As the “enterprise 2.0” phenomenon is more and more mature, reflections about “what it it” are being slowly replaced by thought about organization, the financial side, feedbacks and “how can we do it” ?
Even if there are few directrix, there are as many way to succeed than there are many companies, the organizational and management side of enterprise 2.0 making many things depend on the company, its culture, its people. On the other hand, many feedbacks tell us what not to do.
It’s one of the most important points of this McKinsey Survey that, in many ways, corroborates what we can read here and there : there are those who start with an organization and management change driven project and those who start with tools. Said more concretely : there are those who have clear and definined goals and need tools to achieve them and those who jump on a trendy concept and try to make it useful, even if it means naming “pilot team” people with no special concerns, are not very involved and make the new platform become the intranet’s pot plant : it’s nice, it’s pretty, but people have more important things to do than watering it.
The same feeling prevails when talking about social networks, would it be on an employee or client side. In her bookÂ “Groundswell”, Charlene Li tells a similar story. Someone from a big retail store tells us “our competitor is launching an online community, do we have to do the same”. “It depends, what are your purposes ?”. Silence. “What to you want to do ?”. “I don’t know but if they go there we must go there”. The starts it’s a dialogue of the deaf that points out an essential point : the guy has no business driven purprose, he has no idea of what he want to do, what kind of benefits he’s looking for. He only wants to be there.
You may remind of the many posts where I rised up about the bad habits companies have of mistaking means for goals. This is quite a good example : the tool become the purpose while it must only be a mean. So the goal becomes to implement it and once done people realize they don’t use it. Logical since its alignment with with business purposes and organization hasn’t be thought before. Say ROI goodbye !
As Charlene Li says, companies come to do “reverse engeneering” that’s to say finding, a posteriori, a way to make tools useful. It’s time and ressource consuming, it causes uncertainty and in the best case it brings a shaky project that won’t survive the first evaluation.
Knowing old recipes often do great job, I prefer “breakdown” methodology. We start with a problem and then start to translate it into assumption : to achieve my goal it supposes that… then start again with each point : this is true assuming…. It allows us to validate what’s to be down, what’s possible and what has to be made possible. Then tools will appear where they should, being a part of the solution, we’ll know what they will be used for, what they support and what’s needed to make people use them.
On the other hand, companies have to avoid what I call self-medication : no diagnostic is made to find the real cause and they take the first trendy medecine. Notice that it’s not peculiar to enterprise 2.0. “Hello Doctor, could you prescribe me those nice pink pills ?”. “What do you suffer from”. “Well…I don’t know…but they look nice and taste well. Tell me what they cure, I’ll find symptoms later”. In the best case it treats nothing, in the orst case there’s a medical misuse. Everybody looses : the patient who may become really sick, the welfare (or insurance depending on your country 😉 ) that pays for something useless, the doctor who binds his liabilit and the medicine manufacturer who binds its reputation.
So it’s important to remember of basics : ask why before asking hiw and consider any project as a mean and not as a purpose.
Companies don’t have to find in which purpose they may use tools, that’s tools’ job to to serve business purposes.
In brief, we have to move from “web 2.0 powered by enterprise” to “enterprise (em)powered by web 2.0”.