My definition of enterprise 2.0

Enterprise 2.0 is a little bit like the so-called web : everybody’s talking about it without agreeing on a precise definition. I was never satisfied by all the definition I’ve read, even the « official » one.

But there’s a time you have to bring something to the definiton instead of continuously say you’re not satisfied.

So the time has come for me to try, humbly, to set my own definition.

Depending on the moment, on who you read, you’ll learn that enterprise 2.0 is about making people use web 2.0 tools within the enterprise, or that it’s mainly about people, or about collaboration. To make it brief it can be about a lof of things…but about what precisely ? I believe enterprise 2.0 is not about such or such thing, it’s about a lot of things that contributes to building it. Taken separately, none is enough to make an enterprise 2.0. They all interpenetrate, influencing each one the others.

One more thing : enterprise 2.0 is not a state of the enterprise, it’s a dynamic. You can’t look at a photo and say « it’s an enterprise 2.0″. To say that it is, you have to look at the way it works. It’s rather a question of means than a question of « final product ». So :

Enterprise 2.0 is the implementation of a set of means.

A little bit light for a defintion, isn’t it ?By « means » I understant tools in the technical way, managerial tools, process… But everybody agree that enterprise 2.0 is people-centric : the individual is set at the center of the enterprise, and he’s the one who support the new practices. Means are here to support practices.

Enterprise 2.0 is the implementation of a set of means that support the forming of people-driven dynamics.

Here we have the levers and the people-centric aspects that was impossible to neglect. But I’m far from being really satisfied. What do we do with those dynamics ? We’re in an enterprise, not in a hollyday resort ! Of course we can say they’re dedicated to performance…but it’s always the same old theme. Tell me what, in an enterprise, is not justified by the pursue of performance ? And it’s not specific to enterprise 2.0…even enterprise 1.0 has the same goals. In fact, what have changed are the performance levers. That’s the reason why we want enterprise to work differently. Beyond the implied concept of performance, what’s important is to take those new levers into account. And that allows to link directly with strategy !

Enterprise 2.0 is the implementation of a set of means that support the forming of people-driven dynamics in order to adapt the enterprise to the challenges of knowledge economy.

, That sounds better, doesn’t it ? What has no goals has no sense. Including the goals in the definition will allow, when working on the means, not to get lost and always have the final goal in sight. And there’s no good or bad means, they will be different depending on cases, what’s important is to align them on the strategic goal. I repeat it again : making people use blogs and wikis, change rules, have no sense by themselves, what’s important is to improve performance in a new, everchanging and destabilizing context.

That’s also sounds interesting…means and dynamics are different, depending on the concerned company and its context. As a matter of fact, according to the economic sector, the culture and the history of the company, it will be wise not to draw the concept of enterprise 2.0 to the same extent, neihter at the same speed. The goal is to improve performance today and build the conditions of performance for tomorrow…not to jeopardize the company (I’m sorry for dreamers…but the principle of reality as to be applied here).

That’s not superfluous : we’ve seen to many remedies that were worse than what the disease they were supposed to treat. That’s not a limit but a matter of success. No one can change an enterprise culture just by deciding to do so : the culture has to be respected and taken into account…and it will change slowly at its own rythm. If necessary.

Enterprise 2.0 is the implementation of a set of means that support the forming of people-driven dynamics in order to adapt the enterprise to the challenges of knowledge economy under the constraint of its culture and context.

Finally I’m happy with that :

- an oecumenical definition that allows you to include all kind of relevant levers without focusing arbitrarily on a specific one.

- taking into account the principle of reality : each enterprisehas its fears and its stakes which transcend current mutations. We have to deal with that not to create a situation that’s worse than the starting point, not to create the fear of embracing a necessary change. People are at the center of the system but we mustn’t forget enterprise is at the center of the concern.

- alignment on a stragic goal, which stake is understandable par everyone.

- a definition « in motion » : enterprise 2.0 is about dynamics, not about a state.

We’re often told that enterprise 2.0 is also made necessary by social pressure and the emergence of generation Y in companies. They need to find at work tools and practices they have in their private sphere. I believe it’s really relevant since we all know which dramatical consequences could raise from a gap between enterprise and society. Any HR manager knows because he has to bridge the gap between generations and prepare his enterprise for the future.

So as a conclusion :
Enterprise 2.0 is the implementation of a set of means that support the forming of people-driven dynamics in order to adapt the enterprise to the challenges of knowledge economy and societal evolution under the constraint of its culture and context.
Sorry…no way to make it shorter.

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