Enteprise 2.0 is doing old things in a new way

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When having to say “what’s enterprise 2.0”, we can be either dreamer or pragmatic. I’m not against the will to reivent the enterprise but I can hardly guess which goals can be assigned to such a project. Whatever the “mission statement” is, would it be “change the world” or “provide people with the best experience”, the goal ramin the same : sell and make profits. A GM 2.0 will still sell cars, Air France 2.0 will still sell travels, IBM 2.0 will still sell software, hardware and services. Starting from this point, we have conclude that enterprise 2.0 is not about reinventing enterprise, which is not more than gathering people means, and organization in ordrer to reach its goals. I hardly see what can be changed : to sell car you’ll have to create, conceive, produce (or have it done), assemble, distribute… them. The same logic can be repeated everywhere, and that leaves a very narrow narrow margin to reinvent what en enterprise is. Fundamentals will remain.

On the other hand, what will change is rather the way things will be done in order to take the most of a new kind of fuel : information.

Way things are done because enterprises have to react faster, connect narrow and scattered expertises, solve problems rather than “do things”, not repeat the same things endlessly but being able to bring new solutions to always new questions.

Way to take the most of a new kind of fuel because information, knowledge (one’s but also other’s) are key into a problem solving oriented working system. And we’re forced to recognize that, when talking about harnessing, exploiting what we can call the enterprise’s memory and making it availabe to all employees, enterprises are very far from the goal. The same conclusion can be made about identifying people who detain the needed knowledge.

So I totally subsribe to Jay Deragon’s point of view : what will change is not what we do but the way we do it. It also reminds us that social tools are tools before being social and, as says Jay, one key success factor is to position tools at the operative level. It’s also a good occasion to repeat that if a social media project is not align with strategy it will create no value. Alain Fernandez, a famous french blogger about performance issues, said it wisely, about another kind of project but his words still make sense here.

In no way such a project can be started after having bumped into the business needs, met a convincing consultant or a hard to please client.

Managing social media and enterprise 2.0 by making them support traditionnel operative business functions is essential for many reasons : their benefits can be tangibly assessed, the path between the project, the way people work and financial stakes is clearly visible, the project can be driven by objectives instead of waiting for things to happen, and tools are dedicated to real needs because means won’t be mistaken for goals anymore.

Saying that, it takes us back to strategy maps.

To make it short, the goal is not to change everything but to what’s always been done in a better and more efficient way.