The difference between Enterprise 1.0 and 2.0 Applications

Although we have never referred to our current approach to collaboration within modern enterprises as Enterprise 1.0 it has become implicit due to the notion of Enterprise 2.0. This is an attempt to say, “This is new! Look at this: it’s a completely new way of collaborating! What we did before is now outdated”

It’s not all hype either, but it does require cultural change. In an organization that is not prone to collaboration, implementing Enterprise 2.0 tools is not going to change that. As with any IT problem, you cannot solve it with a tool if the culture is not ready to change.

There are a few key characteristics of Enterprise 1.0 that are evident by comparison with their Enterprise 2.0 counterparts:

  • Enterprise 1.0 communications are 1-to-1 or 1-to-few. Consider email or instant messaging or even the telephone as a medium for 2-way communications with a lot of people. It would be unwieldy and at any significant scale completely unmanageable.
  • Enterprise 1.0 communications are not persistent. When I delete mail from my size-restricted e-mailbox the evidence of that communication is gone, along with the information hidden away in it.
  • Enterprise 1.0 communications are not pervasive. I cannot search through emails that Joe sent to John to see if they mentioned SOA because that communication was visible only to the two of them.

So by extrapolation we say then that Enterprise 2.0 communications must be:

  • For an unlimited audience. Communications are not 1-to-1, but many-to-many.
  • Persistent / Asynchronous. Their lifespan is not limited to the time when the communication occurred.
  • Referencable and searchable. It makes information out of communication.

These properties are all evident in Blogs and Wikis, but we should not make the mistake of saying that Enterprise 2.0 is the implementation of Blogs and Wikis in the organization.

It is the out-working of the understanding that organizations are too large and complex to collaborate the way we used to. Achieving alignment is the objective of collaboration and it is not trivial nor a waste of time, but has real impact on the organization that once achieved will put the organization ahead of those who have grasped this to a lesser extent forever!

Remember: “An organization’s ability to learn and translate that learning into action rapidly, is the ultimate competitive business advantage.” ~ Jack Welch, General Electric, Chairman

If we assume this is true, then the tools can help us do these faster,
but without the desire to learn and apply our learnings as an
organization we shouldn’t bother with the tools. If we are not
learning and collaborating and applying our learnings then not doing it
faster or more efficiently will not help.

Enterprise 2.0 is not only about tools, but about the realization that it is important to learn and collaborate and apply those learnings – then do it faster and more efficiently.

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