Sue Bushell, who wrote a very thoughtful in-depth Enterprise 2.0 article for Australian CIO magazine recently, has an interesting question within Linked In to her connections: "Do we need "Management 2.0" and what would it look like if we do?"
I'm looking forward to the article she's researching, she's well informed and connected with the knowledge management community...management, of course, is at the heart of organizing successful collaboration.
Having spent the last two years evaluating enterprise software and keeping my eyes and ears open for trends and developments for the specific objectives of my former enterprise employer, I'd like to share a reality:
There are a lot of clever solutions to problems people in enterprise management aren't trying to solve out there. Web 2.0 technologies have led a consumer revolution, in which the savvy shopper has never been more empowered by technology. Companies know - and fear that - users can trash their product or service online, providing reviews and propagating it to all their contacts via social networks and online forums.
As I've written previously, individuals are interconnected as never before as a result of this technology, and your company infrastructure is being talked about online whether you like it or not. New free web 2.0 services are showered like confetti on consumers weekly, largely in the belief for investors that eyeballs convert to advertising revenue.
This world of interconnected, uncontrolled collaboration that defines user product perceptions is background noise, as are some of the more consumer web focused products and services pitched to the enterprise.
Consumer world Web 2.0 use cases don't apply to the enterprise, we are trying to solve a very different set of problems.
The enterprise is an ecosphere within well defined walls, and corporations spend millions on IT security to keep it that way. Many of the promiscuous multi source mashups available to facilitate communication are anathema to old school infrastructure technologists for good reason: their goals and budgets are based on protecting information.
Alphabet soup systems IT management is a world of large compendium product purchases as solutions to mature problems. Buying a suite comes with security guarantees/blame the vendor, and overworked IT staff can sleep better at night. Except when the servers go on the fritz...
This new world of enterprise collaboration can seem very threatening with unclear benefits to overworked and stressed IT staff responsible for keeping the corporate vessel afloat. Allowing in what looks like a trojan horse that could spring security leaks is a great way to get an ulcer. No apparent upside, lots of potential to look bad...
Getting IT management around the table with business management to define collaboration strategy and tactics can be very challenging.
Throw in some warring factions, a few silos and a couple of personal grudges around the table and you can find yourself in the middle of a reenactment of first world war trench warfare before you know it!
Defining a framework that enables a holistic solution can seem a far away goal in that situation, but if viewed from the top it is possible and has terrific benefits well worth fighting for.
I'm pretty weary of naming conventions with the suffix 2.0 but do like the idea of management 2.0.
Ironically it appears planning a collaboration solution requires clear leadership and clarity of vision: design by committees slows things down and loses competitive advantage.
Enterprise objectives require both careful consideration - be careful what you wish for - and mapping to viable technology solutions. The challenge is to harness tools to meet your specific objectives in the enterprise, while keeping an eye on the horizon to ensure you are rewarded for adoption and not trapped by it...