking a softly, softly, late adopter approach is perhaps more of a risk to the survival of your business than jumping in, looking at the needs and problems and taking first steps.

James Governor from RedMonk threw this one at us back in April 2007.  He’s right.

“Networked, social-based opportunities are so explosive today that when we pursue them we’re flung forward at pace.”

James Governor, RedMonk

So, Enterprise 2.0 – Enabling change or part of the problem?

While your efforts absolutely need to be backed by a sound strategy and good reasons your organisations stand upon ground that offers you an opportunity to take leaps forward in innovation, collaboration and productivity that they’ve never been offered before.

Imagine your organisation if this was the way things were done.

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