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Will Enterprise 2.0 Transform the Enterprise or is it a "Crock!"

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Miko Matsumura: Will Enterprise 2.0 transform the Enterprise or is it a "crock" as pundit Dennis Howlett so nicely put it?

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  • I posted a "Crock Test" on my blog SOA Center, which is the creation of "legacy E20 apps" over the course of the next few decades.

    There are several scenarios that could lead to the creation of legacy (which I define as "IT projects that worked").

    The first scenario is the "evolutionary" scenario, where existing Enterprises take in some of the "DNA" of Enterprise 2.0 applications. As these applications take root, they transform the Enterprise from within. This route would require fairly significant viral entry and propagation, as E20 apps will need to compete with other projects on the basis of pure project ROI and not just to create positive ROI but compete with the opportunity costs of projects such as BPM which are proven to generate in many cases millions of dollars of return. This is a much harder route, and it may be what Dennis Howlett envisions when he calls E2O a "crock". Once Enterprise 2.0 projects get in the door, they had better take over the Enterprise virally, or they will most likely be displaced or disrupted.

    Software AG is developing a "native" E20 app called AlignSpace that is designed to collaborate with high ROI traditional projects such as BPM. Alignspace provides cross-silo collaboration on process pre-modelling and optimization. I would suggest that this "hybrid" approach where native E20 apps that also work well with classic Enterprise software should be given a fair shake.

    The second scenario is a fully disruptive model, where E20 powered small to midsize businesses use the disruptive power of the Internet to outgrow, outcompete and disrupt the existing Enterprise. having outgrown the Enterprise over the course of 10 years, this new breed will become the new Enterprise. At a modest CAGR of about 7.2% 10 years will be sufficient for an organization to double in size. Given the power of viral and social distribution, much higher growth rates are possible.

    So my "crock test" is merely to wait and see if E20 creates a lasting legacy for Enterprise IT. If it does not then it surely will have been a "crock".

    My 2 cents,

  • The collection of features and practices that are collectively referred to as WEB 2.0 is adopted and practiced by a broad population, often named “the millennial’s?. What these people grew to expect in their private life, they now expect also in their professional life. I can hardly see how Enterprises and Enterprise Software Vendors could avoid this. So my conclusion is quite easy – we’d better get ready and take part in this evolution.

  • Absolute crock. Here's why - 3 tests to determine "crockness"

    1. "Definition" test - can someone define Enterprise 2.0 in a way that is compelling, consistent and coherent?

    2. "Pain" test - what problem is E2.0 suppose to solve, or what "pain" does it alleviate?

    3. "Time" test - it's been around for a few years and it's amounted to nothing...no plethora compelling transformational case studies.

    It's cooked.

  • Clearly, E2.0 is struggling to make the impact that it was originally intended to, which was to create a collaborative and agile organization using the same tools that have worked to organize and coalesce large groups of individuals across the world into a common cause or function without even any direct interactions with each other.

    That said, I believe the goal is a worthwhile one and we should not be too hasty in condemning E2.0 as we know that large Enterprises are mechanical in design and take significant effort to change. Their mechanical nature reinforces efficiency over agility and, let's face it, a lot of people's salaries and bonuses are based on this machine continuing to delivery unabated.

    So, it's probably too early to call this one over. Enterprise transformations can take a decade or more to fully be incorporated.

  • I agree with some of the comments above indicating that it is probably too soon to start labeling the E2.0 concept as a "crock". If we are expected to wait before applying another "crock test" then we need to establish timelines and milestones along the way. If you cannot or will not do this then E20 is indeed a "crock".

  • Will it transform the enterprise? Who knows?

    Is it a "crock"? No -- no more than spreadsheets were a crock in the early 1980s or the World Wide Web was a crock in the early 1990s.

    It is real and here today. Half of all companies have users employing mashups in their work. Wikis are everywhere. Many are using social media as customer comment/complaint channels. Even US government agencies -- and the US Navy! -- are actively engaging in social media to improve communications and data sharing.

    What's the ROI and payback of all this? Nothing definitive yet. Just as we didn't know 1980s what PCs and spreadsheets would bring. But we knew instinctively at the time that we were at the dawn of a new shift in how and who handles information.

  • I think we are really only just seeing the long term effects from web 1.0! the www was conceived as a collaboration tool and it's still pretty hard to do.

    I think if you want to see true collaboration in teams over multiple countries in real time you would be hard pressed to see it done better than World of Warcraft or EVE online! It certainly puts sharepoint or E2.0 in a different light.

  • I respectfully disagree with those who believe Enterprise 2.0 is a crock. Our company implemented an employee community in 2007. It was so successful that we subsequently decided to launch a new business, selling the platform to others who wanted the same benefits. It helped to create a more open communications culture in our company and now I'm experiencing the joy of helping other enterprises do the same (and when I say enterprise I'm not just talking about companies... it includes non-profits, school districts, and basically any finite offline community that wants a private, secure environment of its own).

    Of course, the degree to which any enterprise will succeed depends on what objectives it wants to achieve and is whether it's willing to get thought leaders and key executives behind the effort.

    And one more thing... while Millenials may be faster to get benefits from it, we community members of all ages engaged regularly in the communities. Trust me, it's more about individuals and whether they are communicators or not -- much more than how old they are.

  • If Enterprise 2.0 is a crock, what else could be deemed a crock? SOA in 1999? BPM in 1987? Computing in 1960? Since E2.0 is a concept that is far from being part of what we do, a good dose of skepticism is warranted. But come on now, leave your cynicism at the door. Yes, there are problem statements that E2.0 can indeed address - but they are not technical in nature, which is why technical resources have such a hard time getting their heads around this.

    The few pilots I've been a part of that used E2.0 concepts (e.g. internal crowd-sourcing of new product design) have been moderately successful. But that's as far as it had gone, because a fully baked E2.0 approach requires organizational and risk infrastructure investment levels that very few organizations have been willing to meet. As these investments become less demanding of major shift in workplace culture, and more organizations see results of successful pilots, I'd expect E2.0 concepts to gain acceptance and eventually become a part of what we do. Of course, by that time, I would expect the bearded sages in the corner to find yet another emergent organizational architecture to ridicule.

  • Crock? How about snake oil? Check out Dan Tynan's article from two weeks ago - http://www.infoworld.com/d/applications/it-snake-oil-six-tech-cure-alls-went-bunk-248

  • Doug, as someone who is seeing benefits of E2.0 to companies every day, I found Tynan's comments to be very short-sighted. At the very least, most of his sentences regarding social media in the workplace should have at least included the word 'yet' at the end. In the early 1980's one could've said, "Not all employees of large companies have access to email" -- as though that was the way it would always be? We know how that turned out.

    The problem with most E2.0 implementations is that companies and their vendors focus far too much on adoption -- "Everyone has logged in... it's a SUCCESS!". Well, the fact is that adoption is EASY in the enterprise. Ongoing member engagement, on the other hand, is the hard part. It's also where the benefits exist. The E2.0 platforms and their customers who focus on member engagement as the #1 success criteria are the ones getting it right and trust me, they do exist.

  • I believe in technologies' ability to help support the business. What I don't believe in is the hype. All too often the hype clouds the real benefits in our industry.

    I will say this, Tony. While that article is controversial it was one of the most fun interviews I have done.

  • The answer lies somewhere in the middle. To say Enterprise 2.0 is crock is hold on to old conceptual models, in a vastly different world. Is Enterprise 2.0 is a world shifting model? Perhaps not so soon as companies hesitantly start to cast off old (and comfortable) ways of thinking as the business world around undergoes drastic changes.

    Enterprise 2.0 tools have to an extent been driven by circumstances. What percentage of workers spend time in front of computers creating, manipulating, sifting, organizing information. What percentage of us interact, and (are dependent on to finish our work) on a daily basis with workers, clients, partners, vendors from Bangalore, Beijing, UK, or States across the US?

    It is undoubtedly a vastly different business environment than existed 10 years ago. And the tools of that time obviously cant serve these new needs, or not too efficiently. Hence Enterprise 2.0.


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