Researchers at IBM Research and MIT’s Sloan School of Management found that the average e-mail contact was worth $948 in revenue. To unearth that and other data, they used mathematical formulas to analyze the e-mail traffic, address books, and buddy lists of 2,600 IBM consultants over the course of a year. (Their identities were shielded from researchers, who viewed them only as encrypted numbers, known as hash codes.) They compared the communication patterns with performance, as measured by billable hours.
The IBM-MIT study found that consultants with weak ties to a number of managers produced $98 per month less than average. Why? Those employees may move more slowly as they process « conflicting demands from different managers, » the study’s authors write. They suffer from « too many cooks in the kitchen. »
IBM researchers fine-tuned management of industrial supply chains a half-century ago; now their challenge is promoting the flow of knowledge throughout the workforce.
IBM team at the company’s Cambridge (Mass.) labs analyzes methods to introduce employees to colleagues they haven’t yet met. The idea, says researcher Werner Geyer, is to create new connections within the global workforce and to encourage employees to share knowledge. « We want to incent people to participate, » Geyer says. He notes that participation in the network has doubled in the past year.
My overall sense is that the E2.0 problem is not about cost or ROI but about disruption. Time and again it has been shown that blogs/wikis need not require significant business investment. However, the barriers to adoption are a different matter.
Managements I speak with detest the use of ‘social’ in these discussions. To them it smacks of a form of socialism that connotes union control.
What we need therefore is a fresh way to explain how these models can iteratively change business without unleashing mayhem upon the business. We need dedicated programs where change is introduced by example and persuasive argument that ties into business processes people understand.
As always, the secret to long term success depends on management’s ability to maintain a sustained commitment and all that goes with it. The difficulty today is that same management is wondering where the next sale comes from or how cash will be generated
A second set of issues is related to corporate culture and its fundamentally hierarchical nature, which seems anathema to the flattened, highly social nature of Web 2.0 in the enterprise
The central problem? Assets that are intangible, such as knowledge, social capital, and situated technology €” which Enterprise 2.0 is primarily focused on €” rarely have direct impact to financial outcomes such as revenues and profits. Its their downstream effects that generate the most value to the business.
While this often builds up accumulated value by its ability to cascade across a business, it’s very unsatisfying from the traditional perspective of investment in X by spending Y to achieve a predicted return Z.
there are real limits on the ability to direct emergent systems towards focused outcomes. In the end, all one can actually do predictably is enable the possibilities and not prevent them.
Head over to Open Enterprise 2009: Charlene Li Interview and hit play (Or watch it directly here with the embedded link shared below) for an entertaining exchange of some of the following ideas:
1. On Leadership
2. On Bottom-up or Top-Down (This is something I will be blogging about it, too, to share some further insights on the topic)
3. On the Power Shift as Cultural Barrier
4. On Tools
5. On Blogs
6. On 10 Years Ahead
For the “trusted” circle of experts feedback we can say that the biggest topic of the behind the scenes discussions was the dichotomy between orderly processes (read BPM) and the fuzzy world of Social Software (read Enterprise 2.0), how to deal with it, and basically how to tackle the topic at the conference. So while we all shared understanding a nice thread evolved that covered things like:
* How do we prevent that social software works out to be just another “silo” (”build a wiki, and they will come”)?
* How can we integrate social software into existing domains, usage arenas and task specific systems?
* What are the best ways to start with social software in the enterprise?
* How do we ensure that social software implementations turn out to be “complementary and integrative”? Is it a good idea to marry up SNS functionality with BPM software