Agile Computing Authors: Pat Romanski, Zakia Bouachraoui, Carmen Gonzalez, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White

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Seven ways enterprise 2.0 differs from web 2.0

Bill Ives has a post examining the differences the dynamic and cultural differences between enterprise 2.0 and web 2.0.

He points to one of his previous posts and also Kevin Mullens’s blog post that makes the point of “solutions”:

“Enterprise 2.0 is about the Business and is about providing solutions for Business. When I think of Enterprise 2.0 solutions now, I think of tools and solutions usually delivered via Web Services, with much more collaboration built into the tools and solutions.”

Isn’t it all about social productivity and emergence, and what ever comes from that…maybe this is what solutions means.

If we go to an Anecdote paper on community, collaboration and networks, we see three different dynamics at play.

1. Communities of Interest - people coming together to share and learn
2. Teams/WorkGroups - people coming together to achieve a goal, this includes a lot of collaboration (working together on a task or paper)
3. Networks - individual centric (self interest), connecting profiles, and in aggregate we are able to get valuable data.

UPATE: I guess there is a 4th type, and that’s social tools mashed into existing applications.

All these 3 types can exist on the open web and in the enterprise.
A community leader or facilitator may moderate, garden, etc…and in a workgroup they may give directions.
Whereas with social networks/sites like Facebook, del.icious, Flickr, Slideshare, YouTube, Twitter there is no leader, it’s individual centric. But if you put up a “bad” clip in YouTube, you will be dealt with (these are the rare occasions we hear from the overall owner), and the same in an enterprise social network.

I don’t see anything different here in dynamics, one difference is that in the enterprise the content must be about learning or work, not goofing off, and that there are policies to adhere to the usual expected conduct from employees (don’t talk about confidential stuff and, don’t jeopardize people).


Bill Ives points out a difference within the enterprise and that’s “accountability” to a groups aims:

“In the consumer web you are only accountable to yourself. In enterprise 2.0 you are accountable to the group success of your team, your company.”

This is referring to group work where you may have a project space with blogs and wikis, etc… But what about an internal blogosphere like IBM or a shared interest CoP, this is more about general sharing, learning, and experience (not really accountability). This participation platform is emergent (we don’t know what we are gonna get, we just take part and see what happens). We become more capable and skilled as we are educating each other, and then we can bring that know-how back to our tasks.

So I do think there is a difference between using social tools for project work, and for purposed based sharing and learning. Again the Anecdote paper pointed to above explains the different dynamics between share interest groups, team/project groups, and networks.
At this stage there is no difference between enterprise 2.0 and web 2.0 in regards to communities (learning) and networks/blogospheres (self interest), but there is when it comes to work spaces set-up to actually do work.
You can have Workgroups on the open web, but you are still volunteering your time to take direction from the leader, if you don’t you may get kicked out of the group…in the enterprise you may lose your job.


So the first difference is content in the enterprise must be about work or learning.


The second difference, as just mentioned, is being accountable, or else.

The third difference is that in web 2.0 I choose to participate, and no-one tries to get me to go to training or promote social tools. This may be the same in the enterprise eg. CoP or internal blogosphere or bookmarks, but when it comes to Workgroups then I have to use whatever work style or tools that have been set-up.
In relation to communities and networks/blogospheres, if you are not that passionate about your job or work related topics, you are not gonna blog about work things.

But not all participation is about volunteering know-how, as mentioned above using social tools in team spaces is about social productivity, so it may be mandated that we use blogs for broadcast announcements, news, task status, etc rather than email.
This is directed contributions, it is content you are already producing, only you are mandated to deliver it in blogs rather than email…and have conversations in forums rather than email…and collaborate in wikis rather than email/attachments. See more in Mike Gotta’s post with a great comments discussion (incl. me). I couldn’t believe some people think mandating their know-how (stuff you know that you never really write down) was OK…I bet David Vaine ;) couldn’t believe his luck when he found the opportunity to spread the word about corporate flogging in this post.


So to re-iterate the third difference is mandated to use certain tools over others for directed type of content.

Transparency, Network Effect, Facilitation and Egalitarianism

Bill Ives goes on to say that in social team spaces (Workgroups), managers need to act as coaches to help and sustain the participation and team work, capitialising the transparency to make correlations, connections, and evolve the input, and welcome their POV rather than being watchdogs.

This is about the need for facilitation, and the realisation of emergence rather than imposing or controlling. People in the enterprise need to learn and be encouraged and guided, using informal learning practices, as this may be new to some people. You just don’t need this on the web, as there is no agenda, if someone can’t get the hang of web 2.0, it just doesn’t matter or have impact on the residents of the webosphere, as there are so many people that do get it.

Recently on our internal communities someone left a comment on one of my blog posts about communities of interest. He said; the new technology, this way of coming together, having discourse and learning is something new, he felt like it was migrating to a new country. The dynamic and technology was foreign, and the current participants seemed intimidating (well not really, but the initial fear of wanting his content to be of the right calibre). But he went ahead and made that comment because he said the community participants were hospitable and welcoming, and it was this factor that gave him the confidence to participate.

Another example was a demo I was doing for a new internal community, the managers were excited (the possibilities), and at the same time it was very foreign to them (platform vs channels), they seem intimidated.
At this point I realised even though they see the benefits, they really have to experience them, and when this happens, they need to be guided. So I decided to make a Facilitators community (Train the trainers), I want each community facilitator to know as muchas they can about social technology, community dynamics and facilitation itself.

I made a comment in the post about some additional things I’ve posted about in the past, I’ll re-post it here. It’s mostly about a harder time generating a network effect in an enterprise 2.0 environment due to a smaller amount of participants.

It also harps back to transparency and the fact that the enterprise is not an egalitarian culture like the open web, instead we have managers and hierarchies.
The question is will transparency be accepted, as Bill alludes to in his post, the transparency of participation eventually leads to collaboration (KM 2.0 model).

These higher positioned people may not like the concept that the ideas of lesser positioned people are in a visible arena and may be seen by all to contribute or have an impact on decision making. They may feel this transparency lessens their role, or replaces their impact or exclusivity on what’s best for the company, as it may now be more openly influenced by the people…they might feel less in charge, and that all this transparency undermines their role.

When you think about it, it’s giving more power and autonomy to the people, where social productivity and connection brings the best minds together, in a more networked self organised kind of way that hierarchy just can’t do. Senior staff also have to accept that this greater organisational performance won’t happen unless participation and transparency is welcomed. Once you start censoring this type of ecosystem, it might just revolt on you. In the end they are still making ultimate decisions, but these are based on the conversations and content of the social enterprise, rather than just an exclusive meeting.

This is the real difference between enterprise 2.0 and web 2.0, it’s about acceptance and a new model of management.
What was initially about sharing know-how and collaboration has turned into a new style of de-management, and decision making, where the networked enterprise approach is heading into a more adaptive, self-organising, and autonomous learning organisation.

This to me is a milestone in time, a change from scientific management and the industrial age to the networked knowledge age. Perhaps the more pressing topic is management 2.0.

Here’s my comment on Bill’s post:


In one of my posts I refer to a post on the Social Glass, and Inforvark blog on the difference between how knowledgeworkers and managers will operate in an enterprise 2.0 world.

“…managers needing all the web 2.0 content data into a usable distilled format, as managers are about the “status” of work, in contrast to knowledge workers being about the “way they do” this work.”

Also I like what McAfee said in a podcast with Kathleen Gilroy about how enterprise 2.0 will have a harder time generating a network effect, and thet there are no managers on the open web http://www.ottergroup.com/?p=574

I mentioned it in this post

“On the open web there is room for the long tail as there are enough people to make it scale, but in the enterprise the long tail is too small (there’s not enough people for there to be a long tail).
We see network effects as the aggregated value from all the individual contributions, plus the distributed discussion propagates this as well, then we can look into emerging patterns, this is the beauty of free form personal publishing, it has a greater value.

Again we come to knowledge sharing culture, people need to contribute, not just consume, otherwise we will not get the network effect. If we don’t have a fuller participative enterprise, then the social content will not manifest into great things.
In the enterprise if we have only a 1% participation rate from 10,000 people that’s only a 100 people blogging, will this generate a network effect, it may for a topic, but not the system as a whole.
In contrast on the web a 1% participation rate may be millions of people, enough scale for network effects to happen.

So it comes back to visibility and coaching, and a naturalistic approach.”

“Managers may only want contributions that are appropriate to their level on the Org chart.
They may not want someone lower to have input at the same level, or at the worst refine or overrule contributions…this is a decentralised decision environment.

…org charts will not be thrown out, the main benefit will be idea percolation, crowd sourcing, etc…this is basically a result of having bottom up knowledge sharing tools.

In comparison to the enterprise, web 2.0 and the blogosphere is an egalitarian environment, there is no org chart, even if there was, no one cares, all people are treated equal.””

Four, Five, and Six

This makes facilitation, the critical mass of the network effect, and transparency the fourth, fifth, and sixth differences.

Social Productivity and ROI

The seventh difference is measuring social productivity, ie. how much you help others, and how you source the right connections to help you. Personally I thinking knowing the right person to help you out can make a massive impact on a project, compared to getting a lesser proficient person…”who you know” should be valued.

Another impact on whether people want to spend time in the social enterprise is whether they will be measured by their social productivity, that is, helping and spending time beyond their tasks for the greater good.

Gia Lyons was contemplating whether to go the social route on a task or to keep it to herself, as she isn’t measured on how well she uses her network, she says, “…there is a direct correlation between the number of assets I create in a quarter, and my quarterly bonus…”.


Gia sums up the seventh difference by saying, “…we are asking people to spend precious time to do something for which they are not measured.”

All this is highly related to Boyds Law:

“Connected people will naturally gravitate toward an ethic where they will trade personal productivity for connectedness: they will interrupt their own work to help a contact make progress. Ultimately, in a bottom-up fashion, this leads to the network as a whole making more progress than if each individual tries to optimize personal productivity…

Perhaps more importantly, the willingness to assist others leads to closer social connections, and increases the likelihood of reciprocal behavior, where an obsession with personal productivity does not.”

Read more on the myth of interrupting, especially related to IMLuis Suarez in his email detox diet often refers to the speed of IM in getting something done, and the visibility of social tools to help out future similar requests.


Enterprise 2.0 and web 2.0 environments may have their differences, but trying to veil transparency isn’t going to do any good. We also have to work at generating network effects, we need to encourage and facilitate participation, and lastly we need a way to measure or value an individuals social productivity. This can all be helped by reviewing job descriptions, corporate strategies, and job evaluations to include or encourage social participation.

Let’s finish with a quote by Larry Prusak:

“The modern organisation evolved in the 19th century to deal with land, labour and capital, not with knowledge, which was assumed to reside only in the heads of the owners and managers,” he says. “This led us to the modern organisation built on command and control mechanisms, run as hierarchical bureaucracies. This won’t do when knowledge is the major source of value, as it is for most large organisations today.”

Read the original blog entry...

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