Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Reflecting on Enterprise 2.0 for Information Professionals

Last week I attended the second day of Key Forum's Enterprise 2.0 for Information Professionals conference and I blogged some short summaries of each presentation. I thought might add some more reflective thoughts on the whole of that day:

  • Neither open source or proprietary tools won out. People are picking the tools that make sense within the context of their strategy, available skill set, functionality and budget - what's right for one is not necessarily right for another. For example, Andrew Mitchell highlighted Mediawiki's text editor as key functional weakness that would make him think twice about using it for a broader deployment in his company. Andrew also reminded us again of the distinction between truth (business records if you like?) and information that was useful at a point in time (transitory information or conversational collaboration?) - unfortunately some organisations treat all information as a record and need to capture both types. IMHO addressing record keeping is a big gap in the enterprise social computing space.
  • There is still a need to help cross the divide between those who understand the social computing concept and explaining this to the rest of the business. Of course, those that have experienced Web 2.0 now have an expectation of access to a similar environment internally. I can't help but think of this as a classic technology innovation process.
  • There did appear to be a consensus that Enterprise 2.0 isn't a free for all - some level of structure, order, control and support is needed. For example, don't expect the right kind of order to emerge in a forum or Wiki if you start with a completely blank sheet. Be open, while retaining the power to moderate but in practice avoid doing it!
  • From a business perspective I noticed that there are still some concerns about how social media might both mitigate and contribute to information overload - that is by reducing the size of our inbox, we end up requiring more demand for people's attention from other tools. My take on this is that social media technologies can only help to reduce information overload where the skills exist, but users lack the appropriate tools.
  • The Ernst & Young Facebook case study also raised some interesting issues about online identity if you are asked to represent your organisation online - there is a real need for the employer to ensure the employee understands how to protect their privacy in the Web 2.0 environment.

However, the one thing I didn't get a sense of from the day was the level of impact Enterprise 2.0 was actually having on local organisations in terms of radical change. Clearly enterprise social computing is having a benefit to collaboration, but I think we are still a long way from seeing a real Enterprise 2.0 in the wild.


  1. Hi, few thoughts:

    1. Agree with you that social computing is not a free for all.

    2. Record-keeping ... shouldnt we look at this as being outside the scope of social computing? When something like ERP is there to address this, maybe this is something social computing shouldnt even look at, unless there is some form of convergence?

    3. The facebook issues of identity are a little tricky when brought inside the organization, i agree. Having said that, the basic difference is that within the organization, there is no such anonymity, so some of these issues might not be there?

  2. It would be nice if enterprise social computing could ignore record keeping, but this was actually raised by a government organisation who attended the conference. I think the problem is I haven't seen any integration between real "conversational" collaboration tools (e.g. not SharePoint) and EDRM systems. Of course if someone can give me some examples I'd be interested to look at them!

  3. My thoughts on this...if social computing is being done within the enterprise than the content that is generated needs to be deemed as intellectual property and therefore the EDRM solution needs to be agnostic to the content, whether it is a word doc or a blog or an IM transcript, these each need to managed and the appropriate records policies need to be defined. IMHO :-)

  4. The EDRMS should be agnostic, but the challenge is how should that social media content be moved into the EDRMS, when should it happen, how should the content be categorised and who should do this.

  5. thanks for the post, Chief!


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