If you scan the internet looking for possible benefits of Enterprise 2.0, what you will find can broadly be classified as the following:
- Increasing collective enterprise intelligence,
- Better collaboration among distributed workforce,
- More effective knowledge management, and
- Building enterprise reputation and better talent retention
You will also find that, there is a consensus among thought leaders that just deploying the tools and technologies will not help – some form of planned and structured change management process is needed.
In short – Enterprise 2.0 implementation has to be nurtured and requires management intervention – but why is it so?
All the significant web 2.0 & social media successes (Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter …) on the internet have been organic and have mostly been self-organizing and unstructured. Why then do we have a different scenario in the enterprise?
Let me not get into too much detail of why it does not happen (see this for more detail) – but the single most important factors which make the dynamics of implementing Enterprise 2.0 to be different is the lack of culture of collaboration.
Every enterprise has a defined structure and hierarchy – it might have got flattened over the years – but it exists. It also has a definition of what is good and bad performance for an individual with a matching reward and punishment scheme. There are defined processes & procedure to guide individual on how work should get done. All these factors combine with each other to define what the organizational culture is. For most organization that culture is not conducive for Enterprise 2.0 adoption.
So … what are the implications?
- To derive benefit from Enterprise 2.0 → Improve collaboration culture → Make necessary changes to organization structure, hierarchy, reward system, processes
- If collaboration culture is already in place → Enterprise 2.0 will get implemented without any planned intervention
Therefore, as a CEO, CIO or CTO, if you are considering if Enterprise 2.0 is right for your organization, you are probably asking the wrong question. The right question to ask is “Do my business need more open collaboration among our employees and needs the organization to be more agile & innovative?” If the answer is yes then ask the follow-up question – “Are we ready to make necessary changes to organization structure, hierarchy, reward system, processes to foster collaboration?”
If the answer to either on these questions is no then it will be a waste of time dabbling with Enterprise 2.0. The corollary is:
If there is an urgent business need to improve internal collaboration among employees cutting across functional area and geography – use Enterprise 2.0 tools as an enabler and catalyst – not as an end in itself.
For your reference
Here are some more details of what some of the thought leaders have to say on the possible benefit of Enterprise 2.0:
- Group Editing
- Broadcast Search
- Network Formation & Maintenance
- Collective Intelligence
- Open Communication
- Shared Knowledge
- Anyone Can Participate
- Web-Oriented – Network Effect
- Emergent, Freeform, Do-It-Yourself
- Personal Information/Knowledge Management
- Expertise Identification
- Collective Intelligence
- Openness encourages participation
- Greater knowledge capture and sharing
- Recruit and keep talented employees
- Greater efficiency & less duplication
- Productivity & Efficiency
- Staff Engagement