Enterprise 2.0 Challenges & Opportunities

As a person trying to shine the light in my own organization on Enterprise 2.0 style collaboration and trying to lead other organizations toward the benefits of social software on productivity and effectiveness, I’m constantly reminded of both how far along we have come as well as how far we have yet to go. Enterprise 2.0 is in many ways still an early adopter game, thought the adoption curve is steeper and faster than in previous technology shifts.

Below is an excerpt from a longer post written by Lee Bryant and featured here at Social Computing Magazine that illustrates some of the current pressing needs in Enterprise 2.0 social software development to pick up the next wave of adopters. These are the folks that are flexible and creative, and want to try new, potentially more productive applications. Yet, they are not the early adopters that will try anything. They are productive in what they do and use, and are looking for the next edge. The switching costs are just a little higher now.

Here is the excerpt and the link to the longer post:

At the opposite end of the stack, I think we need to think about consistent interface design to avoid the obvious problem of users (especially the all-important second wave adopters) having to get to grips with too many different interface patterns, metaphors and identities. It will not always be necessary or desirable to create a unified interface for a number of different tools, but I foresee this being a frequent request from both users and buyers. In this scenario, plugging in different applications, services and data sources between a consistent interface and a common data architecture becomes a whole lot easier. We have talked about creating a lightweight social interface onto corporate systems, but perhaps this might also extend to other social software tools and services as well, with feeds and APIs doing the integration leg-work to allow what users think of as ‘the system’ (i.e. the interface) to float gracefully above the water like a swan.

The goal here is to offer companies a fluid combination of tools, web services and bespoke systems to allow them to craft evolving solutions, rather than static systems that gradually fade into obsolescence. It is the ‘release early, release often’ principle of Web 2.0 applied to internal corporate systems.

I’m seeing this in practice as we get to the next wave of adoption. It’s clearly a problem that will be solved, yet it is also clear that nobody has provided the right solution yet in Enterprise 2.0 land. We are experimenting with everything now and are working on our own apps in this area too. Assuming the early adoption productivity is the tip of the iceberg in value creation (as it usually is – think Microsoft), then solving the problem for the next wave of adopters and the next after them is really interesting.

Here is the link to the post. Comments welcome.

^ brian