Enterprise 2.0 – The Book

Enterprise 2.0 by Andrew mcafee

At the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in San Francisco, Andrew McAfee handed out a few copies of this new book: Enterprise 2.0. I was one of the recipients of a shiny new copy with his autograph on the cover page.

If you have heard of Enterprise 2.0, they you have heard of McAfee. He coined the term in his 2006 paper in the MIT Sloan Management Review: Enterprise 2.0: The Dawn of Emergent Collaboration.

You will enjoy the book. It pulls together all of the bits and pieces that he has said about Enterprise 2.0. Because even if you are familiar with McAfee and Enterprise 2.0, you have not had it all put together nicely in one place. I learned some great new things and was able to see some old things in a new perspective. This is the first book that puts it all into one place.

If you are not familiar with Enterprise 2.0, then you should definitely read this book.

We are at at the tipping point for a new way to communicate. Email was revolutionary when it came out. We could communicate using the internet. It was cheap and easy.

Now we are able to communicate using webpages. This a very different way to communicate than the pure back-and-forth of email and the letters that preceded email. The shift is from channel communications to platform communications, moving from inherently private communication to inherently public communication.

One of the challenges is that the innovation and lessons are coming from the public space into the enterprise. In the past, the innovation in communication technology came from inside the enterprise out to the public space. It used to be hard to establish an email account. You needed big servers and IT support from a company or university. Now you can establish a new email account in seconds from Google using gmail.

With these 2.0 tools we are seeing a reverse in the flow of technology. The internet has gotten much more efficient at finding information than the tools inside our enterprise. Is it easier to find information on the internet using Google or to find information in your corporate intranet?

Those of you who are familiar with McAfee or his blog will find some familiar passages.

  • There is a discussion of his SLATES perspective on the elements of Enterprise 2.0: Search, Links, Authoring, Tags, Extensions, and Signals.
  • The story of Wikipedia
  • The power of weak ties and the expansion of the Dunbar’s number
  • The evolution from the channel communication to platform communication
  • The success of Intellipedia among the intelligence community

McAfee also delves into compliance aspects of enterprise 2.0. In a discussion with the CIO of Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, JP Rangaswami, they discuss how the platform communications of enterprise 2.0 makes compliance easier. Our current mainstream communication tools of email and IM are inherently private. Being private, they are harder to monitor. It’s also harder to spot misinformation, negligent information and bad acts. The more open platform communication of enterprise 2.0 allow more people to be on the lookout for bad patterns, misinformation and compliance issues.

The book takes you through the next big steps of adoption and outlines factors for success, overcoming the knee-jerk reaction to be private, counter fears of abuse, and overcoming the 9X effect for adoption.

The book is worth the purchase price and the time to read it, regardless of whether you are an enterprise 2.0 veteran or a newbie.

In the interest of disclosure, Andy not only gave me a copy of his book, but also autographed it. I’m easily swayed to write about something when it is given to me. He also supplied me with copious amounts of alcohol at parties after the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in San Francisco and the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston. (Another surefire way to get my attention.) I also earn a fee from Amazon if you buy the book through the links in this article. You can judge for yourself if I am easily swayed to say nice things about the book.


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