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
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April 4, 2009 at 5:31 pm
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August 28, 2009 at 11:30 am

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