Next week sees the inaugural West Coast iteration of the Enterprise 2.0 conference
, which is also an annual June event in Boston on the east coast. Sameer Patel and I will be running a track throughout the event which is focused on Selling the Case for Accelerating Business Performance with Enterprise Collaboration and 2.0 Technologies
This is an important period for Enterprise Web 2.0 technologies; outside the technology enthusiast bubble, hard questions are being briefly asked (by those with time to consider the value of this) in the business community.
'What's In It For Me?' is the hard nosed question budget owners not unreasonably ask when use cases are proposed for adopting any new ideas and associated technologies.
From grandiose propositions to re-engineer entire businesses to highly specific work flow point solutions, there needs to be demonstrable benefits in order for time and money to be allocated with the expectation of increasing business performance and ultimately profit.
This is true of any business plan and not just the topic of this specific post, Enterprise 2.0.
If you're an employee you may have experienced the adrenalin rush of preparing a proposal to the business with a defined need, budget and head count request.
Concepts, ideas and frameworks can be very exciting but nothing focuses the mind more than knowing you're in front of the big wigs in an hour's time on a Monday morning, having spent all weekend going through your presentation with butterflies in your stomach.
It doesn't matter whether you're validating the need for - and business value of - a million dollar machine tool, purchase and integration of software, or a foosball table for the break room. The powers that be want to hear why you are putting your reputation on the line to back your ideas.
Enterprise 2.0 isn't an easy sell - modern web technologies are highly experiential and many of the executives you are selling to spend minimal time in front of computers. Most of their conversations about IT revolve around large scale, security controlled alphabet soup infrastructure - CRM, ERP, accounting and HR systems, and when they do communicate over the internet it's usually by email.
In this executive climate effusive enthusiasm for adopting a set of ideas doesn't cut it, but demonstrating business value may do. Sameer and I will be running a three hour workshop next Monday which aims to work through use case justifications, which we hope will be of value for those wanting to lobby for budget for specific business needs and utility.
The San Francisco track runs through the conference with a session each day, and we hope to present a hard nosed look at business reactions to value propositions. I will be keynoting the following week at Enterprise 20 Summit in Frankfurt Germany with similar material.
There seems to be an idea that Enterprise 2.0 technologies and associated design constructs need to be adopted by businesses who will then see the light and the value; the world doesn't work like this except in the case of animal shelters - if the cats and dogs get lucky.
Humans generally don't spend their hard earned money unless they really need something and see the value in it. When you're discussing with risk adverse execs accelerating business performance by implementing significant change management to get people to work more productively with next generation tools, you'd better have your ducks in a row or you'll be shown the door and the next nervous proposal deliverer will be ushered in...
Mitten appears courtesy of SF/SPCA