This evening, I attended a couple of sessions at a virtual event linked to this Summer’s Enterprise 2.0 conference (where I’m still hoping to present).
I really enjoyed the presentations, particularly Morten Hansen’s session on Collaboration. And I agreed with most of the points made. However, I do disagree, quite strongly, with a point made by Oliver Marks and Sameer Patel in their session, that the objectives for E2.0 projects should always be financial ie increasing revenues or reducing costs.
I seem to have a minority viewpoint here – certainly Marks’ and Patel’s point rippled through the Twitter stream at #e2conf (“Collaboration & ‘being’ social are not outcomes. business objectives are outcomes”) for a quite a while afterwards.
So why do I consider the point to be wrong (and substantially limiting):
- Firstly, another good point on the Twitter stream was that we shouldn’t start with Enterprise 2.0 at all (a potential solution in search of a problem). We should start with the business, and look at how its objectives can be realised, which may include Enterprise 2.0. These objectives don’t always have to be financial.
- In fact, surely one major learning over the last decade and beyond, through inputs like the balanced business scorecard, is that focusing purely on financial objectives limits what’s possible.
- The main reason for this is that capabilities like collaboration, especially those which are vitally important, and under-developed, like ‘being’ social, can have a dramatic and transformational impact on end business results further down the value chain (they can create as well as add value).
It’s by focusing on the social aspect of organisations that we stand the best chance of enabling the deepest change. I don’t think focusing on the technology, or non-technological activities, is going to do it on their own, as unless there’s a desire and an understanding of what social is, the full benefit of a more social approach isn’t going to be gained. But focusing on business results isn’t going to achieve much more.
‘Being’ social is an outcome, and it’s the key leverage point to change this system too.
For a deeper explanation, see my recent post, 3 modes of web 2.0 implementation.
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