Enterprise 2.0: May Be a Winner

November 27, 2008

My high school English teacher made me sit in the hall for two years. She disliked me and my writing style. For example, I tried to sidestep the word “may”. I also tried to avoid “would” because I have had a dislike for what I call “woulda, coulda, shoulda” reasoning. You may know what troubles me. You look at the price of Yahoo today, which is about $10 per share, and you buy $100,000 worth of stock. Then you look at the value of Yahoo in three weeks and its is for the purposes of this example $6 per share. You then say, “I should have bought Microsoft at $19”. When I received news of a Computerworld article about the transference of Web 2.0 technology to what is cleverly labeled the Enterprise 2.0 I almost ignored the link. But click I did and I read “Wikis, Social Networks Should Find Significant Success in Enterprise” by Heather Havenstein. You must read her story here.

The point of the article is a new study from a high flying technology consulting firm called Forrester Research Inc. The study didn’t do much for me. What caught my attention was this comment in Ms. Havenstein’s article:

The report also noted that a number of Web 2.0 technologies are underutilized in the enterprise. “Enterprises don’t know what to do with RSS even though it is all around the Web,” Yehuda said. “They have not been able to figure out how to leverage RSS for their own benefit internally. Mashups and widgets are similarly underappreciated, but there is a future for them if enterprises can plan effectively around the whole ecosystem of information production and information consumption.”

Why did I find this interesting in the context of my “woulda, coulda, shoulda” mindset. Three reasons. Hang on to your Hat 2.0:

  1. What the heck is Web 2.0? Last time I looked the Internet was being used for communications. Er, email has been around for a week or two. Granted it is asynchronous, but moving comms to synchronous mode is not exactly a revolution. Where there are bits and a network, humans will do what humans have done for a while–communicate. Other technologies are equally obvious, and I am not convinced that the buzzword Web 2.0 communicates much of anything. For Madison Avenue, the notion of Web 2.0 might sound cool, but I think it is–well–labored.
  2. What the heck is Enterprise 2.0? I have a feature on this subject which will appear on December 1, 2008. I want to start your month with a bang, not a whimper. I break down the components of Enterprise 2.0 and point out that it is a push cart filled with odds and ends. More significantly, the stuff in the cart range from the unfathomable such as a firm’s culture to the complex such as cloud computing. A collection of stuff is a yard sale, not a discipline. I don’t want to be a master of the yard sale. I will stick with the one thing I think I almost know a little bit.
  3. What’s with appreciation? Last time I checked a major publisher has stopped publishing books for an unknown period of time. The Federal government is borrowing more money so my neighbors can buy a new Mercedes or go to South America over the New Year break. Executives are refusing pay raises, and even the big dogs at GM have returned one of their corporate jets. These are hard times, and I don’t think some technology is appreciated unless it delivers cash right now. My dog appreciates me because I feed him. A company appreciates technology when it [a] works, [b] makes sales directly or indirectly, and [c] is economical because no more heads or fewer heads are needed to perform a task.

What stopped my web feet in their muddy hike to the pig pen was the headline’s use of these two words, “Should Find”. Just because some one cooked up a clever name for Web functions does not in my goose brain translate to the leap that these technologies have a role in an organization. What regulated industry dealing in drugs or financial instruments wants to use a technology in a manner that could lead to a problem with the regulatory authorities? What executive wants to deal with a legal discovery process that requires figuring out what information was where and what it said in a social communication system that was not secure or archived? Not me, gentle reader.

This Enterprise 2.0 buzzword pivots on the “woulda, coulda, shoulda” logic. What happens has zero connection with the actions as they are. I find the “2.0” buzzword interesting, and I will keep my beak in the water looking for more information on this “should be” argument. I should be as agile as TO, the star for the Dallas Cowboys. But I am a goose and not silly enough to thing “shoulds” become reality. Do you?

Stephen Arnold, November 27, 2008


One Response to “Enterprise 2.0: May Be a Winner”

  1. Web 2.0 in the Enterprise | Aligning Technology, Strategy, People & Projects on December 1st, 2008 10:15 pm

    […] Enterprise 2.0: May Be a Winner […]

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