5 key topics to be discussed for a Enterprise 2.0 strategy

While we are still far away from the maturity stage of Enterprise 2.0 in terms of numbers of realized projects, the discussion about the Enterprise 2.0 topic becomes more matured and leads finally beyond talking about the chances and opportunities. This might be a sign of the on-going economic crisis and its urge for a more specific discussion about this topic (see the call for the Reality Check 2.0), but it might also be a result of the emergence of the now gained insights from the first best-practices in this field. The exchange of experiences is a very supportive means for this – as enforced by initiatives like the 2.0 Adoption Council , E20Cases.org and others.

This said – I think it’s time to consolidate the topics to be discussed in regards to improve and enhance Enterprise 2.0 projects. From my research for setting up the conference program of the Enterprise 2.0 SUMMIT – I identified 5 key topics for project leads to take care of:

1) There is only one goal to be achieved: collaborative performance.

Yes – we can talk about changing the our world but at the end of the day we live from what we have achieved on a set of goals.

Keeping this in mind it is the results orientation that is driving a project to success. While the measurement of the return of Enterprise 2.0 activities is more complex than with ordinary business processes it is not unfeasible. 2.0 systems are depending on group dynamics that are not always measurable at first sight (as for example in the case of indirect network effects). Therefore we need new approaches to measure the effects. But in the end it’s all about "performing" as stated in Bruce Tuckman four-stage model called Tuckman’s Stages . In conclusion of this is that the development of a collaborative performance measurement is firstly the key to the argumentation for Enterprise 2.0 initiatives as well as the "steering" wheel for the success of the project.

2) Keep the interaction alive and kicking with participation & community management

As already said the 2.0 world is depending on group dynamics realized by social software systems that increase transparency on what other group members are doing and ease the way of participation. So changes and transformation is indirectly caused by interactions within the group. The facilitation and guidance of the group’s interaction process is one of the keys to Enterprise 2.0 effects. It is and will never be guaranteed just by the installation and implementation of technology. The management of this facilitation and guidance is a strategic task of the project and therefore highly important as discussed in Dion’s post on "Community Management: The ‘essential’ capability of successful Enterprise 2.0 efforts" . The conception of the participation & community management is the operational structure for this kind of projects.

3) Set the right environment variables to new forms of organizational schemes and leadership models.

As we are talking about a new way of operational structure within Enterprise 2.0 activities we also have to have a look at the organizational structure. While the traditional organizational structure is based on the concepts of bureaucracy best-practices of Enterprise 2.0 initiatives show that they are better off if they are structured by the ideas of adhocracy . This implies new forms of organizational schemes and models of leadership.

As taken from the Wikipedia the concept of adhocracy leads to the following characteristics of the organizational setup that have to be discussed:

  • highly organic structure
  • little formalization of behavior
  • job specialization based on formal training
  • a tendency to group the specialists in functional units for housekeeping purposes but to deploy them in small, market-based project teams to do their work
  • a reliance on liaison devices to encourage mutual adjustment, the key coordinating mechanism, within and between these teams
  • low standardization of procedures, because they stifle innovation
  • roles not clearly defined
  • selective decentralization
  • work organization rests on specialized teams
  • power-shifts to specialized teams
  • horizontal job specialization
  • culture based on democratic and non-bureaucratic work

4) Be aware of the complexity of changing the game

As derived from the first three topics the implementation and adoption of Enterprise 2.0 concepts within the organization implies a cultural change process at some level (dependent of the scope of the project!). Therefore the management or (as some may say no to a cultural change management) better the facilitation of the process of a cultural change is another key to the success of these projects.

I would like to cite Stuart French at this point :

The key here is that while culture is not a “thing” to be managed, it is certainly undergoing constant transformation. As mentioned earlier, the real power of a cognitive view of culture comes from a change of perspective. If we can learn to see that cultural issues are complex and highly contextual and that intra- and cross-cultural interactions are actually collaborative, mutual learning experiences (Holden, 2002, p.54), then managing both the opportunities and pitfalls simply becomes an issue of knowledge management, specifically networking, knowledge sharing and collaborative (or organisational) learning (Holden, 2002, p.52).

So therefore adoption is a reciprocal process of a) the guidance and governance of the interaction from an organizational perspective while letting people the freedom to take up the group action from a personal perspective and b) the feedback of the outcome of a).

Matthew Hudgson has put together a great diagram of the "Meta theory of social computing tools adoption within Enterprise 2.0".

5) Discuss the scope of Enterprise 2.0 beyond blogs & wikis

While the scope of the discussions around Enterprise 2.0 is mainly focussed on facilitating the generic collaborative processes within the enterprise we have to look beyond this to get the big picture.

Susan Scrupski has drafted a first scene of what has to be viewed in a conjoint way:

These are my takes from my research. As a conclusion I would say it is still a long way to go before we can clearly write down a handbook on Enterprise 2.0. But the discussions are getting more focussed on theses key topics and with the Enterprise 2.0 SUMMIT on Nov 11 & 12 we are trying to support this as we have chosen these topics to be the underlying themes of the sessions within our Expert Talks Track .

But tell me what are you thinking about this?

PS for those that may be interested in coming to the E2.0 SUMMIT: Get your ticket now and register with a 200 EUR discount on the full conference pass until Oct 11 with the promotional code "e2open200". http://www.e20summit.com/registration.html

UPDATE: Updated Susan’s diagram with the final version!

  1. DeltaKnowledge says:

    Thanks for posting this Bjoern. The key my research seemed to show was that there were two main feedback loops for broad wiki uptake. The tangible one, coming out of the hierarchical structure of the company seemed to play a part in the financial justification of the wiki and often included metrics like Knowledge sharing KPIs, etc, however whether the wiki was successful or not (ie: transitioned to broad use within the company) seemed to be more related to the intangible side where spontaneous participation was mostly motivated by soft benefits rather than financial ones.It would be good to hear of other’s experiences in this area.

    Please note, my study focused on small businesses which I found highly suited to the less structured nature of wiki technologies. The above chart may or may not be relevant for large enterprise.

    Stuart French

    This comment was originally posted on Notes about the E2.0 SUMMIT

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