Successful Enterprise 2.0 and Social Media: Speech at KMWorld 2007


Today I am speaking at KMWorld 2007 in Silicon Valley on Successful Enterprise 2.0 and Social Media. The speech is based on Future Exploration Network’s Web 2.0 Framework, and how the framework can be applied to setting and implementing successful strategies for Enterprise 2.0.

I’ve provided the slideshow below, mainly for people who attend my presentation. As a speaker, I don’t believe in duplicating all the content of the speech in a presentation – slides should be visual cues to accompany what I am speaking about. So if you weren’t at the speech, don’t expect the presentation to make complete sense on its own, though you can get the general gist of the ideas and content by flipping through.

Alternatively download the slides as a pdf (2.9MB)

Here is a summary of the key points of the presentation:

Web 2.0 is “distributed technologies built to integrate, that collectively transform mass participation into valuable outcomes.” So in applying Web 2.0 inside organizations, it is critical to foster participation, to know what outcomes are valuable, and to understand how to enable the mechanisms that transform that participation into those outcomes.

Collaborative filtering is not a new concept, but still one of the best ways of thinking about transforming participation into knowledge workers getting the right information at the right time to do their work effectively.

Power to the user is not just a phenomenon of the open web, it’s also one of the key design factors of the next phase of enterprise technology. Mashups are already moving from the world wide web to the enterprise. The intention should be to enable users to bring together data and application in ways that suit them, without any help or technical expertise required.

Enterprise social networks are probably the area of greatest attention in Enterprise 2.0 currently, with the massive rise in the use of Facebook across the board putting the issue on the agenda whether senior executives like it or not. Beside the initial choices of ignoring, banning, or encouraging the use of Facebook on company time, there are many useful approaches to leveraging people’s comfort with social networks into value to organizations.

Organizations = media. Increasingly, the best way to understand how any organization works is as a media entity. Organizations create messages and information, take inputs from external media sources, and edit and publish content in an increasing diversity of formats, with email and the intranet often predominant. Their employees are typical media consumers (and creators), deluged by choice, and often ineffective at cutting through with their own communication. As such, the current state of the media industry offers many lessons for organizations seeking to be more effective and productive.

As a result, there are six lessons on Enterprise 2.0:

1. It is about the architecture. Introducing individual and small group collaboration tools such as blogs, wikis, and virtual worlds can be useful for those who use them. However there is far more value to be gained from creating an architecture whereby activities across the enterprise are aggregated to create higher levels of value.

2. Capture inputs. Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 are founded on people’s inputs, so these must be captured in both explicit (opinions) and implicit (behaviors) forms. People should readily be able to contribute in any way including tagging, rating, social bookmarking and beyond, and the information captured in such a way that it can be applied within the enterprise architecture (see point 1), particularly noting people’s profiles, roles, and current activities.

3. Create relevance. Generic search is very limiting. People should be presented with information that is relevant to them and what they are doing. This is made possible by the profile-type information mentioned in point 2. Unless you design information systems to make their outputs personally relevant, worker effectiveness will be constrained.

4. Establish guidelines. Guidelines need to be created on a number of fronts. The immediate issues include how employees use public social networks, open blogs and external applications that may have security risks. Beyond that, privacy is becoming a fundamental issue, where employees need to have complete clarity on what information is and isn’t captured and how it is used.

5. Enable Do-It-Yourself applications. The future is in having knowledge workers almost never having to put in a request to IT again, but instead being able to address almost all of their information issues by recombining data and applications available inside and outside the organization to create the results that are useful to them.

6. Experiment! There are no answers yet. Despite the increasing number of case studies of organizations that are successfully using social media and Enterprise 2.0 tools, we are very far from having final answers or 3 step plans for success. Every organization is different, the technology landscape is rapidly evolving, and companies must work out for themselves how the most value will be created. However not participating is not really an option. That is a choice for limiting organizational effectiveness and productivity, while competitors move ahead. The harder – yet more exciting, fun, and rewarding – path of implementing Enterprise 2.0 is becoming an imperative.