It’s all very well telling my friends on facebook what I cooked for lunch yesterday, the information is available to all and may even be read by someone who is interested (thanks Mum!), however there are many constraints around sharing what I do at work. I work within a regulated industry which means there is strong governance protecting the privacy and confidentiality of things I work on, as well as commercial considerations impacting what I may be inadvertently sharing with competitors.
Queensland Rail has adopted enterprise 2.0 principles as they’ve implemented their social media strategy to engage with the public.
QR are putting place an open 2-way communication channel with commuters who identify issues, ask questions and debate new service changes initiatives. Someone about to catch their morning train to work will know if there are delays on the service as a result of other commuters tweets, as well as official updates from QR. This strategy has held fast even when this means the company is open to public criticism; which has meant they are gaining the benefits of applying web 2.0 principles to support their corporate strategy to build a stronger relationship with their communities.
Closer to home, I find one of the difficulties of working in an application development team in a large non-IT organisation is that software development work can happen in isolation leaving teams to create solutions and overcome challenges that may have already been tackled. This is inefficient and counterproductive and yet it is not easy to identify what existing work may be valuable for the team I work in. One of the leaders has come up with away to address this through adopting enterprise 2.0 principles by organising ‘Geekfest’, a 2-day showcase of work being done in development teams across the organisation.
Geekfest is adopting the principles (as described by Don Tapscott) :
- Openness: The event is open to developers, business users, management and anyone who is interested in attending. The event is advertised, discussed and planned over Yammer and Sharepoint, these are corporate wide collaboration tools.
- Peering: Each showcase is run by software developers aimed at their fellow engineers to share information. Much of the value comes from the hallway discussions during the event as well as from the more formal presentations.
- Sharing: The content of each showcase is shared at the event and then re-used for focussed internal presentations, newsletter articles and joint development (fedex) days.
- Acting Global: From an individual team member perspective we get a wider view of work going on in the organisation; so while this isn’t the same reach as Goldcorp’s 50 countries, within the constraints of protecting corporate information and security, it has a wide reach.
Some of the challenges to adoption as identified by Ross Dawson’s book on Implementing Enterprise 2.0 include Scale, IT security, Identity, Information loss, Auditability. The structure of the event address these challenges through disseminating content through a physical presence on site, that is, stalls and face-to-face discussions; and holding the event across multiple physical locations.
One of the key challenges faced by companies is justifying the investment in IT systems and cultural change to support the adoption of Enterprise 2.0. The very nature of Enterprise 2.0 is emergent outcomes, that is valuable outcomes that cannot be predicted in advance. Most companies are reluctant to invest in initiatives that they cannot be confident of an acceptable return on investment. Perhaps this is why Web 2.0 applications are leading the way, breaking down barriers to use and driving a cultural shift where individuals can see the benefits of collective intelligence. Enterprise 2.0 adoption is being built on an awareness of the benefits of web 2.0.
I always enjoy reading about a couple of mates building a web 2.0 platform that builds up a global userbase; I like to imagine I could do this and retire at an early age to the Amalfi coast. While researching case-studies for Enterprise 2.0 adoption I notice a common theme of executive level support driving this change, I wonder if we’re still to see technology and culture within corporations support the innovation driven by a couple of members of the community … or are the challenges just too great?