Enterprise 2.0 – Giving the Hype a Second Thought

Technology Inertia

Even in technically savvy organizations, document sharing is predominantly done through emails. Some people are only comfortable using Excel for various business needs—even after various collaborative platforms and productivity enhancement tools are made available. There seems to be considerable inertia within organizations when it comes to new tools.

Apart from email, ERP, centralized- and approval-based systems if people have not been exposed to other collaborative platforms the challenge will become even more complex and Enterprise 2.0 tools will be of little help.

Takeaway: There will be existing tools within the organization that overlap with the Enterprise 2.0 toolset but an organization needs to plan on addressing the areas that are beyond the normal, collaborative scope of their existing tools.

Technology Platforms

There are very few, if any, vendors who have a real Enterprise 2.0 offering that can easily integrate with the existing infrastructure of an organization. The choices for Enterprise2.0 toolsets—Wiki, blogs, collaboration and social networking—range from open source to niche, stand alone vendors, to SaaS offerings, to the large document management and ERP vendors.

An organization planning for the Enterprise 2.0 journey should keep in mind the following:

? Users are going to benchmark the Enterprise 2.0 solutions against those available in the public domain.

? The expectations on usability and feature richness will be very high and a mere feature up tick will not help. (The open source and the niche vendors seem to score higher on this front than the traditional large document management and ERP vendors.)

Enterprise 2.0 toolsets have to be integrated into the existing solutions and their place and role needs to be clearly thought through. Having a standalone Wiki will not do any good and, at best, will add to information clutter and silos. (The traditional large document management and ERP vendors seem to score higher on this front than the open source and niche vendors.)

Takeaway: Evaluate and choose the technology solutions for Enterprise 2.0 platforms with the same rigor as you would do for an ERP.

Security Issues, Knowledge Leakage and Regulatory Compliance

Ironically, the same principles that serve as the basis for success of Web 2.0 in the Internet world can be a cause for concern within an organizational context. The free, open and uninhibited sharing of information, ability to reuse and mix content and applications, mash-ups and micro-formats, widgets and APIs—the backbone in the Web 2.0 successes can be an issue for IP sensitive organizations.

Enterprise 2.0 toolsets and methodologies have significant implications on how organizations should plan for IP protection, access controls, legal and regulatory compliances such as SOX.For example, a services company providing similar services to competing clients should have a well defined policy on what its employees can write and share in their corporate blogs, corporate Wiki and the like.

An absence of a well thought out security, IP protection plan for Web 2.0 applications can severely hurt an organization.

Takeaway: Web 2.0 within an enterprise brings its own set of IP and security issues that have to be thought through in detail.

Shahnawaz Khan is associate director, Knowledge Management, with MindTree Ltd.and is responsible for conceptualizing, designing and implementing KM Platforms around collaboration, reuse & innovation. He can be reached at [email protected].