Enterprise 2.0

The Oracle Answers

There was a great response to my blog from Andrew Gilboy @andrewgilboy on Oracle’s European Oracle Enterprise 2.0 Group on LinkedIn. They are indeed taking a 2.0 approach as Andrew explains:

“As far as centralised command and control, what I really meant was the application of standards and foresight to implement scalable architectures. The Internet is based on standards and furthermore YouTube, Twitter, Slideshare have become de-facto application standards as the scale of Internet and the winner take all dynamic means that all others become redundant. I don’t think this is the case in Enterprises where competing solutions and approaches proliferate within different departments, geographies etc and tactical solutions persist rather than die. That is the meaning I was hoping to convey.”

You can read the full reply here, you’ll need to join the Group first though.

Read my original squib.

Enterprise 2.0 Featured Articles

Oracle, where 2 becomes 1?

Oracle have published a new study  “Enterprise 2.0: Driving creativity, productivity and collaboration” based on interviews with 200 people. it shows that £900M a week is being wasted. It claims that this is made up from wasted time – time wasted searching for content, copying and pasting content and using e-mail as a storage tool. Of note, 96% were open to new technologues.

It is peppered with quotes from well known UK 2.0 people – Dave Terrar, Paul Millar, Scott Gavin and a few practitioners (those what do). It says all the right things. The study lists out some good case studies and best practice, even identifying 5 steps to successfull rollout

  1. Determine what the business wants to achieve
  2. Lead by example – identify evangelists to drive the utilisation of new tools
  3. Choose projects to allow employees to trial use of the new tools
  4. Enable search and mobile networking
  5. Remove redundant tools

Of note, 2 of these I’ve seen questioned of late – choose the evangelists where the business process matters most, not by those most enthusiastic and ignore redundant tools (both by Dion Hinchcilffe I believe).

There’s a twist in the tail in this report though. Perhaps not surprisingly, Oracle being Oracle, they seem to see a solution in centralised knowledge management

“Oracle says that one of the reasons for this wasted time is the amount of applications people are using at work – the average employee uses over five different applications at work on a weekly basis. This lack of a centralised system for storing, accessing and managing documents means workers have to spend time copying and pasting the same information between documents stored in different places.”
Steve Evans

This is spelled out even more clearly in the report itself:

“Central to an organisation’s use of Enterprise 2.0 tools is the ability to keep knowledge within the organisation, no matter where employees go. By integrating all the communications from Enterprise 2.0 tools back into enterprise systems, everything is captured. This means that knowledge isn’t lost, but also that more meaningful conversations can be had with customers and suppliers.”

There’s something slightly discomforting and contradictory here – or shall I say I detect a worry from Oracle’s part. E 2.0 loosens up working practices and in and productive ways. For Oracle at the final stage, the aim is to control, to keep all conversations within the business, where everything is captured.

That to me sounds rather like the 1.0 model of knowledge management….Or am I just being churlish here? We need data, we need ubiquitous data and ubiquitous access. But do we need the central command and control model suggested here?

Update: Oracle Answers my questions – they are 2.0…


Oracle Research Reveals Workplace Technology is Hindering Business Productivity and Collaboration

UK businesses and workers split on Enterprise 2.0: study – Steve Evans

Enterprise 2.0 Featured Articles Intranet

OpenSocial and the Enterprise Intranet

Attended a Jive do for UK users last week and put some faces to names and met up with some of my peers in the UK. We were given some great presentations by Jive’s Bill Lynch, Bob Brown and Nils Heuer (the latter responding to a cheeky tweet I made about the venue, a subterranean London club).

Whilst not going into any detail here, I was encouraged by the content as it confirmed some of my thoughts over a widget driven intranet, the role of the Cloud and the impact HTML5 will have on our future intranets. I could also see a new landscape of competition emerging in the future with social software vendors and more traditional Content Management System (CMS) vendors.

There was one thing I hadn’t thought about though, and that is OpenSocial. This is (or something similar) is essential for all that I’ve been thinking about to work. At heart is the factor of interoperabilty in new social intranets, something that Atlassian’s Jay Simons sees at one of the 5 determining factors of OpenSocial’s importance. What this means is that widgets or other discreet components can work together easily and seamlessly, so long that is that they all use the same system.

The big one that doesn’t of course is Facebook’s and I need to understand more the limits this might put on the interconnectedness of intranety technology. But then, who is using Facebook’s connectivity for enterprise social software?

If the same question is put of OpenSocial then the answer is legion – Jive, OpenText, Google (who made the thang of course and Cisco. And Cisco of course like interoperability – the router is the essence of interoperability and in the fight with Apple of who owned the right to use the work iPhone a key concession wrung from Apple by Cisco was on interoperability.

On doing my research on this, I was pleased to come across this slide deck by Kit Sharma. I’ve worked with Kit on intranet stuff so it brought a big smile on my face to see his work here.


Five reasons OpenSocial will change the Enterprise Jay Simons, Atlassian
Enterprise OpenSocial – A Year of Progress Adina Levin, OpenText

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Dilbert does Change Management

Dilbert Change Management: very funny

(I’ve seen this in real life)


Sold: Titanium Racing Bike Maurizio Classico 55cm 9.4 kg

For sale on eBay: Titanium Carbon Racing Bike Maurizio Classico 55cm 9.4 kg
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Enterprise 2.0 Featured Articles

The eye of the storm: managing Enterprise 2.0

I enjoyed reading Oliver Marks’ piece “Demilitarizing Collaboration: Designing Rules of Engagement” in ZDNET, where he defines the state of play for collaborational technology in the enterprise as a Demilatrized Zone above and beyond the siloed potential warzone that surrounds it.

There are five areas of tension in the argument:

1) Oliver argues that a level playing ground is needed to protect and keep vibrant the collaborative community. However, due to the stakes at play, Enterprise 2.0 can be the maelstrom and centre for political power play and control. This is rarely level.

2) The technology of 2.0 is in constant flux, and as example, smart mobile technologies will transform the space.

3) The Business is in flux too. Depending on the sector this will be at varying speeds, but nonetheless the Business will change and 2.0 will accelerate this change. 2.0 operations need if not quite at the centre of this activity, needs at least a clear line of sight to the business strategy to maintain relevance and cohesion.

4) Although the core collaboration is inside the firewall, the firewall is regularly crossed in terms of cross-enterprise and team collaborations – e-mail, web 2.0, chattering clients, TV, the meeting.

5) People will change, not only in terms of churn, but also the roles and expertise will change as all the factors listed above come into play.

In what Oliver calls the brutal world of running a 2.0 DMZ it’s essential to ensure that:

Longer term strategic needs for a scalable, coherent collaborative backbone which connects silos and units on top of existing BI and associated infrastructure is tough in a world of quarterly results targets, and where staffing may completely change over time.

So how do we achieve this? In some way the argument calls for something above and beyond yet within and part of the business fabric. The nearest concept I can think of is some sort of Habermas type Public Sphere.

For Habermas the Public Sphere is an essential part of democratic society (he draws heavily on Hannah Arendt’s working on the Ancient Greek Polis) and is a space that exists for politics and discussion and is not subsumed in business or personal life. But here of course we are talking about Business and nothing but Business.

Maybe there’s something here to be learned from Corporate Social Responsibility. This is maybe a Cultural issue for the business, which can no more transcend the drive for profit than it can the market which defines it, (there being no such thing as a free luncheon after all….)

The question then comes down to this, how to be both part of and above the storm? Oliver almost calls for priests or at best non-partisan civil servants to manage the collaboration.:

Weaving collaborative workflow intents into the way you want staff to work over time is essential to realize the relevancy and power of collaborative 2.0 technologies without exposing the people tasked to run it to the realities of business political border disputes and fault lines.

The problem here though, is this role doesn’t seem to match those evangelizing in the enterprise today…For the tales I hear, the ones I have seen, means working and evangelizing on precisely those fault lines and around those disputes. Of that there seems little escape.

“Demilitarizing Collaboration: Designing Rules of Engagement” ZDNET
The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere” Wikipedia, so take it with a large pinch of salt.