During the last few weeks I have been talking to a number of people from within governmental organizations and different business segments about white collar productivity.
Actually the discussions have often been around the new buzzwords “Enterprise 2.0” and “Government 2.0” and what these two buzzwords entail. It boils down to trying to define/apply/govern/restrict the use of the emerging bunch of new social media tools (similar to WEB 2.0 tools – Facebook, Twitter, etc… BUT inside the firewall!) within a corporate or public agency environment.
WEB 2.0 tools just showed up in the work place and people began using them as collaboration tools to get their work done (AND you could at the same time communicate with your “friends”). In other words the tools helped people be more productive and gave them an easier way of sharing information than current corporate legacy systems and “sanctioned” office productivity tools.
It reminds me of when the IBM PC showed up in the workplace in the mid-1980s to the horror of and without the approval/control of the IT department. The IBM PC fulfilled a need for getting the work done more efficiently, i.e. they increased productivity and created a whole new industry.
The IBM PC was an integral part of what happened next with legacy software systems going from rigid mainframe systems towards more “flexible” client/server systems with the IBM PC providing the user interface. It became an interactive process instead of the old batch approach to entering data and retrieving information. It was more inviting and easier to use.
During the 1990s Integration began driving a paradigm shift from free standing best-of-breed accounting systems (G/L. A/R, A/P, Order Entry, Purchasing, Inventory, Distribution, etc…) towards integrated systems that became known as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems.
The value of system integration and information context won out. Your Accounts Receivable (A/R) system was in sync with your A/R assets account in your Balance Sheet. The same integration to the General Ledger applied to Accounts Payable, Inventory, Purchasing, Billing, etc…
For project based organizations the recording of time sheets and expenses towards projects provided similar integration to the financial system and gave good overview of Work-in-Progress and now you were getting closer to managing the business in real time, at least from a financial point of view.
This has evolved into specialized ERP system for different industries – ERP for Services, ERP for Wholesale Distribution, ERP for manufacturing, etc…
I was involved as a vendor of ERP systems for the service industry in the 1990s and to me ERP meant blue collar productivity improvements by optimizing the processing of structured information and we often showed the advantages of ERP as illustrated below:
As ERP systems from SAP, ORACLE, PeopleSoft, Maconomy, Navision and many others improved their functionality and usability during the 1990s, overall attention turned towards managing the unstructured information that flows along a project timeline.
Many firms in the service segment (consulting, advertising, engineering, etc…) where I spent most of my time realized that they could get the billing rate up with ERP systems to maybe 70% (100% less vacation time, sick time, education, presale, non-billable,..) but that was where they maxed out.
These firms knew that they made money or lost money depending on their ability to manage scope creep on key projects and give project leaders, their supervisors and the PMO office the tools to align the scope definition with the contract appendix detailing the service to be delivered.
The scope of a project most often changed during the execution of the project but often that did not result in an amendment to the contractual service definition. Furthermore this change often resulted in modifications of project timelines, milestones and deadlines as well as resource allocations – people and material.
Most of the corporate silos of finance, legal, human resource and specialized practice departments should have been involved in this effort but are often notified after the fact or when the project is in a serious crisis.
Part of the problem was that the tools simply were not available.
This is where I think Enterprise 2.0 and Government 2.0 enter the scene. These emerging technologies simply fill a need for helping knowledge workers share information in the context of the project or process to which the knowledge belongs.
I think we will see a rapid evolution of these tools towards integrated and specialized solutions dramatically improving white collar (knowledge worker) productivity and this might parallel what happened with ERP systems in the 1990s for blue collar productivity – reference the figure below:
At cBrain we have named this integrated solution the “Knowledge Worker Desktop” and I will cover this concept in some more detail in coming blog entries but will close with a few highlights:
• The Knowledge Worker Desktop works within an automated archiving system that automatically, based on context assigns classification and META data. Archiving and record management is a by-product of the work performed and not a separate work process.
• Give up on most user-based classification (cynical me! It never works!) and automate as far as possible the process of assigning classification and other META data based on context – you already know the entity (customer, vendor, employee, location, case, project, business process, deadline/milestone, next step approval/review, etc.) you are working with or you generate it as part of your work, SO the system will automate classification and META data!
• Regulatory compliance is facilitated.
• The system includes search and presentation facilities for necessary work overview.
I will cover other aspects of the concept for the Knowledge Worker Desktop in coming posts.
Any comments are welcome!
During the last few weeks I have been engaged in a number of discussions about different aspects of the concept of Enterprise 2.0 in the aftermath of the June 2009 Enterprise 2.0 conference here in Boston.
People are coming at this from all kinds of angles and I assume that reflect their professional experiences within areas like Enterprise Content Management (ECM), Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Knowledge Management (KM), Business Process Management (BPM), Project Portfolio Management, (PPM), Innovation Management (IM) and other such classifications of different aspects of what makes an organization function. AND now we have a new classification with Enterprise 2.0 that we are trying to define.
Each one of these classifications or disciplines has its own set of “magic quadrant” constructed by research firms to assess vendor solutions and “hall of fame” defined by (vendor) associations and Enterprise 2.0 is probably not far behind.
Much discussion was about breaking down the corporate silos to further adoptions of social media tools to improve overall communication. But to quote Paula Thornton – “there is an issue greater than adoption at play here: hesitation to recognize the breadth and depth of adaptation that needs to occur across the entire enterprise and every aspect of the business model.”
Similarly Fred Zimny states: “many business decision makers who decide to dive into the E2.0 sea, often come back more confused than they were before taking that dive. AIIM’s year-old survey, which found that 74% of surveyed organizations had no idea what E2.0 meant or how it could be meaningfully applied, likely would’ve come back with a similar numbers today.”
Carl Frappaolo has weight in on the discussion about the use of collaborative social technologies in an Enterprise 2.0 setting and if such information will be considered subject to legal discovery – “a class action suit regarding patient/individual privacy rights, the courts ruled that content in “FaceBook, MySpace, instant-messaging threads, blog posts and whatever else the plaintiffs might have done online” was discoverable. The plaintiffs’ objection that this violated the plaintiffs’ privacy was shot down. These tools and their content were viewed as public, not on a private network, but the public world wide web.” And later “You should not have a different management policy for e-mail, or blogs, or microblogs. The medium or format should not dictate policy (other than acceptable use of the tool of course). It is the content that matters no matter what format or tool it was created in.”
I could not agree more – all content is legally material, so you better find a way to manage the exchanges of information regardless of the medium!
This leads me to what I see as the essence of Enterprise 2.0: We are looking for a way to manage the unstructured information that flow along a time-line for projects and business processes alike.
To me most business processes have the same issues as projects except they do not have a final end date. Projects and processes deal with people collaboration along a time-line with milestones and deadlines towards a measurable goal.
This information exchange is happening within teams, between corporate silos and often includes vendors, sub-contractors and customers.
ERP, CRM and other legacy systems have evolved over the last 20-30 years to manage an organization’s structured information – General Ledger, Receivables, Payables, Budgeting, Billing, Inventory Control, Distribution, Purchasing, Time Sheets and Expense Reports, Support, Sales and Marketing, Human Resources and other classifications depending on industry.
Corporate silos have evolved to provide specialized knowledge and accountability for different aspects of what makes an organization function.
Take the case of a project based organization like an advertising agency or similar consulting firm – they make money or lose money depending on how well they manage the scope definition of their projects (assuming they are competitive in the market place).
The scope definition is tied to a contract describing the products and services to be delivered to a client over a time period with given assumptions. Scope definition and assumptions most often changes as the project progresses and thus the need for efficient communication between all stakeholders to amend projects and contracts.
Corporate silos in larger organizations will be re-invented to take advantage of Enterprise 2.0 and it is OK!
The CFO (Finance Department) will still exist and wanting to control (credit check at a minimum) when a prospect presented by Sales and Marketing can be defined as a potential customer and pre-sales team members can start reporting time and expenses toward that “customer”.
For advertising agencies up to 10% of total cost is often pre-sale cost. Once a customer contract is signed and budgets for cost and resources are approved the CFO will then approve the project for the project team to start reporting billable time and expenses to that account.
Changes to project scope will be reflected in changes to project timeline (most often) as well as resources (people, material, sub-contractors, etc.) required.
This will involve the legal department for amendments to the contract as well as Finance and potentially Human Resources.
Enterprise 2.0 done right will help provide better scope management by organizing the flow of unstructured information between stakeholders. In other words “getting the job done” and at the same time facilitate that possible regulatory compliance is adhered to and eDiscovery can be achieved at reasonable cost.
In a legal sense ALL project information exchange is material and we better plan for that without creating new barriers for “getting the work done” – that is the challenge for Enterprise 2.0 as the concept evolves.
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.
Today at the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston there were a number of interesting presentations and panel discussions. One of the “debates” that stuck in my mind was the one about ROI. For this audience I think the consensus was that measuring ROI is meaningless since social media is a game changer that cannot be sensibly measured.
Social networks are, the argument goes, under the same scrutiny that the telephone was decades ago – why would you want to put a telephone on every person’s desk? People would just use it to gossip and call family and friends and hinder “real work”.
When the IBM PC (PC clones and the Lisa/Macintosh a bit later) emerged in the early 1980’s a similar discussion took place – I know, I was there on the vendor side! Department managers often had the budget privilege (cost < $10,000) to purchase PCs as productivity tools without the approval of the IT department and soon PCs were everywhere because it helped people “get the work done”. Soon networking capabilities emerged facilitating email sharing of information and for a while IT lost control of computing.
It took the 1990s for IT departments to regain overall control of “data processing” within larger corporations. Central control of licensing and distribution of software and subsequent maintenance updates put the IT department back in control. In many corporations internet filters limited how employees could access the Worldwide Wide Web.
Social media tools have changed the rules about who controls personal and corporate data. For the most part they have been free – Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and others – and have simply reflected how people communicated privately with friends and family and simply applied these tools to groups of people within corporations. They just appeared because people found them useful to “get the job done”. CIOs are challenged with controlling the information flow and integrating the new concepts into the legacy IT structure.
As Elizabeth Bennett writes about trends in the June 2009 issue of cioinsight.com:
FEELING THE FEAR – but doing it anyway.
CIOs are setting aside ROI as they boldly rush into the enterprise social media fray.
She gives examples… Dell is expanding projects across divisions and Cisco and Booz Allen Hamilton are graduating from individual tools and rolling out strategic companywide platforms. And the most successful projects have at least two things in common: They were built with a key business process in mind, and predicting their ROI was not part of the equation.
She talks about the culture wars and cultural barriers that impedes adoptions at many firms and wraps up by quoting Dell CIO Robin Johnson. Johnson says his role is to enable collaboration and exploit what’s available to improve idea generation and intellectual property – safely! But sometimes that posture is out of sync with the openness these tools foster, creating another kind of clash:” Those with an audit or controls mind-set are unpopular”.
Booz Allen Hamilton’s Walton Smith talks in the article about a new generation of system integration and is adamant about the level of care and attention needed to drive adoption and usage of these new tools with change management being a big part of the budget.
Cisco’s CIO Rebecca Jacoby is quoted: “You learn you way through it. It’s not comfortable to go through that cultural change, but it is unavoidable. You just roll with it.”
Fascinating reading and I am sure we will see robust tools and platforms emerge that will integrate with current corporate legacy systems and retain the ease-of-use that have made today’s social media tools so popular.
The issues of privacy, FRCP and eDiscovery will evolve within these emerging enterprise 2.0 platforms, as the culture war between openness and control goes on.
Until then “you just roll with it”.
Why is it that knowledge workers in government as well as private enterprises are fighting a culture of control driven by management focused on FRCP, Sarbanes-Oxley, eDiscovery and other regulatory compliance requirements?
The social media tools like Facebook, Myspace and Twitter are already being used by teams in many governmental agencies and private firms because they help knowledge workers “get the job done”.
However these tools are often a nightmare for the Chief Security Officer (if such a “C” level position exists). Regulatory compliance continues to be the main driver for security spending in most industry segments and a substantial financial burden for governmental agencies.
Sarbanes-Oxley for the USA came about after the Enron scandal and with the current financial meltdown for sure new regulations will emerge. Current US regulation is a patchwork of local, state and federal regulation.
The complexity of all the existing US regulations is such that it hinders small and medium sized businesses’ expansion into national or even multi-national market coverage even if that is exactly what the internet offers smaller businesses – the ability to source and operate like big multinational.
Most regulations deal with privacy and accountability. Sarbanes-Oxley for publicly traded firms is the big accountability regulation but smaller firms often trade with publicly traded companies and therefore indirectly will be required to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley.
Privacy is a hodgepodge of regional, national and industry segment specific laws. Obviously you cannot pretend these regulations don’t exist or hope they go away. Non-compliance may present a very real legal and financial risk to your organization.
Every bit of information exchange within the organization and with outside stakeholders must be auditable, i.e. there must be an audit trail and the kitchen sink approach to archiving of all information exchange and subsequent use of fancy search tools to retrieve information deemed to be material in a lawsuit will not work or at least be very, very expensive.
Often organizations are opting not to go to court and instead just settle because litigation is becoming too expensive. Settlements are still expensive.
In the USA the Better Business Bureau shows 34 federal privacy laws that apply to business – industry specific, consumer protection, etc. Add the EU, Canada and the Far East and you are looking at 100+ privacy laws that could affect a company doing business globally.
Social media tools as we know them today do not provide an audit trail of information exchange with an easy way to access it. If you are ever the subject of an eDiscovery audit from a lawsuit, you may need to produce reports on hundreds or thousands of document transactions and other information exchanges from social media tools like Facebook and Twitter.
Enterprise 2.0 tools emerging as “social media tools for the enterprise” are as far as I can see not addressing these issues.
For the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston this coming week – June 22-25, 2009 – I see very few, if any reference to the issue of regulatory compliance! I see no mentioning of FRCP, Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA, eDiscovery, etc. or discussion of audit trails and archiving of information exchanges or “record management” in the context of a business process.
These are issues we deal with when implementing process applications like our Knowledge Worker Desktop for government or private enterprises.
I will be at the conference next week trying to find out how all these powerful emerging enterprise 2.0 tools could provide synergy to our process applications.
I believe in the future we will see a movement toward self-supported definition and ownership of processes by business stakeholders and project teams. Simple interconnected utilities (enterprise 2.0+) rather than comprehensive suites (SharePoint, OpenText, etc…) will emerge.
This will help to improve the orchestration of teams, people, content and collaboration, BUT someone must be the driving process engine.
I look forward to the Enterprise 2.0 conference!
I am trying to get my head into all the buzz around enterprise 2.0 as coined by Andrew McAfee from Harvard University not too long ago and “re-defined” by him less than a month ago.
Leading up to the Enterprise 2.0 exposition here in Boston on June 22-25, 2009, Andrew has published an interesting take on Enterprise 2.0 – “Toward a Pattern Language for Enterprise 2.0” – seen from an “academic language view” – he is at Harvard after all.
So is Enterprise 2.0 “just” another definition (buzzword) of an attempt to improve the orchestration of teams, people, content and collaboration?
I think the new 2.0 tools (enterprise 2.0 or government 2.0) are supporting a movement toward self-supported definition and ownership of processes by business (or governmental) stakeholders and project teams and we will see the emergence of simple process utilities rather than comprehensive E2.0 suites – “simple meaning easy-to-use/intuitive/inviting”.
As others have suggested maybe we should use the term knowledge media tools instead of social media tools for business and government. What is clear is that the knowledge worker is front and center in this drive towards simple support for getting the knowledge work done.
Jack Vinson has an interesting take on Culture and KM. The organizational culture need to change/adapt to supporting the knowledge workers in new ways and provide the tools and training they need to “let them get rolling”.
Too often knowledge workers are fighting a culture of control by management focused on FRCP, Sarbanes-Oxley, eDiscovery, HIPAA and other compliance requirements.
BUT can you blame management? – Very few of the new 2.0 tools are addressing these concerns. At cBrain we are trying to produce solutions where these concerns are embedded and transparent to the knowledge worker and I will discuss this approach in several future posts, so stay tuned.
To get back to Andrew McAfee’s pattern language, I find it a very refreshing way to look at knowledge work 2.0 – here is his original take on pattern language related to enterprise 2.0 work – see his post for more details:
Patterns Where 2.0 Should Replace 1.0
|Technology appears to have been designed for the user||Technology appears to have been designed for someone other than the user — the developer, the boss, a lawyer, etc.|
|Only small amounts of time and training are required to become familiar with a technology||It takes significant time and training in order to become minimally competent with a technology|
|Few steps are required to accomplish basic tasks; technology-based work is ‘frictionless’||Many steps are required to execute basic tasks; technology-based work has a great deal of friction|
|Devices delight, pleasing the eye and the hand||Devices exist to accomplish tasks and are designed only for function, not form|
|Delays and latency are low; technology responds instantly||Delays (especially at startup) can be long and latency can be high|
|Crashes are no big deal and are easy to recover from||Crashes are time-consuming and costly / catastrophic|
|Relevant data is in the cloud, so it doesn’t matter which device the user employs||Relevant data is stored locally at many devices, so it matters which device(s) the user has access to|
|Users navigate via search||Users navigate via menus and directories|
|Work is accomplished via the browser||Work is accomplished via many discrete applications|
|Technology accurately guesses what users want, is forgiving, and makes users feel smart||Users have to guess what the technology wants. The technology is unforgiving and makes users feel stupid|
|It takes virtually no time to author (to contribute online content) and few if any approval loops exist||It’s laborious to author, and many approval loops exist|
|At its best, technology is welcoming and empowering||At its worst, technology is alienating, isolating, and frustrating|
Patterns Where 2.0 is an Alternative to 1.0
|Technology is used to execute spontaneous collaborative work||Technology is used to execute planned / predefined business processes|
|Technology is used to share work and conclusions with others||Technology is used to generate or analyze information individually|
|Technology is used to broadcast information publicly to people both known and unknown||Technology is used to transmit information privately to known people|
|Technology is used to ask questions and solicit information and help from people both known and unknown||Technology is used to ask questions and solicit information and help from a small group of already-identified people|
|Online content is the start of group-level work; it is work in progress||Online content is the end point of group-level work; it is finished goods|
|Online content is generated by many people||Online content is generated by a few approved sources|
|A person finds new colleagues by examining the online content they’ve generated and assessing its quality||A person finds new colleagues by asking around an looking through official directories|
|Information sources give good answers to the questions users thought they were asking||Information sources provide complete answers to perfectly phrased questions|
|Technology is used to create and diffuse new knowledge||Technology is used to encode previously-generated knowledge|
Andrew is asking for feedback and I am sure we will see this concept evolve with a knowledge work focus rather than a technology focus.
Many work routines for white collar workers within government and business enterprises (Customer Relationship Management, Employee Hiring and Case Management are examples) have common issues when people need to collaborate and share information along a timeline with milestones and deadlines galore.
Traditional software tools for white collar workers today are not integrated.
Often the process of archiving information (emails, documents, notes, etc.) is a separate work routine after the work has been performed involving the knowledge worker deciding what to archive and what META data to add for the purpose of later information search and retrieval.
New integrated productivity tools like the Knowledge Worker Desktop are automating the archiving process and assuring that META data are derived automatically from the context of the work performed and NOT as a separate after-the-fact process. This has shown major improvements in productivity and quality of work.
Regulatory compliance (Sarbanes-Oxley, FRCP and HIPAA) demands that companies establish and maintain an adequate internal control structure and procedure for their business processes and for Sarbanes-Oxley also control points for their financial reporting.
The kitchen sink approach to archiving everything will NOT work. Archiving and indexing according to content (words and phrases) is better. BUT automatically archiving and indexing emails and documents (WORD, EXCEL, POWERPOINT, PDFs, E-Mails, IMs, etc.) according to context is the only viable way to ensure that you later can actually produce messages and documents that someone considers legally material, a term often referred to as eDiscovery.
Again, integration is the key driver of this paradigm shift .