All comments posted on this blog do not reflect the opinions of any organization that I am affiliated with. These are my personal perspectives only.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Holism: The Real Enterprise 2.0 Opportunity! - Part 1

The BIGGEST opportunity for a company that applies web 2.0 internally (aka Enterprise 2.0) is to create a holistic understanding and achieve holistic execution.

What is it worth to have a complete unified end-to-end understanding of your company, products/services, processes and customers!? Using that knowledge to truly create a holistic strategy for your corporation and then able to execute and track it holistically! Imagine being able to have all the benefits of being big (economies of scale & scope, stable infrastructure, reliability, credibility, financial strength, etc...) combined with the benefits of being small (agility, innovation, intimate knowledge, flexibility, etc...)!

This is part 1 of a multi-part blog that explores the achievement of holism in a company, why it fails today and how Enterprise 2.0 technologies, processes and philosophy (yes there is a philosophy behind this) COULD allow large companies to achieve impressive achievements. Like all things, there is no "magic bullet" but there is opportunity for those that are willing to invest, be patient, nurture and commit to an Enterprise 2.0 strategy.

Most of what you will see today on applying web 2.0 in a company (aka Enterprise 2.0), revolves around achieving similar benefits internally that have been proven successful out in the Internet. For example, people talk about Wikipedia and say... "Now what if we made a Wikipedia but just for our company? Could we create a Companyipedia that allows employees to document terms we use in our company? We could achieve the same results Wikipedia has done...". This kind of "replicating" value internally could be stated about most of the web 2.0 type technologies (RSS, Tagging, Social Networks, blogging, etc...)

There is nothing wrong with this, but it is only a small part of the story. Sure, you will be able to gain value from the technology, but it's the ability to integrate thoughts, knowledge and ideas that smash through silos & bureaucracy for a unified corporate vision that should excite smart companies. As companies grow in response to growing demand for their products/services, or to improve their offering or to achieve economies of scale & scope, they often unknowingly sacrifice agility, innovation & flexibility.

Growth leads to specialization in different areas which ultimately adds overall complexity to the organization. This complexity ends up destroying our ability to achieve a complete holistic (end-to-end) understanding of the company, the products/services, and it's customers. How exactly does this happen? Well, it's complicated but can basically be grouped into 3 areas.

  1. People/Organizational Complexity

  2. Process/Competency Complexity

  3. Technical Complexity

The next series of blogs will focus on each of these 3 areas and how Enterprise 2.0 can start to address these areas to re-gain holism for a large company. Although I am speaking primarily to large corporate entities, the same could be applied to other large organizations. For smaller organizations, they can also reap the benefits however theirs is not the same challenge. In a small company, the ability to know everyone and what they do and how it affects everyone else is easier. Until Enterprise 2.0 however, there was arguably no real way to achieve mass collaboration.

Read Part 2 Here

Read Part 3 Here

Read Part 4 Here

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