The app side of Enterprise 2.0

Posted: February 16, 2010 in Enterprise 2.0
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

I’m a firm believer that Enterprise 2.0 is all about communications. It may be a bland statement, but it also emphasizes the fact that Enterprise 2.0 is first and foremost defined by an organizational culture in which communication in the form of dialogue flows freely and without constraints. That’s the very basic concept. It defines itself through organizations whose management understands that information is not power if kept to the chosen few, but if dispersed and enriched as a premise for collaboration. Another core premise for a true Enterprise 2.0 culture is that it’s actively endorsed, supported, sponsored (call it whatever you want) by top management (preferably the CEO).

Meanwhile, we are now blessed with software and services, which can actually make the Enterprise 2.0 dream come true. Now, I have worked with knowledge management software since 1999 (when one of my customers accidentally fell in love with a very rudimentary learning system from SAP and wanted to use it for sharing of general company knowledge) and things have changed very dramatically since then. Back then we all had rather wet dreams about collaboration, but the whole culture of sharing, voting, rating, commenting, blogging and microblogging was still not around. A lot of the services which are now possible, wouldn’t have been possible, simply because people (employees) weren’t culturally and mentally ready for the leap. Web 2.0 helped change all that. A friend of mine recently said that we used to be inspired by software used at work and would introduce it onto our private computers, but now the trend has reversed and we are increasingly far more innovative privately and push to get the same software and services at work.

Jive’s product video below illustrates this point quite well. It addresses itself to the average guy who wants the social aspect back into his work life…

We really have a lot to thank the likes of Facebook, MySpace, Friends Reunited and LinkedIn for. Without them paving the way we wouldn’t be anywhere near the push and adoption rates we’re looking at right now. I recently took part in a conference about corporate social media and a speaker representing a company having introduced some elements of Enterprise 2.0 said the major push had come from the employees. Amazing – imagine if that had happened back in the old ERP days. That was when the mere mention of an ERP implementation was enough to make people quit and flee the company :-)

Anyway, I’m drifting and my intention in this blog post was to talk about the “app side of Enterprise 2.0”. Now that we have established that Enterprise 2.0 isn’t *just* a software suite you can roll out and, Bob’s your uncle, you have a communicative and collaborative company, we can move on to talk about those types of applications which can help fulfill the dream.

I generally categorize Enterprise 2.0 apps into these categories (but that’s just my slant on it – I’d love to hear your views):

  • Microblogs
  • Blogs (written and video)
  • Wikis
  • Chat/instant messaging
  • Collaborative tagging (folksonomy) of all internal and external content
  • Rating and commenting capabilities (for blogs, links, documents, images, people)
  • Profile pages (personal and skills content)
  • Merit awards/levels
  • Collaborative development of content
  • Groups
  • Network sharing (internal follow and view external contacts)

There are some really good narrow services like Yammer for microblogging, which are very widely adopted. And then there are whole suites incorporating more areas. At this stage I generally find that the narrow services are more cutting edge, but the downside is that you have to start looking at several point solutions.

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Comments
  1. Hi Ole,
    Where do you see technologies like Google Wave and other tools supporting the protocol (Novel pulse and 12sprints). I see that as a combination as blogs and wikies, but it also spans the collaborative dev of content.

    Daniel Graversen

  2. olekassow says:

    Hi Daniel

    That’s a very good observation. I have dabbled with Google Wave and have actually used it to complete one small assignment (but must admit I’m nowhere near your level of expertise).

    I see collaborative services gaining more and more ground, because now they have moved far beyond avantgarde and actually work for the average knowledge worker. I think a major push for these technologies will come from the users.

    I look forward to following your work with Google Wave.

    Ole

  3. Nice post although I am not sure if one can separate the suggested categories as you do. These are merely functions which are very much overlapping. This is the reason why we have integrated and connected many of these functions inside LumoFlow (www.lumoflow.com) to enable more information transparency and better communication.

    Btw what do you mean by “narrow services being more cutting edge”?

    Greetings,

    Bart @ Lumo Research

  4. olekassow says:

    Hi Bart

    It’s always tricky to agree on functional boundaries in the app space. I have a long history of working with SAP and Microsoft solutions and their functional boundaries have shifted a lot over time. In the Enterprise 2.0 space it literally happens constantly and it’s a 24/7 job to stay abreast of things.

    I find that grouping the functional areas is a useful way to talk to companies about their requirements and priorities, even if, as you quite rightly point out, there are overlapping areas. I’d certainly welcome your take on the list.

    As for cutting edge my experience is that new functional areas are usually introduced by (smaller) companies with a narrow offering. These companies tend to broaden their offerings and some “end up” being wall-to-wall service providers. It is my impression from assessing a host of solutions that the broadest players tend not to be cutting edge visionaries in more than 1 or 2 areas, which means they are early adopters or followers in other areas. There’s nothing wrong with that per se, but it important for buyers to be aware of that.

    I’d love to hear more about Lumoflow. Do you have an intro video?

    Ole

  5. Thanks Ole, I understand your point of view.

    You can find a demo video of LumoFlow on the front page of http://www.lumoflow.com or click here: http://www.youtube.com/watch_popup?v=xkqtZImk8aU.

    Let me know if you want to have a chat some time, maybe there are ways we can work together. We work closely together with consultants in different countries who help us implement LumoFlow at large enterprises.

    Bart

    (bart.schrooten@lumoresearch.com)

  6. olekassow says:

    Hi Bart

    I’d be interested in knowing more about how LumoFlow is used in various companies, industries, use cases etc. You seem to have a lot going for you.

    Ole

  7. Hi Ole,

    Nice post. I would like to add how easily we take up new apps too. This is also a change from the past. We hear about a new app and just install it to see if it works with the project we have in mind. I can think of in our case, as you mentioned, Yammer, Twitter, Dropbox and so on. Word of mouth in these cases is the paramount form of take up. If you recommend it I will trust it and try it. Also, the basic usable forms of these apps are usually free and offer more than enough functionality to get up and running meaning a huge saving in start up costs.

    All the best

    Duncan

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