The Drivers and Challenges of Enterprise 2.0

August 18, 2010
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In today’s global economic arena, price is no longer an area where organizations can hope to differentiate themselves. Instead, innovation is the principle means through which organizations can remain competitive. They must foster an environment that encourages innovation and produces a constant stream of innovative services and solutions.

In today’s global economic arena, price is no longer an area where organizations can hope to differentiate themselves. Instead, innovation is the principle means through which organizations can remain competitive. They must foster an environment that encourages innovation and produces a constant stream of innovative services and solutions. Many executives believe that they are the innovators for their companies, but in reality the capacity for 1000’s of employees to come up with innovative ideas far outweighs that of 10 or so top-level executives.  Most organizations have failed to tap into one of their richest assets – the tacit knowledge of their workforce.

There is much value to be gained from the unrecorded insight and experiences inside knowledge worker’s heads. Furthermore, organizations tend to collaborate poorly as hierarchical structures prevent cross-division content and social discovery. Division heads act as barriers to the fluid exchange of ideas.  This is where Enterprise 2.0 techniques can assist.

What is Enterprise 2.0?

Enterprise 2.0 (first coined by Professor Andrew McAfee in Spring, 2006) is the state of the art in collaborative software modeled after Web 2.0 techniques and patterns. It is an emergent set of technologies that encourages innovation, facilitates the capture of tacit data, and creates a spirit of collaboration due to its participatory and social nature.

Enterprise 2.0 flattens organizational hierarchies and lowers contribution barriers. This means that the output from the metaphorical troops in the trenches is directly visible to Generals on the hilltop. In this way, organizations become more efficient due to increased sharing and discovery of knowledge, and can maintain competitive advantage by fostering innovation from within.

Challenges

Enterprise 2.0 has organisations buzzing at these ideas, but also confused. Many are still trying to figure out what it means to them – is it turning their company into Facebook or MySpace? Yes, Wikipedia has been a great success, but imagine some of the issues if we tried to run our company like that!

What Drives Enterprise 2.0?

There are a number of factors driving the need for Enterprise 2.0 as well benefits that derive from it, creation a virtuous cycle for these capabilties and resulting business benefits.  Enterprise 2.0 is the next generation enterprise, driven from user expectations of what they can do on the web.

New business models result from this approach include The Long Tail, a reference to tapping into the “unlimited supply” of the internet (as a provider or consumer). Long Tail business models are typically a key part of the strategy of companies that take advantage of Web 2.0 / Enterprise 2.0 techniques and technologies. Likewise, the Wisdom of Crowds provides the capability to harness a community perspective to knowledge development within your organisation. The value of Networked effect models can be applied to community development and solution delivery.

An enhanced Customer Experience, using Enterprise 2.0 techniques nad technologies as the core foundational building blocks of the online customer experience. Increasing prevalence on the internet will build customer expectations of use. 

Radical Transformation of existing IT infrastructures that enable far greater agilility in the ability to shift to a changing market.

An Open Source Approach to Enterprise 2.0

The MIKE2.0 open source Enterprise 2.0 solution offering provides an approach for implementing Enterprise 2.0 that is particularly focused around the impacts of Enterprise 2.0 and its relation to Information Development.

3 Principles drive the approach and help formulate the initial architecture and governance model:

  • Collaboration
  • Agility
  • Information-centricity

This solution shows how to apply Web 2.0 techniques within an organisation to get the benefits of collaborative content development, harness the power of informal networks and to quickly adjust to shifting strategies. The proposed approach balances some of the risks related to information security, stability and staff workload. This approach also proposes that those organisations that are truly successful in taking advantage of Enterprise 2.0 will use new techniques and technologies and prioritise on developing two areas: human capital development and Information Development. Through this approach, organisations can truly become more agile and more innovative.

Read more from MIKE2.0: The Open Source Standard for Information Management