I just read an early preview chapter from Andrew McAfee’s forthcoming book Enterprise 2.0: New Collaborative Tools for Your Organization’s Toughest Challenges. The book is scheduled for release later this year from Harvard Business Press. You can also download and read the preview chapter: Introduction of Enterprise 2.0.
Much like Professor McAfee, I too was a skeptic of how web 2.0 tools could be used inside a business. I started exploring these tools when my old law firm started to consider an upgrade of their intranet platform to SharePoint 2007. That software package has some basic enterprise 2.0 tools. If we upgraded, we would have blogs, wikis and RSS feeds as part of intranet platform. But I didn’t really know what they were or how they could help a law firm. At the time, the terms sounded like something out of a Dr. Seuss book. But I looked a little closer and saw that they had some potential.
I quickly discovered that two people I knew had blogs: Ron Friedmann’s Strategic Legal Technology and Joy London’s Excited Utterances. Originally, I thought they were just websites. (Does it really matter anymore?) I did a little more research and decided to try setting my own blog. I set aside an afternoon to set up a blog. Google claimed their Blogger platform was easy to set up and it was free. Instead of an afternoon, it took me ten minutes to set up the blog. Five minutes was spent figuring out a name and four minutes was spent choosing colors. That left a lot of time that afternoon to think about the implications of what I had done. This was the birth of my first blog, KM Space, in February of 2007.
I first encountered Professor McAfee at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference 2007. Since then, we have had a few opportunities to talk about the implication of these tools inside a business.
I see transformational change in the availability of information. For decades it was business that had the powerful internal network that allowed them to share information across the enterprise. Now with the increasing ubiquity of internet access, the internal business network and tools that run on it are becoming inferior to the tools available through the internet for finding and dealing with information. There are many lessons for a business to learn from the consumer tools for handling information. This is big change.
The other aspect is email. Most businesses rely on email and attachments as their collaboration platform. If you look back 20 years, email was barely a factor in the way business teams collaborated. So there is no reason to think that email is either the endpoint or the zenith of the way business team collaborate.
Like Professor McAfee, I see a transformation change. I am looking forward to reading the Enterprise 2.0 when it is finally published.