Culture starts with the difference between the sales and IT guy

As the Enterprise 2.0 SUMMIT is a European conference, we certainly need to discuss the multi-cultural challenges of introducing E 2.0 in international companies. Last year, Craig Hepburn from the UK hosted the panel consisting of E 2.0 experts from all over Europe: Bertrand Duperrin/France, Mark Masterson/Germany, Emanuele Quintarelli/Italy and Dr. Frank Schoenefeld/Germany.
Here is last year’s video of the session:

In the following I have listed the aspects that I found most remarkable and interesting in this discussion:

  • Cultural differences do not only occur on a geographical level, i. e. between people from different countries, but also between a sales guy and someone from the IT department.
  • A big challenge for Enterprise 2.0 is measuring its value: How do we account for people who benefit from E 2.0 without actively participating themselves? Some people from other cultures benefit from a collaborative environment, e. g. because they can easily find the information they need/solve a problem etc. But you cannot see or measure that value, because these people do not actively bring themselves in and do not want to speak out.
  • Mark experienced an interesting pattern at CSC: For whatever reason, blogs (that address a huge, not-specified number of recipients) are more used by collegues with an Anglosaxon background while tools for discussions (where you address a limited, specified number of recipients) were used by people from all kinds of nations. So different people from different nations seem to prefer using different kinds of tools.
  • We should spend more time understanding the different cultures and include that knowledge into the process of the developing a (flexible) software. The ultimate, perfect solution would of course be a system in which the end users themselves can make it fit them better via feedback loops.

This year, Bertrand Duperrin will be the host for the discussion on how to overcome cultural boundaries for Enterprise 2.0. An interview with him on his views and expectations for this year’s Enterprise 2.0 SUMMIT is about to follow soon.