There is no Enterprise 2.0

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The Practice of Enterprise 2.0 Adoption Patterns

Web 2.0 Strategy in an Organization

I was looking back at this article “There is no Enterprise 2.0, there is your Enterprise 2.0” by Gil Yehuda, Director of Open Source at Yahoo!  He makes some valid points about how the approach to Enterprise 2.0 Solutions depends on the organization.  This still holds true today.  A Web 2.0 strategy in an organization should include business objectives and methods to facilitate collaboration focused on business goals.  Gil included a link to clip from the original Matrix Movie, where a child helps our star try to realize the truth.  I believe the day is right around the corner where there is no Enterprise 2.0.  The practice of Enterprise 2.0 Adoption Patterns will soon be invisible because that is just “how business gets done”.

The Matrix: “There is no Spoon”

I love the Matrix Movies.  In this video clip, we see our star trying to understand “there is no spoon”.

Matrix: “Tank, I need a pilot program…”

You Enterprise 2.0 Evangelists may of already noticed the word play in this title.  There seems to be some controversy about Enterprise Pilot Programs.  A quick search on Twitter or Google will shed some light on this topic.

Here is another Matrix Movie video clip where someone needs some critical information now.  This reminds me of how a collaborative environment can work in the Enterprise.  You may not need to know how to fly a helicopter, but you may need to know some critical business information instantly.  Oh yeah, you may not get it as a download straight to your brain, yet.

Box of Wonder

Once upon a time, back in the 1980’s, I was lucky enough to be exposed to LexisNexis, an online database for legal research, while working for a Law Firm in Pennsylvania.  I remember how I was so amazed at this tiny screen that would return a couple lines of text from my simple key word query.  THIS IS AMAZING!, I would exclaim.  My colleagues seemed so unimpressed with this box of wonder, it was just a part of their workflow.  This is how I believe our perception of Enterprise 2.0 will look in the very near future.

I went on to volunteer for The Legal Aid Society, while studying more about computers.  I moved to Virginia and started working for a Circuit Court, but my passion for using computers and programming to improve lives soon took over.  I have been building systems and programming as a hobby for several years, but the time was right for a new career move.  I was impressed about how a few lines of code could run a program on a single machine, but I felt the web is where the real innovation was happening.  I worked a few small jobs, then took a position with a tech company that supported the Department of Defense.

How We Saw Enterprise 2.0 Back Then

One of my buddies worked in the Human Resources department and he always seemed stressed out about work.  One night during a poker game while drinking beers with people from various departments of our organization, someone asked, “How will our jobs look in the future”?  Some interesting things were discussed that night, but the next day my buddy came to the programming team and wanted to know how we can start with changing things.  We started gathering information on the current HR process and interviewing people involved in the process to see what would make their work-life better.  This included talking with the people that worked job fairs.  We also talked about possible future needs and gathered feedback about existing tools and resources.

We had a tight budget and little resource, but we created a system that aligned with their process.  This system included methods for authentication, communication, notification, and the ability to export information.  This system could also search internal and external resumes.  Most of the software we had to work with did not have APIs or a WSDL (methods for software to work together).  We created our own APIs and web service methods.  We authenticated people with LDAP.  We used a combination of mini discussion boards and web-based email notifications for communications.  We used a combination of SQL, custom document properties, and Adobe’s Collection Indexing (This is similar to Google’s Search Appliance GSA) to manage resumes.  Users could attach notes to documents and create their own sharable resume lists.  People rapidly adopted this new solution because it made their lives easier.  Management loved it, because it paid for itself in about three months, plus we now have capabilities that did not exist before.  One new feature was the ability to easily identify geographic areas of talent.  Productivity went up across the organization because they stopped getting all those emails asking if they have or know anyone who has certain skill sets.

I think this was just a small example, but some of these basic principals still apply today:

  • Have a plan that maps to business objectives and goals
  • Your audience is your strategy
  • Design for interaction
  • The more problems you solve, the more success you will have
  • Solutions with Extensibility have more value
  • Sharable data (APIs/Web Services) creates flexibility
  • Think Platform of Apps

Having the “App” mentality will give you the flexibility for views of important information that can be used on multiple devices and across platforms.

In the Center of my Enterprise 2.0 Bullseye

I hope you find these resources helpful.

  • There are a lot of very smart people that are passionate about Enterprise 2.0.  You will find many of them at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference.
  • You can find some Enterprise 2.0 Warriors to help you here 2.0 Adoption Council.
  • A lot of thought went into this white paper “Accelerating Business Performance“.  I like the part on “Building an Innovation Culture to Stay Competitive and Responsive”, but it’s difficult to choose a favorite.
  • This article talks about the white paper above “Enterprise 2.0, Meet Enterprise 1.0“.  I don’t agree with all of this, because I have already seen Enterprise Solutions with this blend.  I do like this comment he made, ‘We’d get more powerful and robust Enterprise 2.0 “apps”‘.  I believe “Apps” should be a key part of any platform solution.
  • Andrew McAfee drives home “weak ties” and clear communication in these slides “What Does Corporate America Think of 2.0?”

A Quick Look At People Entering the Workforce Now