Me vs. IT 2.0 vs. Enterprise 2.0


In 2009, I was very excited to present a few funky things we've been developing with Neolab, at the largest independent IT conference in Slovenia. The world was obsessed with "2.0" back then, and we were determined to join that hype. Facebook was already big at that point, and it was becoming clear they will make a huge impact on the future of technology. Tim O'Reilly wrote a seminal article on the topic, arguing how Web 2.0, the new generation of the internet (and software!), has changed everything.

I was amazed by the potential of Web 2.0 as well. Since my main focus is developing business oriented software solutions, I started fantasizing about the possibilities of integrating those concepts into our (serious) applications. If our clients are buying premium custom software from us, we should try to deliver more features with high added value for them. Stuff that enables co-creation and collaboration. Which we did. And called it IT 2.0.

We wanted IT 2.0 to be much more than Enterprise 2.0. At that time, Enterprise 2.0 meant using mostly third-party tools for social networking, wikis, blogs or tagging, assimilating them into enterprise environments. On the other hand, we wanted to take the coolest concepts invented by social networking, wikis, blogs or tagging, and integrate them into our solutions in new ways. You see, our software isn't social per se, our software's main goal is to solve complex and specific business problems. But we've managed to put a social layer on top of that software, making the term Enteprise 2.0 simply not awesome enough to describe it.

But Enteprise 2.0 is awesome. It's actually very awesome. If O'Reilly defined Web 2.0 in 2005, Andrew McAfee defined Enteprise 2.0 in 2006. He was one of the first who has studied the implementation of social software (such as social networking, wikis, blogs or tagging) into enterprise environments. In doing that, he developed the fundamentals of Enterprise 2.0, naming it SLATES (Search, Links, Authorship, Tags, Extensions, Signals). This concept was later on extended by Dion Hinchcliffe with FLATNESSES (adding Freeform, Network-oriented, Social, Emergence) and the 4Cs by Niall Cook (Communication, Collaboration, Connection, Cooperation).

But social software (like any other software) is usually just a means to achieve something greater. The truth is, implementing Enterprise 2.0 tools into the enterprise isn't enough to make collaboration and open innovation work, organizations need to fundamentally change as well. Enterprise 2.0 enables a completely new way of doing business, walking hand in hand with lean and agile approaches, seeking new opportunities in connecting employees, clients, partners, suppliers and even competition. It supports the new global and connected world. But it requires a new way of thinking and a deep corporate culture change.

Organizational culture (change) is very important for innovation and adaptability, but in the academic field, pieces of this equation are missing. Until now, there haven't been many studies about how organizational culture impacts the implementation of collaborative environment and vice versa. But I'm set to change that fact. And I will soon need your help!

I've finally started working on my master's thesis, which will try to find out if there is connection between organizational culture and Enterprise 2.0 adoption. I have already studied 6 books and 50+ articles on the subject, and will soon deploy the survey, which will combine the OCAI (Organizational Culture Assessment Instrument) and a general Enterprise 2.0 questionnaire. Those who will help me and participate in the study, will get the final report in return, besides a concise comment / advice about their specific organization's situation (the survey is not available yet, please ping me on if you're interested). I'm sure the results will be worth the effort.

If IT 2.0 is about new generations of software and user experience, Enterprise 2.0 is about new ways of managing companies. Those who are able to implement such approaches can win big, but then again, not all companies actually have the opportunity to absorb this transformation. There are many huge obstacles for businesses to go 2.0. Stay tuned because soon, we will better understand why.

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written 30.7.2014 21:41 CET on chronolog
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