“Openness” as a business backbone

Once upon a time, the only way to communicate with your co-workers was yelling!  and as technology evolves, it is clear that where communication is better, collaboration is better, so a bigger projects and work is done then the enterprise in a better comparative situation. Since late 90s traditional Enterprise Systems made it possible for an employee to check weather the company has  the financial ability, the storage space and all required approvals before doing a purchase order. Now companies want more, they want everybody to think in the same time Wikis and Blogs can be considered as a project management tools to replace the heavy use if emails. Also there are other tools that can encourage the innovation in the firm like what IBM did with its Innovation Jam to have its crowd sourcing in action. Such benefits encouraged the rise of companies that produce a Web 2.0 applications just for the enterprise sector, like Million Brains which is an internal product to encourage the innovation through collaborative intelligence within a firm and helping it to make it real, and Yammer which is an enterprise social network (something like Facebook). Also companies want the communication to be extended to their customers. British Telecom has applied the methods of Enterprise 2.0 which gave them a better internal communication where chats are open and the traditional boundaries are narrowed and the consumers are participating in the products definition. In addition, collaborating with the outside world can result in an unexpected results like when NASA shared with the public their Mars rover missions, then rover Spirit had stuck, and NASA created a dedicated blog for the public to follow what happens to her, they received  a suggestion from a 7 years old to use the front camera arm to to rescue the rover

Julian's suggestion

The downsides

There are major difficulties in applying Enterprise 2.0 in organizations, in terms of both pushing people to participate and pulling them from being too wild. As Julian Birkinshaw mentioned in The 5 Myths of Innovation, the second myth which is don’t expect people just to come in, and what happened in IBM’s Innovation Jam included a lot of marketing campaigns because it requires cultural change in the firm which is not easy, Also it’s a way to collect many existing data that can or cannot be beneficial especially if it’s from the public. On the other side, Enterprise 2.0 success has many risks which require a lot of changes in the policies and regulations regarding information security and confidentiality, and this means a clear awareness to the staff.

The bottom line

Companies can’t ignore the idea of applying a new concept such as Enterprise 2.0 because otherwise their rivals may know how to benefit from it and be more efficient to keep them behind. So at some point they need to investigate how can they gain from it with the least pain.

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