Thursday, 15 July 2010

Enterprise 2.0 summary


   I still need to catch up on quite a few posts from the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston.  I captured them live in draft but didn’t get time at or since the conference to publish.  They will out before the end of the month!

Of course, you will find commentaries on all the sessions elsewhere, but I hope you’ll value my additional insight built into the posts as well.

And I thought I’d give you a summary of some of these insights, in terms of my major overall reflections on some of the key themes and debates at the conference.


Culture and tools

There seemed to be a significant split in attendees / perspectives between a focus on on culture, and a focus on technology.  I’m not saying anyone thought culture was unimportant – that certainly wasn’t the case, but it’s about prioritisation.  Some people clearly understood that culture (the way people work together, collaborate etc) is the most important element in e 2.0.  At the other end of the scale, there was a view that we’ve reached the end of the ‘culture 2.0 crusade’.  I believe this focus is important, and suggest it does need to be on culture.

I’ve got another draft post on this which I’ll be posting here shortly as well.

And I’m proposing to speak on this subject at the next e 2.0 conference in Santa Clara in November.


Creating and adding value

A further issue was around the role of e 2.0 in bringing around changes.  The prevailing train of thinking suggested that e 2.0 technologies need to be embedded in business processes, and what people do within their jobs.  Ie that 2.0 adds value to existing processes to help them and the people performing them work effectively.  Or maybe that 2.0 can create value, ie help people and organisations do new things by applying appropriate innovations faster than elsewhere (as a solution in search of a problem).

To me, its people, and their relationships, that create value.  2.0 technologies play a role in helping them do this.  And most of what people do happens on top of and around business processes.  So if we want 2.0 to create value, to lead change, we need to extend its use beyond the workflow.  We need to focus on peoples’ working-lives rather than just work-flows.

The challenge in doing this is in getting people to do something that goes beyond their narrowly defined jobs.  But this is where the benefit lies as well.

Again, I aim to post on this in more detail.


HR and IT

E 2.0 is not an IT conference, but there were certainly more CIOs and IT Directors than there were people from any other function.  A couple of people and tweets commented on the lack of HR people.

Actually, there were about 15 of us there.  Not a huge number perhaps but the conference agenda is going to have to change to encourage more, eg less headache inducing product demos dressed up as keynotes, and just a broader agenda too – choosing between various social technologies that all do pretty much the same job isn’t to me what 2.0 needs to be about.

But HR is increasingly interested in this.  Or at least in the benefits 2.0 can provide.  To me, it’s just that IT and HR aren’t talking to each other sufficiently.

And we need HR to be part of the conversation.  I try to wear a business rather than an HR had on this blog (my HR blog is Strategic HCM).  But I can’t get away from the fact that if culture vs tools is what’s important, HR should really be the key owner and driver of 2.0 oriented (social) change.

So I’ve got another proposal in for Santa Clara to help IT understand the ping points for HR, and develop a closer conversation between the two functions (and I’d like to do one focusing in reverse for the CIPD or SHRM).


Best and emerging practices

I felt there also seemed to be growing body of opinion that we all know and share a reasonably similar view about what e 2.0 needs to involve, how best to do it etc.  We don’t (or at least I don’t – see above).

I’d like to see the conference hang back from trying to focus on ‘the solution’ and encourage more diversity in thought (I’d have liked to have seen a few more rather more divergent thinkers like Stowe Boyd and Paula Thornton on the agenda too).

Oh, and a diversity in case studies too.  I’ve already posted on EMC, Cisco, CSC and IDEO and my draft folder includes posts on AXA, IBM, Microsoft, Sony, UBM and Vanguard.  Notice any similarities?  I’d like to see the conference help push interest and usage out beyond the IT sector, even if this means focusing more on current attempts vs successful case studies (actually, I think I’d prefer this anyway).

However, I don’t think getting this diversity is likely.  We all understand enough about ‘culture 2.0’ to know that people link with (and vote for) people like themselves.

So I somehow can’t see myself presenting in Santa Clara!?


Picture credit: JoJan


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