In our first discussion with Larry, he outlined how companies can overcome barriers to Enterprise 2.0 implementation and adoption. In our next discussion we cover a range of topics and a prediction.
But first a short quiz. Do you think Larry believes;
A. Enterprise 2.0 is redefining Enterprise Software and will become as common place as email.
B. Enterprise 2.0 is overhyped and he prescribes to the Dennis Howlett school of thought of “It’s all Bullocks”.
C. Open Source software will help spur Enterprise 2.0 adoption and lower licensing costs.
To learn the answer, follow along as we ask Larry some of the same questions our customers are asking us. For the skimmers, please scroll to the bottom.
How important are the analytics behind Enterprise 2.0 tools? In other words, is it important to inventory worker skills and collaboration patterns to help find internal subject matter experts? Or to optimize worker productivity by analyzing informal networks? Or to measure, rank and rate employees based on the net dollar value they are providing the organization?
The ability to log and analyze system transactions is an important component of any enterprise system, and that fact has not been lost on vendors or deployers of enterprise social software. Most enterprise social software vendors now include activity logging and reporting capabilities in their products or services.
Some applications of analytics are highly visible, such as usage statistics reports that help site owners and community managers make informed operational decisions. Enterprise social software usage statistics could be used to rank and rate employees based on their contribution to the organization, but the metrics would most likely be stated in terms of quantity and quality of information and knowledge shared, rather than in hard currency amounts.
Other analytics applications are, ideally, invisible to the people using the system. For example, enterprise social software should leverage transactional data to automatically recommend relevant content and subject matter experts to someone using the system, saving them the time and effort expended in manually searching for those resources. Analytics can be used to determine and generate visualizations of an individual’s social graph, and to recommend people in their network who can introduce them to a potentially valuable new contact. These systematic, invisible uses of social transactional data are currently less common than their visible cousins, but they have the potential to produce greater value.
What in your opinion is the “killer app” that will be the catalyst for mass Enterprise 2.0 technology adoption?
Wikis and blogs have been the most widely adopted E2.0 tools to date, but neither has made enough of an impact on business in terms of mass adoption or value creation to be called a killer application. Micro-sharing (or micro-blogging or status updates) has the potential to be a significant value driver for organizations, because it combines attributes of communication, presence, and location technologies in a simple, yet flexible user experience. Micro-sharing is a relatively new tool in the E2.0 toolkit, and we don’t have enough solid data about its impact on organizations yet to crown it the killer application, but micro-sharing seems to have the highest potential to positively effect mass adoption.
What if anything will open source software contribute to Enterprise 2.0 technology adoption?
Open source software should increase social software adoption because of its propensity to spur innovation, lower licensing costs, and make it relatively easy to integrate social functionality into other enterprise applications. Community source software effectively crowdsources some or all of its feature development, leading to a faster rate of innovation compared to proprietary software vendors. Organizations are more likely to adopt a specific product or service when they can directly influence its functionality roadmap. The lower licensing costs of open source social software, as compared to proprietary offerings, makes it easier for organizations to deploy to larger numbers of people.
Finally, the Web and service-oriented architectures of most open source software means that it can be more easily integrated with, and into, existing enterprise applications and new mashups. Integrating social functionality into the environment in which people currently work is one of the best ways to spur adoption.
There have been many heated discussions between Enterprise 2.0 advocates and those that believe Enterprise 2.0 is a crock. What is your position on the matter?
This should not be an either/or debate, as I said in a post on my blog entitled “Enterprise 2.0 is Neither a Crock Nor the Entire Solution”. In that post (and others which are referred to therein), I opined that E2.0 philosophy and technologies are complementary to traditional management techniques and enterprise systems. Large organizations need both structure and free-form collaboration to identify and act on business opportunities, and to best operational challenges. Overemphasis on one at the expense of the other will limit value creation within a large enterprise.
What should Enterprise 2.0 software vendors be doing to help their customers successfully adopt their offerings?
Enterprise social software vendors should proactively assist their customers from the pre-implementation planning phase to actual go-live over the course of multiple projects. Several vendors have staff with titles such as Social Software Advisor or Customer Success Manager, who are assigned to new customers and are partially responsible for the success of the customer’s social software initiatives. Other vendors prefer to partner with professional services firms to provide implementation strategy and execution services to their customers. Either way, it is in the vendors’ best interest to assist their customers and improve the likelihood that they will purchase additional software licenses.
What does the future hold for Enterprise 2.0, and which companies will participate in defining it?
Great question; I’d be very rich if I had the answer! But I’m not going to pretend to have “the” answer, because I don’t think anyone does. I can only make predictions based on past involvement with other management disciplines and related software market categories.
From a management perspective, it seems like the reaction to E2.0 has been similar to the reception given by most organizations to Knowledge Management. Organization leaders think it sounds good and interesting, but end up saying “where’s the beef”, because they can’t attribute value creation that is quantifiable in terms of hard currency to the discipline. A relatively small number of enterprises will understand how and why E2.0 can help them, and succeed in making it part of their organizational fabric; the rest will experiment half-heartedly with E2.0 and watch their initiatives fail.
As for the technology, there is a high probability that the Enterprise Social Software market’s evolution will mirror t
hat of the Enterpri
se Portal market nearly a decade ago (see his blog post on this subject). The Portal market experienced four years of strong growth and then consolidated rapidly, leaving only a handful of computing platform vendors with viable enterprise portal software offerings. Much of the portal technology base was subsumed in other categories of enterprise software, and the vendors that were not acquired died a slow, cash-starved death.
I have seen many indications that there will be a repeat of this evolution pattern in the Enterprise Social Software market, which is still growing at this point. However, there is one big difference this time around — the presence of vendors operating under open source development and licensing models. They may be able to compete with the proprietary computing platform vendors over the long haul, while most of the pure-play collaboration suite vendors will not.
Larry is speaking at Enterprise 2.0 in Boston. That is if you vote for him. Here is the quick process:
Register a user account. (two clicks away—assuming you use the tab key You must do this before proceeding to the next steps.
Vote for Larry’s session below by simply clicking the URL (you MUST be registered and login for the single-click vote to work—don’t skip step 1)
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(Cross-posted @ Seek Omega)