E2.0 – Subverting Companies from the Ground Up (maybe)

From a ZDNet blog: Web 2.0 for the enterprise: Wisdom of the employees I read (bold emphasis is mine) … and you should watch the vid clip that’s there too:

It’s a major cultural shift for organizations governed by centralized command and control to allow usage of bottom up, lightweight, less costly, distributed, collaborative Web tools that offer more flexibility and less rigid work flows. Over time, the new generation coming into the workforce, who have grown up digitally, will force that cultural shift

For me, this can’t come soon enough.

And from Collaboration Loop: State of the Enterprise: Wikis, Blogs, RSS

Enterprises by and large have not adopted these tools, with only 23% of enterprises using blogs, 37% using wikis, and 23% using RSS (most of which use RSS for external communication via their corporate web sites rather than for internal collaboration).  You could look at these numbers two ways depending on your perspective.  One, the adoption rates are fairly low given the hype, and two, the adoption rates are fairly high given the newness of these applications.

I’m really trying to be a ‘glass-half-full’ kinda guy … but it is getting tough.  A real, top-down, authoritarian culture still exists; and it – the culture, that is – is starting to feel a bit threatened.  Okay – not to be melodramatic … but here’s what happening with me …

At first these Web 2.0 techs were looked upon as some misbehaving child in the corner – ‘awww, isn’t that cute’ … with very little real attention being paid to them, perhaps in the hope that they would just disappear for lack of ‘official’ sanction or support.

Now, however, management/leadership are starting to take notice because it’s just not going away.  From the same Collaboration Loop post:

… tools such as wikis were often brought in outside the control of IT, with individual users or business groups signing up for one of the many free or hosted wiki services currently available via the web

Seems like some folks are getting pretty tired of waiting for the command-and-control management to authorize and support Web 2.0/E2.0.  And I’m sure that this has put some IT folks in a bit of panic … if folks are using tools outside a corp network or firewall. 

There may be a backlash in this where management/leadership, under advice from IT, put some pretty draconian restrictions to access such web services.  (I’m hoping this won’t happen, but there does seem to be some kind of showdown in the making here).

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About Rory

I make my home in the central part of the Garden State along with my family. When I'm not working as an Instructional Designer (focusing mostly on Web-Based learning ... and other eLearning technologies) or researching something, I'm found at home playing computer or video games. Among other things, I volunteer as a choir member and catechist for 8th graders at my parish.
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2 Responses to E2.0 – Subverting Companies from the Ground Up (maybe)

  1. Management needs to figure out how to provide a universally accessible technical infrastructure while at the same time encouraging innovation and collaboration in the pursuit of corporate goals. This is not a technology problem per se but it does have a strong technology component.

    I also think it’s wrong to portray the IT department as the “bad guy” in these discussions. For years we’ve asked IT to provide instantaneous support and constant access to tools. Because of this heritage it’s natural — and appropriate — for IT to ask serious questions about security, standards, and availability.

  2. Rory says:

    Thanks for your comments, Dennis. I couldn’t agree with you more about management having to provide the infrastructure; but most importantly they must take the lead in the initiative.

    This is the cultural aspect I noted in my post. A company’s culture, if it is a top-down command-and-control environment, will resist much of the Web2.0/E2.0 initiatives.

    Yet they are going on – where individuals in companies are using E2.0 tools without official sanction. And that is what is irking IT. They are irresponsible if they don’t voice objection … after all, they are set up as guardians of electronic/network assets of sorts. (Whether of not my IT group is indeed the “bad guy” as you say … well … I’ll just say that that moniker fits the bill in my experience … for a wide variety of reasons).

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