Enterprise 2.0 - What is it good for?

Enterprise 2.0 - What is it good for?

A 12-step guide to getting the most out of Web 2.0 tools and making it safe-for-purpose

3.Borderless Creativity

The value to Web 2.0 within organizations is still emerging. However it is likely that these technologies will contribute to continued streamlining of the organizational structure, says Theresa Edgington, assistant professor Hankamer School of Business at Baylor University. "Numerous management levels are unnecessary when communication lines are improved. Command and control orders are less necessary when teams are self-managed, working collaboratively. Creativity is enhanced when one's team can be anyone, anywhere in the world," Edgington says.

"Web 2.0 technologies will be contributors to moving responsibilities out to the user departments. Other technologies will allow users to build mashups and the like, but Web 2.0 will aid CIOs to become the IT conductors of the new enterprise IT orchestra. Only some of the IT will remain in the IT department."

Steve Hodgkinson, Ovum Research Director, says Enterprise 2.0 is a genuine opportunity for technology to act as a catalyst for changes in organizational culture.

"Enterprise 2.0 is emerging as the most practical way of sharing and managing knowledge in a range of contexts, from team collaboration spaces to customer self-service forums," Hodgkinson says. "The root of its culture change power, however, is its ability to unleash the personal power of informal networks.

"These networks exist in all organizations, fuelled by mutual self interest or just a desire for comradeship and intellectual stimulation. The architecture of participation created by profiles, wikis, blogs and forums can lubricate the interactions that drive social networks, encouraging 'showing and sharing' and boosting collaboration. It can also make informal networks and their contributions more visible."

Hodgkinson says informal networks give organizations peripheral vision: cutting through the day-to-day nonsense, enabling more sensitive situational awareness, breakthrough thinking and access to the subtle levers of organizational change.

4.If You're Not Blogging, How Will You Know What People Are Saying About You Behind Your Back?

Blogging is much more than a fringe phenomenon and it is here to stay for better or worse, says Cutter Consortium senior consultant Stowe Boyd. Boyd points out that blogs are basically a Web 1.0 innovation but have recently grown in sophistication as the ideas that animate the Web 2.0 movement - including RSS, tags, widgets, and swarms - foster all sorts of innovations.

"David Weinberger, co-author of The Cluetrain Manifesto, once said: 'There are no smart companies, there are only smart conversations.' Companies that increase the likelihood of having smarter conversations with all constituents, internal and external, are simply more likely to succeed," Boyd says.

Boyd sees many positive examples of companies that have benefited from blogging, but warns that some companies have already found out the dangers of ignoring what is being said about them in the blogosphere. "The Kryptonite Lock disaster, in which bloggers discovered a way to unlock Kryptonite bicycle locks using nothing more than a Bic pen, something the company took days to respond to, is a case study in what not to do and how not to do it," he says.

And he advises companies to overcome their natural trepidation about blogging, born of fear of the inevitable loss of control, and concerns about confidentiality, leaking secrets, and unprofessional activities.

"Yes, companies should enact a blogging standard like that of Sun, which is: 'Don't do anything stupid', Boyd writes. "Blogging should be just another form of communication in the corporate policy manual, along with e-mail, letters, fax, and telephone calls, and should be subject to the same considerations: don't leak critical business information; don't do anything illegal; don't disparage others for their beliefs, background, race, or national origin; and don't call your boss a moron."

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