Is enterprise 2.0 a Pandora’s box ?

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Summary : at the beginning, enterprise 2.0 used to be seen as the solution to all the problems organizations have accumulated without challenging them frontally. One thing leading to another, the solution turned out to be more complex to implement than expected. In the end it appears that, to make enterprise 2.0 work, we need to tackle…the problems enterprise 2.0 should have solved. In fact enterprise 2.0 only made businesses face their challenges and responsibilities. In fact neither enterprise or social business were the solution. Only principles that help solving the problems businesses can’t overlook anymore.

Some will find ironic, some that it’s a well deserved backfire. But facts are what they are and there’s something juicy in the evolution of enterprise 2.0, social business and all the other concepts avout the modern, digital and networking organization. Something that will reinforce those who think that success never comes by luck and that the time ever comes when one has to face the real problems…and solve them.

The reasons why organizations need to evolve, transform their models are numerous and known. Some are more relevant than others but that isn’t my point today. Everyone used to know that it was not  about organizational makeover but about plunging one’s hands deeply into the systems of the enterprise and cleaning up the mess that’s been conscientiously bult over decades by pilling up layers, making things more complicated instead of simplifying them. An obvious need. But it’s as least as obvious that according to the extent of the work to be done, everyone has logically tried to find the magic wand that could solve everything without having to face all these challenges frontally. And the more the work is delayed because no wand has been found, the more the work will be incredibly hard when the day will come to tackle these challenges, magic wand or not.

So enterprise 2.0 came like a piece of holy bread. Employees would adopt the right virtuous effective behaviors and practices, allowing to be more effective today, to prepare for the future, strengthen social cohesion…naturally and spontaneously. Provided they’re provided with the right tools. Nothing to change, no need to get one’s hands dirty, no political or human issues…just another layer that does not impact the basis, the basics, the cornerstones, the system and everything will change.

The gamble was tempting. And it was tried.

So it quickly became clear that adoption was not obvious at all. So a lot of energy was spent to make it happen. Then businesses realized that making people adopt tools was not working…except by promoting an artificial activity that justified the investment made in technology but generated few benefits for the organization. Then the focus was put on usages…and the conclusion was it was a matter of sense, alignment and system. After all it became clear that organizations had to work on…all the dust they tried to kept hidden under the carpet, expecting enterprise 2.0 to clean it by magic.

Thinking dealing with human and organizational at a low cost, businesses just open the Pandora’s Box that makes them face their own limits, failures and all the work they tried to avoid doing, as well as the extent of what’s to be done.

In fact, enterprise 2.0 and social business were not the solution. Only principles that help solving problems we can’t overlook anymore.