Enterprise 2.0 will bring radical change in organisations

According to analysts, Enterprise 2.0 presents a genuine opportunity for businesses to liberate their workforce and energise productivity.

The way organisations are structured requires change - out with the old and in with the new. Mark Raskino, vice-president and Gartner fellow said, "Enterprise 2.0 will arise out of the Web 2.0 scene much as 'e-business' came out of the e-commerce practised by the dot-coms. But there are important differences to e-business. In some ways, this second major wave of internet-enabled business improvement may be more substantial than the first one."

Enterprise 2.0 is the term for the technologies and business practices that are aimed at liberating the workforce from the constraints of legacy communication and productivity tools, such as email. The system is about breaking down organisational and technology barriers and adopting new ways to communicate and share information.

Steve Hodgkinson, Ovum research director, sees Enterprise 2.0 as a genuine opportunity for technology to act as a catalyst for changes in organisational culture.

"Enterprise 2.0 is emerging as the most practical way of sharing and managing knowledge in a range of contexts, from team collaboration to customer self-service forums. This leads to the ability to bring about cultural change with the personal power of informal networks such as wikis, blogs, profiles and forums.

"The root of its culture change power, however, is its ability to unleash the personal power of informal networks," said Hodgkinson.

These networks are fuelled by mutual self-interest, or a desire for comradeship and intellectual stimulation. Such interaction will increase the flow of information and unite those with the same information.

This system is also designed to provide business managers with this information at a suitable time, through a web of interconnected applications, services and devices. Collective intelligence of many becomes accessible, translating to a huge competitive advantage in the form of increased innovation, productivity and agility.

Beside communication, key ideas within this new system include:

  • The need for a flat organisation, rather than an organisational hierarchy
  • Folksonomy rather than taxonomy
  • User-driven technology rather than IT department control
  • Short time-to-market cycles; to continue and increase flow
  • Global teams of people, rather than locating the whole organisation in one building
  • Emergent information systems, rather than dictated and structured information systems
  • The opening of propriety standards

Hodgkinson said: "These informal networks provide organisational peripheral vision and cut through the day-to-day nonsense, enabling more sensitive situational awareness, breakthrough thinking and access to the subtle levers of organisational change.

"The changes are designed to increase ability, flexibility, distribution, openness and simplicity within the organisation."

Hodgkinson exhorts the leaders in organisations to make it happen. Anthony Bradley, research director, Gartner, tends to agree with Hodgkinson. "Conscientious workers will always strive for higher productivity. They won't hesitate to use personal computing devices and low-cost (often free) internet consumer technologies such as instant messaging (IM), blogging, wikis, content sharing and mashups. This shifts the power of computing innovation from the corporate IT organisation, which previously had sole control over computing capabilities, to users, who can easily obtain relatively sophisticated computing capabilities outside the corporate environment. As a result, organisations must accept the inevitability of EW2.0 and begin planning ways to deploy effective Web 2.0 capabilities for maximum business value," said Bradley.

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