The Very Near Future of the Web Part 5 – Enterprise 2.0

originally posted on Concept Hub

I have the great privilege to be the founder and Chair of the TAG Enterprise 2.0 society. We are currently in the process of planning our 3rd year. Yet each planning meeting still starts with the question “What is Enterprise 2.0?”

Is Enterprise 2.0 about

Over the past few years, we have witnessed a tremendous increase in organizations integrating social media tools and trends within their marketing mix.

Inc. recently posted a survey that found;

social media usage by companies on the Inc. 500 has grown in the past year, with 91 percent of companies reporting that they use at least one social media tool, compared with 77 percent of companies surveyed in 2008.

The increased adoption of social media can be attributed to many forces, including;

  • Reputation management as more and more customers talk about brands online.
  • Perceived reduction in cost for marketing during the recent economic downturns.
  • Peer pressure as more and more companies boast of success from their social media efforts.

However, the adoption of social media tools for internal collaboration has not been as widespread as social media marketing, yet.

The pressures for people to change how they communicate internally have not been as strong as they were when customers began openly voicing their ideas and opinions externally. Internally employees are focused on their task at hand with the tools that are available to them with little time to experiment with new tools or processes. Not to mention the need to get executive buy-in to change processes or even buy-in from the team.

Most enterprise adoption of social software for internal collaboration has come after the sell of a “solution” from the various vendors. Although there are various success stories such as Transunion saving $2.5 million is less than 5 months using social software, often organizations find their new social platforms are ghost towns. The reason is it takes time, effort and a compelling reason for people to change their behavior, and to date, the compelling reasons have not been well known.

So, what is changing that puts Enterprise 2.0 as one of our “Near Future of the Web” topics?

The unemployment rate.

This year unemployment went into the double digits. Every day there was news of mass layoffs. New jobs were hard to find and many new jobs that were listed were asking for some knowledge of social media. People joined sites such Twitter, Facebook, and of course LinkedIn to find the hidden job market and to update their skills. The masses on the job market had both the time and very compelling reasons to learn new skills that would change their behavior.

New hires of experienced professionals are now becoming as savvy with social software as the Millennials entering the job force. Any organization that has not begun to implement a strategy and guidelines for social software behind the firewall may find themselves facing grassroots efforts that happen with the best of intentions, but may ultimately sacrifice the organizations intellectual property, reputation, as well as create a culture of cliques that include those who are “in the know” and those who “do it the way it has always been done.”

This is why unlike social media, which had its origins as a grassroots movement, Enterprise 2.0 needs to be led from the top. Social software is free and readily available to be implemented by employees for personal or project-based uses. More often than not, there is no need or desire to let potential detractors know about these efforts. This, in turn, increases the number of knowledge silos, compromises intellectual property, and potential could cause irrefutable damage.

The benefits of an Enterprise 2.0 initiative are numerous including;

  • Deeper insight into who the talent is within the organization
  • Ability to immediately dispel rumors and misinformation
  • Collaboration among the various departments
  • Capturing and nurturing innovative ideas
  • Increasing knowledge retention
  • Creating a sense of community within the organization

However, an Enterprise 2.0 initiative is not going to be successful without the right purpose and strategy moving it forward. These initiatives need to be aligned with the direction of vision of the organization, and that typically comes from the top.

The biggest challenge organizations face right now is not the fluctuating stock market or the lack of productivity from your employees hanging out on Facebook.

The biggest challenge organizations face right now is the lack of timely insight into the needs of their employees and the needs of their customers.

The future is flying toward us at an unprecedented speed and without the tools needed to see what is ahead as well as what is right in front of us many organizations might find themselves lying in a landfill of fossilized businesses.