Friday, December 29, 2006

Hypothecating Enterprise 2.0

If you have read the previous post on Internet, which touched upon the Enterprise 2.0 thing, this is further to that. So, what is Enterprise 2.0? At the time of writing that post even I did not have much clarity about the concept. What follows now would be my limited understanding of the concept, which surely won't be technical but from a business perspective.

What is Enterprise 2.0

Enterprise 2.0, henceforth referred to as E2 for the sake of ease, is a relatively new (or poised to be) dictum. You must have seen the following in the aforementioned post.

This is a rough estimation of what E2 is and can be. Further, still there remains a lack of unanimity over the definition. Closest we can get to defining E2 is through the writings of M R Rangaswami who defines it as a Synergy of a new set of technologies, development models and delivery methods. And Andrew McAfee who coined this term as: Use of emergent social software platforms within companies, or between companies and their partners or customers.

Confused? So am I

Lets take a real life situation, most of us daily get calls from one or the other organisations regarding some product which they want us to buy. Just a few days back I received a call from an employee of Deutsche Bank who wanted me try out their credit cards, but I was interested in savings account. I refused to opt for credit card and there was no deal. The caller since was not looking after savings, hung off. And Deutsche Bank which had a lead for a potential savings account customer, lost on converting it. If we monetise this, the organisations gets nothing in spite of investing some money in lead generation, approach and conversion.

Now, take a situation where the bank has an E2.0 intranet, which uses Open Source
Mediawiki wiki software. This caller would have accessed a database to get to my number and other details. This database would be on the intranet of the bank. We already know about tagging in Web 2.0, almost all of us access, digg. If this person, who called me, can tag my name under potential savings customers, other bank employees dealing with savings and who also access this intranet, can have this information in a fast, low cost and seamless manner. More so, once the information has reached the appropriate person, it can be further tagged as taken for action. The senior management's role here becomes to monitor the process of information through proper tagging and then the progress regarding action. Further, if an employee lands on an internet page that is of the organisation’s interest she can simply tag it for the others to see. This is only one of the many examples and uses of E2 that one can think of. Prof McAfee in one of his posts points out to a real life example of deep E2 penetration

Does this make sense? If it does, then there are a few catch phrases with Pro McAfee's definition, these are

  1. E2 use Social Softwares, social softwares enable people to meet, connect and collaborate.
  2. These Social Softwares are Emergent i.e. it lets patterns and structures in people's interaction become visible with time.

And now, the difference between the two definitions by Rangaswami and McAfee that we read above, it lies in what you see on your screen (for eg: tags) and what brings it onscreen (the service architecture / technology behind). E2 is more about people who use it and less about technology, models and delivery formats. It is also about wide and deep penetration of social softwares that they become an inextricable part of an organisation's culture and technology infrastucture.

Again, does this make sense?..... You say.

No comments yet