The other day I posted on Knowledge flow networks and Post-KM : enterprise 2.0, facilitation and complexity, these along with an older post include how I think KM and enterprise 2.0 can come together.
In this post I pointed to a post by Tom Davenport on recognising the difference in the planned and outcome KM approach compared to the enterprise 2.0 emergent approach (with sharing, learning, connections happening along the way). He also concurred with Andrew McAfee saying there is an element of facilitation and gardening, this is the part I call KM 2.0. I think KM 2.0 is a layer on top of enterprise 2.0.
Samuel Driessen’s post pointed me to a comment by James Dellow on Tom’s post. Samuel disagreed with James that enterprise 2.0 is only about technology, saying it’s also about the people and the networks.
It’s all semantics at the moment, sure enterprise 2.0 is a technology that allows connections, network effects and emergence that we didn’t have previously, but we all know without participation and management 2.0 values it’s nothing.
When we talk about enterprise 2.0 we often also mean the culture, adoption and human part of it, we assume a new style of bottom-up work. The last thing we want to do is stifle the potential of the tools with a top-down approach. I think KM 2.0 comes in to make sure enterprise 2.0 is left alone and emergence can happen, but then comes in to guide and facilitate, to make sure it’s adaptive in the best possible way.
James offers various ways or choices in implementing Intranet 2.0 into your organisation.
1. Tactical Social Computing
2. Enterprise Web 2.0
3. Enterprise 2.0
Tactical Social Computing
This isn’t really Intranet 2.0, it’s more about a team here and there using social tools like blogs and wikis to get their work done. eg. using a wiki in a call centre to list workarounds and contexts that aren’t covered in procedures, using a blog rather than email to communicate and announce to the team, etc…
Often these instances of social productivity are by IT Rogues and Tech Populists who are early adopters and using tools to help be more effective because IT is just too slow. But as James says this tactical approach is a great stepping stone to a more holisitic or broad implementation…a way to demonstrate to IT and get them involved. It’s a great idea to pilot a few teams with some low cost/free tools to showcase and be a role model of how effective it is to work with these new social tools, and the things that happen along the way like emergence and sharing. If your plan is to get more serious about this don’t make your pilot group too big, otherwise you will have migration to do when you move to you new system.
So whether it’s on your own, or with the help of IT it really costs nothing to test the waters, compared to traditional enterprise software…this is a big difference in itself, and inturn allows us to take this type of approach.
At my work we have not gone Intranet 2.0 just yet, our Intranet is still top-down, lacks customisation/personalisation, user input, etc… But we do have Communities of Practice for teams, cross-team workgroups, and shared interest groups. You could say this is our tactical social computing approach, parallel to our Intranet. If things go well here, which they are, this warrants confidence to revamp our Intranet into a social network of sorts.
Enterprise Web 2.0
This is more focused on Web 2.0 oriented architecture and Web application frameworks (AJAX, XML, AIR, ATOM, RSS) rather than the social aspects such as blogs and wikis. From the article:
“- Dashboards that can be rapidly “mashed” together in days to answer an emergent business problem
- Alerting systems that integrate information from internal and external systems using RSS
- Rich and intuitive AJAX interfaces on Web-applications that people want to use and reduce the need for extensive end-user training
If you follow this path, be aware that an Enterprise Web 2.0 strategy may perhaps intentionally open the door to Enterprise 2.0. Once the lid is off the box, it may be difficult to quarantine the social aspects from the technology components of the Web 2.0 software development philosophy. The nature of Web 2.0 tools and a key ingredient of their success is that theyempower users to build their own tools and contribute content, so getting the benefits of Web 2.0 technologies without the social element will need to be carefully managed.”
I’d also like to add to this the emergent nature of the tools themselves, not only can we publish, comment, and tag content to watch it evolve and see patterns emerge, but this also happens with the technology. Here’s an excerpt from Rod Boothby on this:
“VCs usually don’t like the idea of a “platform”. They want to see a killer app first. But, it is quickly becoming obvious that having a platform IS the killer app. Or at least the killer differentiator. By platform, I mean something beyond a simple API. It is a mechanism for letting 3rd parties add value to your application through extensions and plug-ins.
WordPress, with all the 3rd party themes and application plugins is a great example of something that gets better as more people use it.”
From James Dellow’s article:
“…an Enterprise 2.0 strategy is something quite different from either the tactical use of social computing or the narrow adoption of Web 2.0 technologies - it is both a technology and business change, where social computing tools help flatten and also reflect the flatness of organisations.”
As James points out a tactical strategy is not going to meet the criteria of the SLATES model which describes the components of Enterprise 2.0. James says something really important here for those that think they are doing Enterprise 2.0 just because their work has a few blogs and wikis.
“…for it to work the SLATES model must apply across the information workplace - not a single siloed tool, since this represents a tactical strategy instead.”
“…the subtle difference between a tactical strategy and Enterprise 2.0…is really the relationship between the enterprise social computing environment with the shape and culture of the organisation.”
The posts I linked to at the start of this blog post have my view on the conditions for enterprise 2.0 to take place and the facilitation involved to nuture and guide the emergence.
To spread and evolve know-how, percolate emergence, create autonomous behaviours, and social productivity, we need the conditions for these things to happen.
Network Effects - without a critical mass of participators, contributors, and collectors (and tagging, linking, voting) we cannot have emergence. A sign of this are sites like Wikipedia, TechMeme, delicious, Twitter, etc…
Participation - we need bloggers, commentors, editors, taggers, etc…
Self Interest - we have more chance of Participation if our motivation is self interest and connection, and easier ways to do our work. Along with self satisfaction, a feeling of belonging and connection, and socially generated reputation.
Ease of Use - we have more chance of Participation if the tools are easy to use and unstructured so we can bend them to our needs
Transparency/Support/Bottom-up - management need to govern rather than manage, they need to lax control and take a facilitative and leadership approach. Less planning for outcomes, and more emergence of output. People need to able to express themselves, within a governance framework, without fear, otherwise this may stifle contribution, which gets us nowhere.
The facilitative approach is to cultivate connections/networks/conversations, garden, steer, guide… This leads to a paradigm change to management 2.0, in order for enterprise 2.0 to flourish. Strategy can now be influenced or gifted by what’s surfaced from the crowd, rather than just a bunch of bigwigs in one room, really it’s a win-win situation.
James points to some quotes on these points:
Michele Egan, World Bank
“Collaboration and facilitation (rather than control and vetting) are key drivers in the successful utilization of new and existing technologies, as well as in unleashing the willingness of people to contribute with their effort…Let a thousane flowers bloom does work, even if you have to pull a few weeds on ocassion”
“These tools may well reduce management’s ability to exert unilateral control and to express some level of negativity. Whether a company’s leaders really want this to happen and will be able to resist the temptation to silence dissent is an open question. Leaders will have to play a delicate role if they want Enterprise 2.0 technologies to succeed”
As I mentioned my work does not have a potential fear factor as we can so far only express ourselves in blogs and forums within communities, these are small boundaries governed by a owner, compared to the boundary of the whole enterprise. If something not suitable was said in a community, only people in that community would know of it, and it could be easily picked up by the owner and dampened.
The real test would be if our intranet had a social network component, where rather than seeking a community and requesting to blog, instead each person is given their own house (as opposed to a shared house in a community) as their personal profile where they can connect with others and blog what they know, or…This is more of a test on management as people are given a blog even if they don’t know what it is, and it’s their own space, rather than a group space. If something out of line is said, it may spread to all eyeballs in a flash.
More on Enterprise 2.0
“Enterprise 2.0 is the use of emergent social software platforms within companies, or between companies and their partners or customers.”
“Social software enables people to rendezvous, connect or collaborate through computer-mediated communication and to form online communities. (Wikipedia’s definition).
Platforms are digital environments in which contributions and interactions are globally visible and persistent over time.
Emergent means that the software is freeform, and that it contains mechanisms to let the patterns and structure inherent in people’s interactions become visible over time.
Freeform means that the software is most or all of the following:
- Free of up-front workflow
- Egalitarian, or indifferent to formal organizational identities
- Accepting of many types of data”
I really liked this excerpt by Rod Boothby:
“In McAfee’s article, Enterprise 2.0: The Dawn of Emergent Collaboration, McAfee says “When I use ‘Enterprise 2.0′ as an adjective, I mean “supporting of emergent collaboration.””
“I believe what McAfee is saying is that everything new and interesting in the Enterprise isn’t necessarily emergent. If IT builds an AJAX application that must be used by end users to account for their time, there is nothing emergent about that system. Therefore it isn’t Enterprise 2.0.
Enterprise 2.0 is about decentralization of responsibility. This requires a completely different way of managing people.”
“Enterprise 2,0 isn’t about building solutions for end users. Enterprise 2.0 is about building tools that end users can leverage to build their own solutions.
Out of those highly customized end-user built combinations of people, process and technology, will emerge better business practices. Better because they will be more intelligent, more flexible and they will generate more long term competitive business advantage because they will generate more innovations.
To be truly useful, these tools have to plug into the back end of any corporate entity. Critical features will include audit trails, access control, version control, authentication, provisioning and backup. The best Enterprise 2.0 systems out there will have thought through these issues.”
[ADDED 05/04/09: Enterprise 2.0 or Department 2.0? Discuss]
[ADDED 05/04/09: Who owns Enterprise 2.0? (and, why should you care?)]