At the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston last week there was an impressive representation of actual practitioners of “enterprise social software” from major corporations like BofA, Raytheon, Alcatel-Lucent, Allstate, Humana, Jet Blue, M&M Mars, Eli Lilly, Cisco, Lockheed Martin, Booz Allen Hamilton and many others.
Many participants have blogged about the conference and I will refer to Bill Ives, Larry Hawes and Gil Yehuda and their summaries from the conference for a balanced view of the state of Enterprise 2.0. All have many references to other much respected bloggers and their conference take away and I encourage you to check them out.
Paula Thornton has an interesting post today – in reference to the conference – about “reinventing silos” that I find thought provoking. I have been in the trenches implementing solutions that would only succeed if company culture somehow could change/evolve/adapt. Paula is quoting Ben Foster from Allstate for saying “Enterprises and practitioners are often guilty of using Social Media as a cure chasing a disease.” I agree and will post about the role of organizational silos in my next post – stay tuned.
My own bottom line about the Boston conference is that there is a long way to go before Enterprise 2.0 “grows up” to be “WEB 2.0 for the enterprise” (or “Facebook and Twitter inside the firewall”). Integration with existing legacy systems, including general access control, logging of information exchanges in the context of a project or process combined with an upfront approach to industry specific compliance issues, FRCP and eDiscovery was rarely discussed during the sessions.
I also came away with the sense that a major driving force behind Enterprise 2.0 is a desire to get people to collaborate by other means than email. In essence that Enterprise 2.0 becomes a central repository for the exchange of messages and documents for a team of knowledge workers that need to collaborate in an easy and transparent way towards a common goal – sounds simple enough BUT it is not!
According to a recent AIIM report, there has been a dramatic increase in the understanding of how Web 2.0 technologies such as wikis, blogs, forums, and social networks can be used to improve business collaboration and knowledge sharing, with over half of organizations now considering Enterprise 2.0 to be “important” or “very important” to their business goals and success. Only 17% admitted that they have no idea what it is, compared to 40% at the start of 2008. However, only 25% of organizations are actually doing anything about it – but that is up from 12% in the previous survey.
AIIM does a lot of research and some of the findings are quite scary:
- 34% of organizations never delete emails, 31% have no policy, 8% delete when running out of storage space, 27% delete after 1- 24 months
- Some 45% of organizations do not have a policy on Outlook “Archive settings” so most users will likely create .pst archive files on local drives
- 33% of organizations have no policy to deal with legal discovery, 40% would likely have to search back-up tapes, and 23% feel they would have gaps from deleted emails.
- 18% had been exposed to a legal challenge in the last 12 months and a further 15% in the last 3 years – a one-in-three chance.
Old habits and deep-seated corporate culture will be difficult to change without the chief change agents being senior management backed by a concerted effort to communicate to employees why this will benefit the overall organization and not threaten the individual. Knowledge is often perceived as power/job security and a difficult thing to share without getting something in return.