For the last couple of years I’ve been in the trenches managing a sizeable collaboration space across three continents for a large multinational enterprise.
The diplomacy, strategy, tactics and sheer hard work of managing, building and running this type of space can be all consuming, particularly with global time differences. I communicated with colleagues in similar roles within other organizations to compare notes, and was struck by the diversity of problem solving this space is taking on. There are few patterns, formulas or templates globally applicable – to distort Marshall McLuhan’s ‘The medium is the message’, the message (collaboration) defines the medium, and at this point there are many ‘mediums’ (collaboration tools) to chose from. There are no ‘deploy and enjoy’ management solutions; we are looking at helping users understand new paradigms of working together using technology. Installation is the easy part, getting understanding and uptake the challenge. A key component of this is communicating clear strategy and tactics, people like to feel they are playing by the rules and doing the right thing…
There has been a striking disparity between the excitement around consumer Web 2.0 technologies these users increasingly utilize in their personal lives and the reality of an enterprise world constrained by Firewalls and IT inflexibility, archaic email clients, draconian (and rapidly increasing) security standards and many other barriers to effective collaboration.
My goal for this Collaboration 2.0 blog is to contribute a 'real world' pragmatic perspective to the discussion around this rapidly emerging space, informed both by my past enterprise management experience and my current wider corporate consulting role helping form collaboration strategy for enterprises.
Andrew McAfee’s original ‘Enterprise 2.0: the Dawn of Emergent Collaboration' dissertation and subsequent refinements on his blog. i.e.:
Enterprise 2.0 is the use of emergent social software platforms within companies, or between companies and their partners or customers.
form the backbone of the current Enterprise 2.0 movement.
This has reminded me of the earlier 2005 purist 'Web 2.0’ discussion, (seems so long ago now!) starting with O'Reilly's ‘internet as platform’ piece and Jesse James Garrett's 'Ajax: A New Approach to Web Applications'.
The two terms 'Web 2.0' and 'Ajax' quickly became buzzwords, mutating into much broader fuzzier terms and inevitable marketing usage, which has made particularly ‘Web 2.0’ many things to many people and therefore of limited use these days.
The same ambiguities are now beginning to permeate people's understanding of what is possible - or desirable - in the enterprise world using these 2.0 tools. The sheer disconnect between the reality of the large corporation I labored away in and the limited utility of many of the online tools being discussed or pitched as viable for the enterprise can be very confusing to those attempting to define strategy.
I’m looking forward to diving deeper into the ideas outlined above plus a lot more in upcoming posts, and am particularly interested in feedback, corrections, comments, observations and ideas from you!