Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Enterprise 2.0 - breaking a binary reality

I am at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston. David Weinberger kicked off the conference with a thought provoking session. He posited that the next big leap forward is the breaking of our binary thinking that has been transposed from our physical reality. We are already taking steps in this direction. A few things are happening: 1. Leaves will be on many branches 2. Data and metadata are the same thing. Metadata is the stuff we know and data is the stuff we don't. When everything becomes metadata we get smarter because we can find the stuff we don't know, 3. Unowned order. Tagging and other classification schemes are enabling users to sift out and discard data they are not interested in. Using experts to classify does not scale from the real world to the virtual world. Authority, trust and fallibility is changing. Wikipedia is cited as a great example. It is more trusted because it questions its own fallibility. This admission increases trust.

Andrew McAfee

Andrew McAfee followed up with a review of where we are with Enterprise 2.0. There has been a lot of progress. Social Software is the key and Freeform authoring is the fuel. The biggest leap forward is for the system owners to get out of the way. We need to put trust in the users. Learn how to let them tag and classify and use this metadata to add value, context and insight. It is becoming clear that chaos is not the result of a loss of structure. What we are seeing is emergent order that creates valuable new insights. On the technology side the toolkit for social software in an enterprise context is progressing at a rapid pace. Incumbents are adapting web 2.0 technologies to their traditional software. At the same time new starts continue to push the envelope. Things to watch out for: - Watch out for feature creep. simplicity is the key. Zen-like simplicity is the goal. Incumbent technologies are present. Email is used 100% of the time. When we compare incumbent and replacement technologies we tend to overate the old by a factor of 3 and under weight the new by a factor of 3. This is the 9x challenge.

Show me the money

Proving the impacts of technologies leaves us depending on a few case studies. We need to seek out new examples of success. We also need to avoid falling in to the trap of quoting impressive ROI numbers. The anecdotal evidence is more appreciated. Andrew proposed an Enterprise 2.0 repository for Enterprise 2.0 efforts. We need to provide adequate disclosure. Follow Wikipedia-style publishing ground rules. anyone want to volunteer?

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