Monday, March 30, 2009

Living it, Not Lip-Synching it - Becoming an Enterprise 2.0 Practitioner

AIIM Expo is in the City of Brotherly Love - Philadelphia - this year... and what better place to explore all of the collaborative, cooperative goodness that is Enterprise 2.0...

I registered for the Enterprise 2.0 Practitioner Workshop. The 2 day course was compressed into one as a pre-conference tutorial before Expo kicks off on Tuesday. Via the magic of Twitter over last few weeks, was glad to get to know the instructor, the smart and funny Hanns Kohler-Kruner (sorry but I think he'll always be HannsKK now...).

The jam-packed day was worth it. I would not hesitate to recommend it to colleagues, partners and customers. But of course, always room for fine-tuning...

But What About the Human Voice? We spent a useful chunk of time exploring the evolution of Web 2.0 vs. Enterprise 2.0 and discussing the relative merits of accepted definitions. But the workshop materials proposed an updated definition that quite frankly, I didn't buy. Is E2.0 really "a system of web-based technologies that provide rapid and agile collaboration, information sharing, emergence and integration capabilities in the extended enterprise"? Too focused on the 'technologies' and no mention of the underlying cultural, change-agent or human elements that 2.0 has the ability to surface and nourish. I still prefer the original Andrew McAfee take: "use of emergent social software platforms within companies, or between companies and their partners or customers”. At least we have a sense of people, and building connections between and among key stakeholders inside and related to the business. But… bonus points to the AIIM definition for acknowledging the “extended enterprise”. Recognizing that trusted relationships are outside as well as inside the firewall is the underlying message of what Open Text calls the “Social Marketplace”.

Blogs! And Wikis! Oh My! Perhaps I have become overly sensitive to this particular issue (Hi Colleagues!) but using “blogs and wikis” as lazy shorthand for Enterprise 2.0 just doesn’t cut it anymore. Blogs and wikis are buckets of text. Err… that’s it. (Don’t worry – I have the same beef with people who say ‘compliance’ as lazy shorthand for records management…) Overemphasis on individual types of tools that sit under the label of 2.0, and not nearly enough about the value of contextual interactive communities. Successful adoption of 2.0 practices and technologies are heavily dependent on shared objectives, common purposes of a team of individuals. Community workspaces and transparent team discussion/debate (which may or may not be in blog and/or wiki format) is the glue that holds it all together. Value rises out of the aggregated harvested wisdom of experts and individuals (which is not the same thing as wisdom of ‘crowds’). It’s this community-centric approach to work that allows the withering away of needless email. Not blogs for the sake of blogs.

The Sore Thumb Moment: One section of the course that could easily be eliminated is the chapter on “Lowering the Barriers to Integration & Development”. The discussion of lean thinking, agile software methodology, FISDEV just didn’t seem to fit – perhaps the accelerated 1-day version of the curriculum didn’t do it justice. But I didn’t see how the topic fit under the chapter called “Business Drivers for Enterprise 2.0”. When I think of “Business Drivers”, I think about measurable improvements or objectives an organization would want to accomplish with an E2.0 strategy, like supporting a virtual organization, enabling their front line, better protecting corporate memory… not software development philosophies.

But I'm thankful that AIIM has stepped early and thoughtfully into Enterprise 2.0. It's the right community of dedicated information management professionals to highlight the importance of balance if this new social networking phenomenon is going to take hold in business - security, auditability, informed debate over where records management and digital preservation fit - hugely important topics for today.. not tomorrow.

I think all of the attendees walked away satisfied… thanks so much to the AIIM Expo team for choosing a venue with reliable FREE wireless. It meant that the twitter-addicted half of the class could share reading lists and exchange contact info via the “back channel” and even virtually loop the original course developers and Enterprise 2.0 Market IQ authors Dan Keldsen and Carl Frappaolo into the mix… check out the tweet-stream for yourself:

… more later this week…


  1. Hi Cheryl

    enjoyed your contributions today. Thanks for the blog post and thanks for the comments as well. Like you said, there is always room for improvement, but the foundation is solid :-)

    Hanns "HannsKK" Kohler-Kruner

  2. Hi Cheryl,
    Good to see your comments on the class. I'm going to be helping AIIM with training based around so its good to see some feedback from the courses.

    I didn't know FISDEV was covered but happy to see that it was. I started the project some time ago, I think it has a a lot of potential but enterprise 2.0 for sustainability is a complex subject, here is one of the first overviews I did:

    Any suggestions on this particular topic to make it better in a training context? It will help me in my own explanations as well.