My first takes on Enterprise 2.0 conference

Here are my first takes after one day of workshop about adoption best practices and one of conference. That’s a quick overview and I’ll take time to go deeper into it once I’m back in Paris. To be as clear as possible I’ll tackle the topic taking three view points : vision, methodology and cases.

1°) Vision

It seems that enterprise 2.0 is now at the crossroads. On the one hand the well known discourse on social media adoption within the workplace, the “it’s about people” and, on the other hand, a vague feeling of emptyness as if something was missing. It’s  like after having pushed the 100% human, informal, unstructured thing to its limit, people (finally ?) realize that the model had its limits or that it was possible to go further and have a discours and a value propostion that fit more “real” companies expectations. By “real” I mean those who have not one many visionnaries on their board, not a passionate and talented project manager and not a culture that’s open to change.

Two meaningful things have to be mentioned. SAP came to talk about “connecting people to processes” and one of the teachings from the session led by Oliver Marks and Dennis Howlett is that content and context have to be embeded into business processes and that that is the current missing link in enterpise 2.0. While Howlett is oftened said being “on the enterprise 2.0 borderline” and tend to have a sceptical discourse, there are evidences his pragmatism brings a needed pragmatism and common sense in the field of dreams.

If I consider this regarding to my the speech I gave last week in Milan on “bringing conversations into proceses to get the most out of your human capital) I think we are facing a major issue that, if not dealt with, will bring back enterprise 2.0 to the category of the nice ideas that seldom worked because of lack of realism.

Second point : the internal/external barrier is collapsing : organizations think in terms of ecosystem and marketplace and considering the inside and the outside of the company as watertight bubbles is not possible anymore. But I already mentioned that here. Anyway, there’s a point really worht being mentioned : nobody talks about intranets anymore. A sign ?

Conclusion : enterprise 2.0 is at the end of a stage and is taking a breath before going into the next one. Definitively a tipping point. If we don’t want this transition moment to become a boring trip that leads to the cemetary we’ll have to put  our hands deep in business processes and admit one thing : the in-the-flow approach is the one to start with when addressing average organizations. If this move is understood, enterprise 2.0 may be skyrocketing very soon.

2°) Method

That’s the logic consequence of what’s above. After the “community and passion” period, a more rational approach seems to be emerging, more business process oriented. Moreover, during the excellent adoption council workshop, Schneider Electric was very clear : “meet users and solve their pains tackling business processes”. Compared to CSC, last year’s rockstar, an interesting evolution can be seen. CSC had a “business problem solving approach” that makes them impressively successful compared to those who only had a “connect, socialize and wait” approach. Schneider is going one step further, tackling business processes. Let them manage their project and look how it’s doing in one year.

On the other hand more attention is becoming to be paid to European HR and legal issues that were often overlooked in the past and are the reason why our organizations started a little bit slower.

3°) Cases

This conference is definitively consistant. Except the confirmations of last years successes (CSC for instance) I did not see this year (at the time I’m writing…we’re only at the beginning) the case that would have made me fall down of my chair. That’s normal : since many adoption best practices are known and have been gathered and consolidated, many cases now look alike and, to some extent, banalisation is a proof of success. On the other hand I’m looking forward to seing more advanced business process driven methodologies and the results they brought (next year ?). I think that enterprise 2.0 hav mostly been experienced by convinced organizations till then and that we now need a model for the rational-sceptic ones. What’s funny is that these new methodologies may look like what’s currently being done in Europe where we quickly had to deal with such organizations and had to adapt consequently.

What if the next enterprise 2.0 rockstars would be european ? French, Italian, German ? I would only be half surprised. After a very slow start that is usual in our contries and the very long work that has to be made beforehand considering legal, hr and cultural issues, I’m sure many “nice” things will emerge soon.

Besides that, a very competent person in the enterprise 2.0 field told me :”maybe you’re right, we lack concrete business results measurement”. Me : “I’m sure these results are often there, but sometimes we don’t measure the right things or refuse to implement relevant new indicators“. If any project aims at improving the performance of a business process, you only have to measure its delivery, what is concrete and understandable by any business. If the 2.0 approach is applied to something that has nothing to do with value creation, then things get really complicated.

To be continued

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