Don’t be shy – what are your ideas on adopting Enterprise 2.0?

There is now a series of responses on the FASTForward Blog to the tips for adopting Enterprise 2.0 challenge from James Robertson that I inspired with my Chicken AND Egg post – read the suggestions from Jim McGee, Bill Ives, Euan Semple, Kathleen Gilroy and Jerry Bowles. UPDATE: See also George Dearing and Dana Gardner.

Its also nice see other bloggers adding there own ideas, including Mike Gotta and now “Wiki Evangelist” Stewart Mader, blogging on the Atlassian blog.

So, as Mader asks on his home blog, don’t be shy – what are YOUR ideas on adopting Enterprise 2.0?

Explosion of electronic touch points

I received an email today from someone and, as you typically find in a business email, the sender’s signature block included their contact details. What interested me this morning were the 6 different contact methods listed – they included (in this order):

  • Telephone
  • Mobile
  • E-mail
  • Skype
  • Second Life
  • Blog (internal)

The other day I also noticed another user had these 5 options:

  • Mobile
  • Telephone
  • Email
  • Web
  • Blog (external/personal)

I wonder how social networking sites, customer relationship management systems and other address book tools are keeping up with this explosion of electronic touch points? Neither person listed a physical address or a fax number (however, their traditional and email contact details hinted where they might be – i.e which country).

I’d like to know: What do you list on your email signature? What contact methods are most important to you? Why do you decide to list one but not the other?

RSS Readers – inside vs outside the firewall

The other week Read/WriteWeb ran a survey that asked, “What type of RSS Reader do you use the most?

At the close of the poll, 52% of the 1,187 people who answered the survey said that they mostly used a Web-based RSS Reader. Following in a poor second place were Desktop readers (19%), while Email-based clients ranked lower than other Web-based options. And as one commenter pointed out, Web-based options are the most popular (76% at final count).

However, I tend to agree with this comment from Mike Gotta (again):

There are some influencing factors to consider. Desktop RSS readers are not always free, some of those that are free are add-ins to Outlook which is not as popular in the consumer space as it would within a corporate environment.

The results make sense for consumer use. Enterprise use I imagine would be different – as adoption grows behind the firewall, I would expect to see IE7 and Outlook pop up a lot more.

I’d add that another reason that externally hosted Web-based RSS Readers are popular is that people are currently reading external content and at work a Web-based client is the only option available – once (or if) internal content becomes available in the form of RSS, the results of such a poll might be different.

I would also consider that usability of the individual RSS Reader is also important. For example, I’m currently using Microsoft‘s Windows Live Writer to put this post together – before that I’ve used lots of different interfaces to my blog, but right now this fat client interface is my favourite until something better comes along.

Enterprise 2.0 is in the eye of the beholder

Away from the FASTforward blog, Mike Gotta has contributed his own 5 tips – echoing Euan’s concerns, Gotta suggests (with a warning) that we should:

Define what Enterprise 2.0 means for you: I often feel like we’re back in the nineties debating what Knowledge Management is or is not. To overstate the issue – it really doesn’t matter what I think E2.0 is or what some other pundit, expert or analyst thinks it is — or is not. What matters most is for an organization to take ownership of the term and define for itself what Enterprise 2.0 means based on its own structural dynamics, culture, institutions, market pressures, human capital needs and so on. There is no universal truth here (perhaps some common scaffolding but no complete right or wrong). By taking ownership of the term, it allows people within an organization to put Enterprise 2.0 into a context that they can understand and relate to it in terms of change management, transformation complexity, risks and opportunities and so forth.

Good point, particularly as most people can’t even agree on what Web 2.0 means either so we have a long way to go in getting consensus on Enterprise 2.0.

Conscientious Objector

Following on from the initial challenge, here are responses from Euan Semple, Gerry Dowles (sic) Jerry Bowles and Kathleen Gilroy.

Euan thinks he failed in the challenge, but actually provides a good argument against coming up with a formula for Enterprise 2.0:

I was wary about getting involved because there is a real risk of Enterprise 2.0 turning into a ‘thing’ and a thing that can be done correctly or incorrectly with a whole load of people telling you what correct is. This IMHO is not good and is what led to KM disappearing up its own proverbial and being devalued…

…If I had a list of five things that I’d suggest people do there would only be one – don’t do what people tell you to do. Do what makes sense, do what works and do what you have the energy to sustain in the face of the considerable challenges that will be thrown before you. By all means have conversations with people who have been around and seen and done related things and who are happy to have interesting conversations with you but that is it. No formulas and no experts.”

The FASTforward blog challenge: 5 tips for gaining adoption of enterprise 2.0

Fellow Aussie, James Robertson, has provided a solid response on the FASTforward Blog to my Chicken AND egg post and also laid down a challenge to the other conference bloggers:

James is right. While we’ve been writing some good stuff, we’ve not yet engaged in a meaningful conversation to hammer out some consensus approaches. Instead, we’ve all be writing from our philosophical ‘corners’ (including me).

So in the spirit of ‘walking the walk’, I hereby challenge everyone posting on this blog to publish their list of 5 tips for gaining adoption of enterprise 2.0, both at the organisational and individual level.

Lets see what happens next…

It is the Chicken AND egg: Enterprise 2.0

Normally I’m fan of group blogs but so far the FastForward blog (promoting a conference by the same name*) has been a little disappointing – and I should say that this is nothing against the individual bloggers as such, since I know some of them and a few are on my blogroll already. So far, for the wrong reasons, the only post that has engaged my attention is Jevon MacDonald who attempts to answer the question “who can help my company adopt some of these new ideas and technologies that we are hearing about“?

In a list of tips he proposes that:

There are two conversations going on right now, one about Technology, and one about a Business Ideology. If technology isn’t your thing, then start moving forward with new business ideas and the right technology will emerge, and if you are pegged as a technology person then start opening up the world of low cost options to your colleagues.”

James Robertson posted a follow up to Macdonald and also suggests that “Enterprise 2.0 is about taking a new perspective on the organisation, not on a set of technologies” and the first steps should be to focus on people and business needs.

To me, this is approach of one or the other is a mistake. As in the old chicken and egg problem, the trick to Enterprise 2.0 is all about dealing with both sides of the equation at the same time. For example if we look at the wiki case studies so far in this space, such as Motorola, they make it look like it is very easy to introduce enterprise social software. But a survey last year also suggested that other organisations were finding it more difficult – key take aways for me from that survey were:

  • The main reason affecting the choice of a wiki clearly is the simplicity of use and implementation. The expense is only a very small factor.
  • The main problem is the lack of participation of the intended users. Almost half of the participants had to deal with this problem at least temporarily. Thus the encouragement of the employees is an important item to add to the success of the wiki.

Clearly some organisations – the “early adopters” – are going to find it very easy to make the evolution to Enterprise 2.0 where there is already a good fit between the technology and business culture. For these organisations, they never even asked where to start – they just did it. But for others its going to take some work to level the ground between the two. My feeling is that if you focus on one or the other, while you’ll see change, you won’t necessarily end up with Enterprise 2.0 (to understand what I mean, particularly from the technology side, refer to my earlier posts about the grey area of social software, defining Enterprise 2.0 and why “super users” are the new programmers).

I also think there is an important omission in MacDonald‘s list of recommended reading – he includes McAfee‘s recent IT piece in HBR but not his original SMR Enterprise 2.0 article, which introduces the SLATES concept and starts you thinking about some of the management issues that introducing Enterprise 2.0 creates.

*PS I guess that no publicity is bad publicity…