Enterprise 2.0 or Department 2.0? Discuss.

by Gil Yehuda on March 26, 2009

in Enterprise 2.0

Let me define what I mean and then ask you to comment and discuss – since I think this is an important question, one that is inspired by a conversation I had on Twitter that involved Hutch Carpenter and Mike Gotta. It was Mike who made the great point about “Department 2.0″, so I’d like to develop it further with your help.

By “Enterprise 2.0” I mean the application of a shift in behaviors, supported by appropriate technology that enables knowledge within an organization to flow in an open knowledge economy between workers, independent of org structure. In contrast to “1.0” where knowledge is shared within confines of the organizational hierarchy (i.e. corporate goals and values are delivered down to workers via managers, and results are delivered back up to managers), in a “2.0” enterprise, there are open cross-channels that allow employees to discover and share information with others within communities of interest.

This summary of the vision is only a part of the transformation that an organization can discover. But my question for you today is one of scope. Is the “2.0” transformation of a department within a company a success? Well, yes, of course if the transformation results in real improvement of knowledge flow, productivity, etc. sure it is. But let’s play this out a bit – as this is reality in many companies. That one each department takes a different approach to their social computing strategy.
Where this gets really messy is with the tools; especially when they don’t work well together. Here’s the simple analogy – what if each of the states in the US issued their own currency (like they used to)? It makes commerce very complicated. When each department runs their own social knowledge marketplace – cross-department commerce gets complicated too.

So for example (inspired by real cases), the IT group decides they want to roll out a Confluence Wiki. After all, Confluence provides one of the most capable enterprise wikis out there. One of the reasons the IT group might have selected Confluence is that their Java developers happen to use JIRA for bug tracking. Atlassian makes a number of very good developer tools for the Java development market – and they are a great group to work with. So the developers are happy. Confluence is much better than the JSPWiki they first experimented with.

But then the product marketing group comes along and decides they need social software too – and they run a bake-off between SocialText and Jive. They may be completely unaware that there is a growing Confluence wiki over in IT. Any anyway, they are looking for blogs and profile pages – and they know that both Jive and SocialText each provide a nice and easy to use interface for those. Sure, one of the developer leads shows them that you could create a blog feed and a profile page in Confluence – but the product marketing folks are just not buying the demo – it just does not look like the thing they want. So they pick one of the two very capable options that they’ve been looking at.

While this is going on, the Enterprise Architecture group is very excited about their meeting with IBM’s Lotus Connections group – since they just saw a great Enterprise 2.0 tool – one that will integrate with Sametime IM. And this makes the EA group very happy, since they just rolled out Sametime and they like their relationship with IBM anyway.

It’s a shame that no one spoke to the Intranet Portal team though, since they are evaluating Vignette and Liferay. After all, it’s time to refresh the Intranet portal, and it would be great to get some social capabilities supported to. Oh – the database team mentioned something about Oracle. And someone over in the SharePoint group is talking with Telligent too. Cool, it looks like everyone is jazzed up about Enterprise 2.0.

In each corner of the organization, someone is looking at, and probably installing Community Server, Twiki, MediaWiki, or some obscure wiki that a developer heard about at a local Ruby Users group. In each case, the individual feels they are bringing new hope to their organization – or actually, just to their little group.
What if each succeeds? What if you have 15 wikis, 4 profile tools, 7 blog server, a couple of forums servers, and a brewing fight between the SharePoint team and the Java guys? This is hardly success either. But this happens all the time.

So Department 2.0 – the idea that we can do something that works for our department – is alive and well. If the department does not feel that someone (in IT) will help them with their infrastructure needs, then they’ll go find a solution on their own. You cannot blame them. But if each department does this – well then you have chaos too.

Where are the vendors in all this? They are talking to the departments, of course, trying to sell each one on their solution. And I don’t blame them either. They have to make the sale, and it’s impossible to get IT to agree on the plan. Anyway, it’s not at all clear that IT is the right group to run the E2.0 initiative anyway? Is it?

Maybe this is all just crazy talk. You cannot boil the ocean, and you have to start somewhere to prove success — right? So maybe D2.0 is the only way to get to E2.0? Isn’t that more logical?

OK, that’s enough to stir things up, I hope. What do you have to say about this?

Is Department 2.0 a reality and therefore where we define success? Does Enterprise 2.0 need a centralized Enterprise 2.0 thought-leader to orchestrate this in order to ever achieve success? And by success – I don’t just mean one technology platform – I mean a healthy knowledge economy where there is a healthy flow of corporate knowledge fueling good work, tools help. Comments are open for you to share your thoughts.

{ 3 trackbacks }

Multi Headed Chicken Syndrome - Oliver Marks
March 27, 2009 at 1:26 am
Library clips :: Are you really doing Enterprise 2.0? :: November :: 2008
April 4, 2009 at 5:31 pm
Twitter Trackbacks for Enterprise 2.0 or Department 2.0? Discuss. | Gil Yehuda's Enterprise 2.0 Blog [gilyehuda.com] on Topsy.com
August 28, 2009 at 11:30 am

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 John Tropea April 4, 2009 at 10:20 pm

Department 2.0 – enterprise 2.0 and deployment – catch22 of bottom-up social silos http://hub.tm/?HILWY


2 Steve Ardire April 4, 2009 at 6:40 pm

Hi Gil – you’ve nicely described the ‘trials and tribulations’ of E2.0 social computing players. Having an enterprise wiki deployed makes it more interesting if you know how to leverage ;)

read Mike Gotta’s ( Burton Group ) Field Research Study: Social Networking Within the Enterprise. It’s a free download here http://snurl.com/f2x88 .

Conclusion: Many organizations have yet to make an enterprise-wide decision on social networking technology. Even in those that have, most projects are in proof-of-concept or early stages of deployment. Burton Group also concludes that organizations are struggling with many non-technology issues within social networking initiatives (e.g., business case, metrics, policies and controls, roles and responsibilities, employee participation models, and cultural dynamics).

So if you win a one of the 3 short list positions for Dept 2.0 ‘bake off’ congrats …you’re one step closer to an E2.0 deployment.

And if you feel confident you’ve got the inside pole position peg it so you can ensure victory and scale to an Enterprise 2.0 deployment !


3 Alex Howard March 29, 2009 at 9:06 pm

Reading @gyehuda on “#Enterprise2.0 vs. Department 2.0″ http://is.gd/pbXH | Agree w/@ellenfeaheny – great #blog & discussion there. | #E20


4 Ellen Feaheny March 29, 2009 at 8:59 pm

@gyehuda By the way, I just cmted to your Enterprise 2.0 vs. Dept 2.0 blog article. Nice discussion (and blog) there. http://is.gd/pbXH :)


5 Gwynne Kostin March 29, 2009 at 5:47 pm

Here’s an example. At a workgroup meeting on social media, someone suggests using the Big E enterprise-wide wiki. People start to pipe up, “Well we have a tool that does that. Let’s use OURS.” Followup question, “does everyone have access to your tool(s)? Or is it behind YOUR firewall.” Silence. “Okay, so can we use the one that everyone has access to?” Answer, “Why can’t we use one of OURS?” So in addition to good an practical reasons for Dept 2.0, there continue to be crummy parochial reasons.

In many large organizations, the Dept 2.0 horse is already out of the barn. This means that Enterprise 2.0 efforts will be to learn what folks are doing and using and steer toward best of breed. At this time of great experimentation, though, it might be worth chasing a few of the horses to see where they lead.


6 Ellen Feaheny March 29, 2009 at 3:55 pm

Department 2.0 in my opinion can be equated to bottoms up grassroots efforts often. Yes, they can be successful of course – but yes, also to the corps chagrin later as the enterprise grows with incompatible non-integrating and redundant systems. Let alone political silos, both in systems and communications.

Enterprise 2.0 is (or should be) top down strategically mandated/designed – yet in many orgs, still a cohesive ideal vs reality these days I believe. Alternatively, the implementation at least has active top-down sponsorship and more than systems-only requirements when driven by the IT group.

However you get there, I believe that this ideal should be strived for more than ever in our current information and technology age in order to be competitive in today’s markets.

Also, as Dirk said, Enterprise 2.0 is way more than just the tools – it’s higher agenda is very purposefully intended to break up the Dept 2.0 silos, redundancies, politics, and closed agendas.

For Enterprise 2.0, the purpose is cross-functional transparent collaboration and integrated communication systems driving more efficiency, engagement, and empowerment within the org.

The potential to flatten hierarchical communications too at some level.


7 Vignette March 27, 2009 at 3:17 pm

Great discussion on enterprise 2.0 and whether it is top down or bottom up on @gilyehuda’s blog http://bit.ly/amuU1


8 Pim van Wetten March 27, 2009 at 8:45 am

RT @gyehuda: Blog post: Enterprise 2.0 or Department 2.0? What do you think are the achievable and desirable goals? http://bit.ly/Dbe0O


9 dirk shaw March 27, 2009 at 10:13 am

I totally agree with Todd that in large organizations departments will arrive at different times and “Ready, Set, Go 2.0″ is impossible. One reason I have seen has nothing to do with tools. There is also a cultural transformation that may need to happen depending on the existing collective mindset or the workforce.

In my opinion the value of a centralized E.2 toolset increases as you get more employees online, because the power of the social networks or as Gil likes to say the “loose connections can be made”. This is when E2.0 becomes more of a reality, when it goes far beyond tools and becomes woven into the fabric of the organization.



10 Anthony Poncier March 27, 2009 at 7:26 am

RT @simplespan: RT @tweetmeme Enterprise 2.0 or Department 2.0? Discuss. http://bit.ly/pOI8n


11 SimpleSpan Software March 27, 2009 at 5:56 am

RT @tweetmeme Enterprise 2.0 or Department 2.0? Discuss. http://bit.ly/pOI8n


12 SimpleSpan Software March 27, 2009 at 5:52 am

Quoting Gil: “What if each succeeds? What if you have 15 wikis ..a couple of forums servers…” http://is.gd/pbXH EXACTLY I exclaimed!


13 SimpleSpan Software March 27, 2009 at 5:50 am

YES … Gil has it right again! http://is.gd/pbXH


14 RTodd March 27, 2009 at 5:58 am

I am not sure there is any other way of deploying Collaborative and Social Technologies in a large organization. Clearly, in a small company you can control all of the software and have some sort of top down implementation plan: Ready, Set, Go 2.0. However, in a large organization, say 100,000 folks with hundreds of departments this just isn’t possible. So even if you somehow had a mature architecture that rolled out a single application, the departments would arrive at different times as well as different involvement levels.


15 Scott Quick March 27, 2009 at 12:54 am

Good grief Lauretta! This is EXACT our point at SimpleSpan. There is only Heterogeneous data sources and collaboration tools in the Enterprise… We enable collaboration that deals with this reality… Cheers, SQ


16 Cruce Saunders March 26, 2009 at 9:18 pm

RT @gyehuda Enterprise 2.0 or Department 2.0? Discuss. http://bit.ly/pOI8n


17 Bertrand Duperrin March 26, 2009 at 5:55 pm

I agree with Dirk.

Here’s what happened in a very large company :
• IT tried solutions in a dept project for their own use
• They chose one and learned from their own experimentation
• They hired people to identify dept projects, sell the solution internally, support deployements and help local leaders with adoption issues. I think the fact they wanted it to be seen as an internal service, provided by the company and not by external was also key in success.
• They started one or two depts projects, build the case and use it to convince other depts…

Now it grows..it grows..


18 Chris Yeh March 26, 2009 at 5:44 pm

The reason that Department 2.0 tends to precede Enterprise 2.0 is simple:

The line of business has to see value before it’s willing to change its ways.

Enterprise 2.0 sounds great in principle, but the line of business has monthly and quarterly numbers to make, and it’s not always clear how these grand visions of social networks and activity streams help with those very real goals.

So it’s natural that folks start with Department 2.0, with “temporary” deployments that provide and immediate payback for the business unit funding the project. But over time, as Department 2.0 deployments become prevalent throughout the company, and once everyone shifts from “Can you prove that this stuff has a real benefit?” to “Why do I have to remember all these logins?” then it makes sense to talk about Enterprise 2.0.

When the value has been established, and the cost of coordination and redundancy exceeds the cost of standardization, that’s when a company is ripe for Enterprise 2.0.


19 dirk shaw March 26, 2009 at 4:28 pm

Hey Gil,

You make some excellent points here and I agree that without an enterprise vision for the platform you will end up with a potpourri of tools. This also means that the IT department needs to act as a consultancy. I worked on a large employee portal where we centralized portal, cms, search and collaboration via a shared services model.

The shared services model alone would not have been enough because departments would not have a clue on how to deploy these tools to meet their needs. So we designed a governance process and a dedicated business & IT team with analyst, designers and engineers who all knew the products. This enabled the organization to meet the requirements of the business units on a single platform. Which was a huge win because we sunset 1 CMS, 2 Portals and 1000 front page sites and delivered an integrated employee experience.

Organizations need an internal platform evangelist and an IT department who sees themselves like a consultancy rather than a maintenance shop.

Great Post.



20 Bertrand Duperrin March 26, 2009 at 4:13 pm

I already wrote a few things about it there http://www.duperrin.com/english/2009/03/16/how-long-does-enterprise-20-adoption-take/

To make it short E2.0 is good to ensure a minimal coherence in tools, i.e. not having each department deploying its own tools and not being able to agree on one for cross-depts collaboration. If my colleagues an I use wikis but not the same, it’s like we’re building new silos that are no more organizational but technical. It’s also a good thing for rationalizing licence and support costs, what is a real concern today. To end, it’s the only way to align many people with new practices and the needed tools at once. That’s critical for major business needs. But it’s not relevant when it comes to providing people what they need to be efficient on local or adhoc projects when the purpose is to gather people around a business concern that is seldom identified by top management.

On the contrary, Dept 2.0 is the best way to position tools on what really matters for staff, because it’s closer to operations and to the end-customer. But it may cause anarchic deployements when seen from a corporate level.

According to me there’s no magic formula. My experience tells that
• E2.0 is needed for coherence and using 2.0 practices in strategic projects
• D2.0 is the best way to be sure that was is done makes sens and is purpose-driven, aligned with staff concerns

The solution :
• Companies must provide E2.0 as a global framework and, if needed, use it for major, cross-depts projects that can only be driven from above
• Then they have to let D2.0 initiative emerge, using the corporate framework. These initiatives will spread, melt, and, at the end, the co-existence of both approaches embodies what org2.0 should be : local and bottom up initiatives following corporate guidelines, with the ability for top management to lead enterprise-wide projects. Both “push” and “pull” at the same time.

E2.0 and D2.0 are not mutually exclusive. On the contrary, both have to be used at the same time, in a balanced way.


Leave a Comment

You can use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Previous post:

Next post: