A quick look at my predictions for 2009 makes me say that I was not so far from truth even if it took time for things to shift. In my opinion, the tipping point between 2008 and 2009 was the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston and things accelerated at the San Francisco Conference and then at the E2.0 Summit in Frankfurt. By the way, it makes me say that, to whom wonders if conferences of this kind are still relevant since we can discuss all year long, the right answer that they formalize the way trends are evolving.
This said, here’s what I see as the majors trends for 2010 and my intuition tells me that the key dates will still be the same. I’ll consider 3 different levels : concep, implementation and tools in this order. As a matter of fact, if the way one implements things depends of what the concepts means to him, I thing that companies will more and more chose their tools depending on their implementation strategy instead of building strategies constrained by what a given tool is good or bad at depending on its conception.
The concept : enterprise 2.0 as a new layer
Before wondering how to do something, having a clear vision of what this something is matters. The least we could say is that the end of 2009 was very rich in terms of experience and thoughts. Is it about making people use new tools for the sake of making them used ? Is it about (over)connecting people, relying on the assumption that their deep nature will make them naturally develop a community feeling and change their business practices and behaviors ? Obviously both one and the other failed.
Less idealistic but more pragmatic, enterprise 2.0 appears more and more as a productivity tool. In a world “1.0”, individual and collective productivity used to rely on specialization, tailoring tasks at an individual level, rigid processes and fight against any kind of deviation. In such a system the value is…in the system and its conception. In a world “2.0” characterized by an intensive use of knowledge, value isn’t only in processes anymore but in knowledge and people who have it. So, doing one’s work, delivering results, becomes not only a matter of respecting the process but also a matter of accessing information and people that are out of the process. To do so, people need tools and practices that won’t necessarily replace what exists but add to it.
Enterprise 2.0 is a set of tools and practices aiming at increasing the scope of the human and informational capital thatâ€™s accessible and usable in order to execute everydayâ€™s processes and workflows and deliver the expected work in the assigned time limit. Itâ€™s not build outside or in replacement for workflows and business processes but around them.
It still need to be refined but the trend is here. Companies are here to produce things and we can’t neglect this structuring dimension. So enterprise 2.0 is nothing but a new layer that helps to maximize the use resources that are poorly exploited at this time. It’s a layer made of practices and tools that help anyone to access and engage what and whom is needed to achieve his goals. That brings us back to the concept of systems, Service Oriented Organization and Wirearchy.
So the central issue becomes the articulation between existing things and novelty. I’ll discuss that in the next point. For those who got interested in the recent enterprise 2.0 schism discussion, it’s, in my opinion, the victory of the druckerian model.
Maybe 2010 will be one of the last years of the word “enterprise 2.0”. Knowing that it’s a new layer that helps businesses to achieve their primary goal, that articulation is central, we’re obvious talking about “enterprise” without versioning number and how it will do “old things” in a new context. Enterprise 2.0 has no value outside of enterprise and thinking it out of this whole will bring nothing concrete.
Last consequence : the rupture with the world of web 2.0 which logics and vocabulary are the opposite of what companies are. The web will still be source of inspiration and will open the way. But, for the rest, web 2.0 and enterprise 2.0 are two really different worlds and each of them will have its own life. Two worlds that inspire one another but that can’t copy.
Implementation : value first !
This refined concept will have many consequences on adoption methodologies. Depending the priority is given to tools or people, people and sequences of action differ. Tools can be deployed and then wait for people to use them, or connections and interactions can be stimulated, and then wait if it produce any value. But since, as I say, the third way (the organizational one) will prevail, let’s guess what its impacts will be.
Organization exists to efficiently create value. That’s its purpose. Saying that, pushing tools or practices and waiting to see what happens, how (in if) things will be used and adopted is not possible anymore. On the contrary, it’s about starting from a real operational issue in people’s day to day work and from people’s need to define and implement the right tools and practices.
At the last Enterprise 2.0 summit, I was in the discussion that followedÂ Oliver Marks‘s opening keynot. The topic was ‘where’s the value” and my answer was quite simple : businesses were built to create value through workflows and processes that turn the productive potential into tangible and measurable value. If the quantity, the quality and the relevance of the resources that are used to fuel this mechanism is improved, execution is improved and the value is obvious. If not linked to operations, social activities create at best a huge potential of value that will never be exploited.
Still at this conference,Â Gil Yehuda warned us about . The point is not to have fun with a new project and wait for benefits to emerge but to identify what those who are at the center of execution issues need.
So there will be (and I’ll discuss that in some next posts) a shift toward organization and value driven methodologies that will replace tools and people driven ones (these last being a part of the first, but not the only ones.
Find a real problem to solve and, then, align tools and practices. Help people to build their social routine…but not only. Pulling projects according to value instead of pushing them hoping they’ll find a problem to solve. In brief, it’s about taking the adoption issue in the reverse direction,starting from sense and alignment.
Last consequence : companies will work on real business indicators, beyons social activity metrics, and measure the operational impact beyond social dynamics.
ToolsÂ : two worlds and many connections
If we follow this logic, it appears that enterprise 2.0 is the joining of two worlds : the world of socio-collaborative management and the world of community management. Each is about a given field of value and need specific practices. So we can deduce that each of them may need a given kind of tools. So companies will ask for tools that match their approach instead of holdalls with which they can harldy find their way. It will be up to vendors to provide tools that fit each kind of need instead of tackling one with a tools designed for the other. Businesses have learned a lot and will now kasd for tools that match tjeir needs instead of finding needs that match what a given tools can do. A transition before the consolidation that will come after 2011.
In practical words, the “world of socio-collaborative management” will be asking for “activity-specific social application”, what Hutch Carpenter calls Social Software 2.0. After some tries, the first good example of such an application comes with Salesforce Chatter. Let’s be sure that, tomorrow, all ERP and BPM vendors will have their Chatter-like. Knowing these vendors have the lead on everything’s about processes, they are at the best place to push a social component that enriches the way people execute processes. That’s for “social on the flow” that is a part of people’s day to day tasks.
On the other side, for the “world of community management”, we’ll find the traditional players of the current enterprise 2.0, mostly conversational and community driven. That’s for “social over the flow” that as about activities that adds to what people are hired for.
Between both, bridges have to be built. Technical bridges to make information travel all around the organization without redundancy. Organizational bridges to organize the exchanges between the two worlds : when does one need to ask something to the other, when does an information need to be pushed from the one to the other, who’s in charge….
Then comes the “global” infrastructure because each employee may have access to the 2.0 world and not all of them have to use a process tool in their everyday job. Here’s the playground for the usual suspects, IBM and Microsoft who can provide “one size fits all” things that the businesses can complete with the above mentioned tools to address specific needs.
A workflow can be tooled with a traditional “community tool” provided people are very disciplined. ConversationsÂ may happen in Sharepoint or Connections but specific tools will be needed if businesses want to open their spaces to customers, partners and even to the general public. And the best way to do “social on the flow” is to start from the tools that gives structure to the flow.
A 2.0 infrastructure “good enough” for everybody + advanced community tools + activity specific applications + improved integration. That’s how the landscape may look like, knowing that depending on the context, the industry…. the mix can be slightly different.
“Bonus” trend : councils everywhere
I’ll end with a very promising trend. I already wrote about the 2.0 adoption Council. After only 6 months it’s obvious that this group that facilitates exchanges between internal practitioners brings a lot of value to its members. I also read that someone suggested “local councils” to deal better with local cultural issues. Even inside organizations, I think that internal councils will be a must-have to optimize best practices discussions among managers. Having the three would perfectly shape all kinds of needs : global ones, cultural issues and internal issues that can’t always be shared with the outside.
A good way to speed up implementation while avoiding errors.
2010 in a few words ? Activity specific, value, social on the flow, integration councils.
2010 will be the year when enterprises will start building their 2.0 starting from their context instead of trying to buid themselves copying the web.
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