Failure 2.0

Failure 2.0

Summary: Recently, I described failures in several Enterprise 2.0 and Web 2.


Recently, I described failures in several Enterprise 2.0 and Web 2.0 systems, including Ning (and, Netflix, Google, and Gnomedex.

Comments on these posts have suggested that:

1. I don't understand Enterprise 2.0

2. I should cut them some slack, because they are somehow special

Well, here's my position on this touchy subject: Enterprise 2.0 describes a philosophy of technological and organizational design; it's not a spiritual path. Mission critical systems, whether old-style or new, must adhere to basic standards of reliability and availability.

Just yesterday, computers at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) went down. My expectations of those people (clearly, the traditional computing camp) are no different than what I expect of Enterprise 2.0 folks.

If you build systems that real people rely upon, then build them right. If your system doesn't work reliably, then sorry, you aren't yet ready for prime time.

Update: Take a look at this comment from Jeffrey Walker, president of Atlassian Software, an Enterprise 2.0 vendor. Jeffrey "gets it."

Topics: Enterprise 2.0, Google,

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  • What is Enterprise 2.0?

    If one uses "Enterprise" to describe a technology, then it had better be useful for enterprises which means businesses. So I agree Michael. I blogged "What is Enterprise 2.0?" -- -- because I feel we get over-fixated on the social possibility when Enterprise 2.0 should mean easy to use, lighter weight, less expensive software. But I neglected to add that it must have enterprise quality: reliability, scalability, securit, etc.
    • Hey folks, pay attention to this

      Jeffrey Walker is president of Atlassian Software, a supplier of Enterprise 2.0 software. He "gets it": whatever we might want from new software models, the stuff fundamentally has to work and be reliable. Jeffrey, thanks for the excellent comment!
    • What is light weight software?

      I think metaphors like light0weight and heavyweight may be extremely misleading.

      The business guy says: light-weight software is cheap
      The admin guy says: light-weight software is easy to setup
      The developer says: light-weight software is easy to change
      The user say: light-weight software is easy to use

      Basically "light-weight" conveys a combination of "cheap" and "easy," but "easy" is entirely dependent on perspective. Consequently, people can sign cumbaya in warm fuzzy agreement without understanding each other in the least.
      Erik Engbrecht
      • Then what would you suggest?

        Please offer any alternatives that will make the message clearer.
        • avoiding general metaphors...

          ...or only using them when you really do mean the union of all your audiences interpretations.

          Light-weight is just a particularly bad one because even with a relatively homogenous audience people will interpret it differently.

          So to add to your list of reasons why project fail, I would suggest adding the adoption of terms or high-level summaries that mask underlying disagreement.
          Erik Engbrecht
  • E 2.0

    Dear Michael,

    E 2.0 is philosophy of technological and organizational design: YES

    It?s not a spiritual path: YES

    What is prime time for you? The computer room, the data center or the mainframe of the LAX Airport.

    Everything has its own place.

    I am glad one of the plenty people who read your articles "gets it"


    Mario Ruiz
    • Jeffrey is a Enterprise 2.0 vendor

      If I were an IT buyer, his comments would give me confidence. In contrast, I've seen other people describe Enterprise 2.0 in messianic terms, which doesn't make any sense to me.
  • E 2.0 is more of a point on a scale

    The scale runs from using an indefinite number of actions to reach a solution/decision to using a single action to reach a solution/decision. The product of technology, process, and society evolves over time and what we think of as E 2.0 is just the result. People are already talking of E 3.0, etc.

    None of this means much in that we continually try and adapt some form of measurement and to quantify how we reach a solution/decision. Imagine if you could ask a question about strategy to Google and have it return an answer. Would this then be E 3.0 or E 4.0?

    Whether people think that lightweight software is the solution, or whatever, it really doesn't matter. If you have the lightest-weight software available, but our internal process structure is garbage then what good is it? It just made our junk processing much quicker.

    The fundamental goal of business is to realize a profit, not to create sales, not to minimize cost, not to create market share, etc. It's to make a profit. Anything that allows business to realize that goal (legal) is what business should look at. Creating a corporate Facebook or Wiki may not be furthing that goal. Business wants to make the right decisions as fast as possible, business wants to ask the right questions, and realize the correct answers as fast as possible. Business wants to take a single correct action rather than a series of corrective actions. Software is just one part of this evolutionary's not E 2.0 it's Evolutionary.
  • Is your mobile phone mission critical?

    Service Level Agreements must be applied based on service contracts which define the level of reliability required based on an applications functional business (or social) use. Making blanket statements that are inaccurate only shows you actually don't get it!