I really got a kick out of Jevon’s Enterprise 2.0 Drag Queens post. Watching a company trying to be something that it’s not is a bit sad, but in a comical way. On the eve of the Enterprise 2.0 Conference, I thought it might be time to stop and think a bit about “Enterprise 2.0”, which is really quite a horrid name for something so important.
As corny as it may be, the thing that I really like about the label is the “2.0”. It sounds as though it’s a new release of the Enterprise. But-why do we need a new Enterprise? The old one still works, right?
Well, yeah. But also no. Things have changed. And the changes have happened subtly – to the foundations of the way we work.
If you take any department in your organization, you will find two common elements. These are Information Management, and Communication.
It doesn’t matter what department it is. HR, Finance, Operations, Marketing -all they are doing is storing and retrieving information, and selectively passing it on to people – customers, colleagues, and other organizations. ( I realise this is a pretty high-level abstraction, but stay with me for a while. The view’s really nice up here 😉 )
Most of the principles – the “best practices” around optimizing organizations deal explicitly with these two elements. That’s what’s kept management consultants getting paid so much for so long. That’s what brought us Business Process Management, and Automated Workflow, and Process Re-engineering. Structuring and refining information management and communication processes. That’s it.
(See – what good is a high level abstraction if you can’t make sweeping generalizations?)
But while we were busy with flowcharts and telephone systems, the fundamental assumptions of those two disciplines changed. And it was the internet that changed them.
The 1.0 Rules of Communication
The 1.0 Rules of Information Management
None of these things are true anymore.
That’s why we need the 2.0. That’s why our tools need to change. The foundations that we built our organizations on are not the same.
(And perhaps that’s why it’s funny when the guys who have years of 1.0 experience behind them cram their burly legs into the silk stockings and the whip out the lipstick…)