What is Enterprise 2.0?

What is Enterprise 2.0?

Summary: I'll be in Boston for the US Enterprise 2.0 conference next week.


I'll be in Boston for the US Enterprise 2.0 conference next week. I'm looking forward to meeting face to face with a lot of people I converse with via Twitter (I'm @olivermarks on that platform when it's working...) and other digital connections, seeing old friends, and particularly making new contacts. Please do come and say hello if you see me!

Andrew McAfee, who incidentally started using Twitter today, coined the original term in his 'Enterprise 2.0: The Dawn of Emergent Collaboration' essay in '06.

Inevitably the Enterprise 2.0 moniker is becoming more and more distorted, with Wikipedia currently defining it as

" a term describing social software used in "enterprise" (business) contexts. It includes social and networked modifications to company intranets and other classic software platforms used by large companies to organize their communication. In contrast to traditional enterprise software, which imposes structure prior to use, this generation of software tends to encourage use prior to providing structure..."

Next week's Boston conference

...is the largest and most important gathering for the people ready to reinvent the way work is done. Your business needs to figure out how to leverage new social tools and technologies....

Enterprise 2.0 is a parallel to Web 2.0, which now 'has numerous definitions'

and which

...is a term describing the trend in the use of World Wide Web technology and web design that aims to enhance creativity, information sharing, and, most notably, collaboration among users. These concepts have led to the development and evolution of web-based communities and hosted services, such as social-networking sites, wikis, blogs, and folksonomies.... Although the term suggests a new version of the World Wide Web, it does not refer to an update to any technical specifications, but to changes in the ways software developers and end-users use the Web.

There's PR 2.0 and probably marketing 2.0 out there somewhere too...

I'm citing all these descriptions from easily Googled sources because that's what the "business people who need to figure out how to leverage new social tools and technologies" for their employers will probably have read before attending the conference.

Checking your name tag as you walk around the conference will be vendors eager to give you their unique version of what Enterprise 2.0 is...

What does IT think Enterprise 2.0 is?

I'm wondering what a non technical business person attending the conference makes of all this, especially someone who writes checks for the acronym laiden world of 'traditional' IT systems - CRM, ERP, ECM and so on?

My experience and plenty of anecdotal evidence suggests there is a bit of a crisis in this world where nobody ever gets fired for buying Microsoft/IBM/800lb Gorrillas.

Fresh new employees have increasingly grown up with social networking and web 2.0 tools and are frequently astounded when shown the archaic interfaces of the legacy tools enterprises are anchored by. ('So this is what grown ups do - no wonder they are so boring!') They informally turn to the tools they used in school - flash drives, online collaboration environments, tools and communications, only to be reprimanded. USB drives are epoxied up, IP addresses noted and they are formally told they are constrained by the existing tools provided by IT and to stay behind the firewall or get burnt.

Meanwhile older employees are retiring and taking their knowledge with them - this problem is serious enough that they are often hired back as consultants. There is often nowhere accessible to share their knowledge in the current infrastructure so even this is a temporary solution.

Brave souls start grass roots initiatives within departments, convincing their superiors of the utility of 'Enterprise 2.0' tools and working the way they did before they started their current job. If the initiative takes off IT security start taking a keen interest, and before you know it budget season comes around and there isn't any funding available for that initiative this year. No one really owns it...

This sounds hard on IT departments who have a heavy weight of responsibility and huge issues with the systems they have to keep running 24/7, and issues with enforcing security standards to protect company intellectual property.

There are plenty of IT staff who feel the same frustrations (and sometimes secretly use Google Docs and other online services to get their job done). Some of these folks will probably be at the Boston conference - if you are I'd love to talk to you!

At this point it appears that enterprise 2.0 is often seen as a threat to security by most IT department management.

What do executive management think Enterprise 2.0 is?

The big issue is where does Enterprise 2.0 fit into the enterprise infrastructure? More enlightened management - and those driven crazy by having to log in and out of alphabet soup systems all day to get their job done in between processing email - are aware there are efficiencies and cost benefits in utilizing modern technology.

Executive management don't really know what this is or more specifically what it means to them so they can't react to it. It's not appearing on their radar in focus but they know there's something out there.

How to get there and what are effective solutions is their question.

Consumer Web 2.0 hasn't helped - companies stamping out usage of FaceBook at work aren't terribly impressed by vendors offering social systems for the enterprise, particularly if executive management happen to have slacker children living in myspace while missing school.

The crisis in IT acronym world I referred to earlier is that legacy IT systems are extremely costly. Senior management is signing off on this but are increasingly aware they should be exploring options in this 2.0 workflow world, but catch 22 they don't have much budget because they already committed it on the alphabet soup systems.

Something's got to give...

Topics: Enterprise 2.0, IT Employment


Oliver Marks & Associates provides seasoned, technology agnostic independent consulting guidance to companies on effective Digital Enterprise Transformation business strategy, tactics, infrastructure & technology decisions, roll out and enduring use models and management.

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  • Right on the Enterprise

    I look forward to the upcoming Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston and will definitely seek you out.
    I can't agree with you more about Enterprise 2.0 and the need for a quick, secure and scalable solution which will remove burden from IT departments and promote communication and knowledge sharing via collaboration internally. It's become a must have within every business - large or small - and the timeframe for waiting to see if this new collaborative method of working is a 'fad' has passed. The nay sayers need to begin adoption and move their fortunes forward to compete globally and connect the mobile workforce - young and old.
    The culture shift can no longer be the barrier to implementing enterprise 2.0 strategies - as seasoned knowledge retires or walks out the door at a rapid pace in every vertical, it has become clear legacy infrastructure needs to be complimented with secure, easy to use, low cost, low risk social networking tools which the younger workers expect, work efficiently with and will bring into the organization regardless of whether it is sanctioned or not.
    At IGLOO Inc. (www.igloosoftware.com), we hear a common story from business managers, leaders and drones everyday - the issue or business problem may be different, but at its core, grows from the same seed. How do I connect people to people, people to process and people to information...quickly, efficiently, on demand and within a scalable environment? IGLOO offers an enterprise worthy integrated suite of web 2.0 corporate social networking tools; complete with strong CRM, collaboration and consumer-like social networking features - all with the purpose to deploy quickly...in minutes or days not months or years...with low COO...value add ROI and intended to empower the end user who is driving the business while maintaining security for IT.
    It's a super cool time to be involved in SaaS solutions and watching the transformation of how businesses 'do' business!
  • It's the Generations

    I got some laughs from the generational bits as I have two teenagers who constantly remind me of my age and location in the "with it/out of it" spectrum.

    But I think the generational aspect is key. There's also a generation of IT workers brought up Big Blue-soft that compounds the entrenchment. More important than the relative safety of going with the old standby, this set of tools is where these workers' knowledge goes deepest. Sometimes it's all they know. At least IBM seems to be taking social software seriously.

    I think their's a silver lining for the retirees: the web. I think they represent a great untapped resource. Talk about your cognitive surplus? My mom just turned 70 and her current project is digitizing over 100 rolls of super 8 film. The hot gift at her party was the terrabyte external hard drive. At 70.

    Among the highly educated, web usage is reaching higher and higher. There's no reason they can't continue to contribute in that way.

    There's also an open unconference portion at e2. I'm working on a game to draw out human dynamics in a collaborative work environment. Check out all the sessions on the e2 wiki:

    See you next week.
  • RE: What is Enterprise 2.0?

    Though there are so many definitions of Enterprise 2.0 and Web 2.0 these two terms are still considered to be buzz words. Well, probably people just need more time... Many of them still confuse these two notions. As for marketing 2.0 and PR 2.0, that's true. Professionals in these areas see that their work method change thanks to the influence of Enterprise 2.0 technologies. The same can be said about project management. There are advocates of <a href=http://www.wrike.com/projectmanagement >project management 2.0</a>, who see it as an evolution of traditional discipline.
  • RE: What is Enterprise 2.0?

    very informative about enterprise 2.0 thank you

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