All Knowledge Is Social At Enterprise 2.0 - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Mobile
Commentary
6/19/2007
11:24 AM
Stephen Wellman
Stephen Wellman
Commentary
50%
50%

All Knowledge Is Social At Enterprise 2.0

I am at the Enterprise 2.0 conference today in Boston. Enterprise 2.0 is a relatively new term -- it was first coined in March last year. But it has captured the imaginations of technologists and vendors around the world in just 15 months and gone memetic. But what does Enterprise 2.0 really mean for businesses?

I am at the Enterprise 2.0 conference today in Boston. Enterprise 2.0 is a relatively new term -- it was first coined in March last year. But it has captured the imaginations of technologists and vendors around the world in just 15 months and gone memetic. But what does Enterprise 2.0 really mean for businesses?The answer to this question depends on who you ask. According to noted blogger David Weinberger, Enterprise 2.0 is about tapping into the collective wisdom of smart networks and getting your hands on metadata. Dave opened today's session with a though-provoking session:

Solution to info overload is more information - it's metadata, info about info. Got way smarter about metadata. Ent2.0 is really about getting hold of metadata in interesting and important ways.

Frame this broadly. There are two orders of order; in the first order you organize the stuff itself; in the second we physically separate the metadata, reduce it in size, and then have two or three ways of sorting that. This is handy, we're good at it, and it works for physical stuff. But limitation - whoever gets to make up the sorting order is in control of something important, ie. how we order our world, because you're only allowed one way of organizing. That's a limitation of the real. Always have to do it because physical world demands it. Limitation of the real is that it seems designed to keep things apart because you can't have two things in the same place in the same time.

In short, the old way of organizing data -- top down hierarchies run by single experts like librarians -- is dead. According to Weinberger, networks of experts are far smarter than their individual members and more efficient at categorizing and tagging large clumps of data.

While there are plenty of skeptics about Enterprise 2.0, Weinberger says they don't get it. This is a revolution and it's far bigger than most of us can realize:

Wikipedia is not the only example of this - also present in every mailing list. Discussion expands the knowledge, and mailing list collectively is smarter than any individual within it. Knowledge is social, always was of course, but now it's unavoidable. Conversations with suppliers, customers, etc.

But it's not enough already. Ok, it's been 10 years, but we're not far enough along. Keep having major revolutions, these are big changes, it's not hype, it's right at the heart of knowledge, authority, trust, and how it's smudging the supply chain, the org chart. We are reshaping business, whether we like it or not. Business is changing from being 'theirs', to the remaking of knowledge and authority that is ours.

What Weinberger is calling for is a cultural revolution as much as as a technological one. Without a change in corporate culture most businesses will not be able to effectively leverage these new Web 2.0 technologies in their organizations.

The second speaker this morning, Harvard Business School professor Andrew McAfee, is credited with coining the term Enterprise 2.0.

Donning his professorial persona, McAfee graded the current state of Enterprise 2.0. Awareness of the concept merited an A, the technologies themselves an A-, and communication of the results (you, real world success stories), only received a C. While I agree with McAfee's first two grades, I think so far Enterprise 2.0 barely gets a passing grade in terms of real word success stories. Frankly, his C seems like grade inflation. To me it looks more like a D. But nevertheless, we both agree: There are still far too few case studies about how Web 2.0 technologies can help businesses.

McAfee's answer to this problem was simple: Get all Web 2.0 on it and build a Wiki dedicated to collecting, you guessed it, Enterprise 2.0 case studies and success stories.

While McAfee didn't guarantee a total revolution, he does hold high hopes for the meme he helped launch. "We're not anywhere near the end of this. I don't predict that corporate America will be completely transformed by Enterprise 2.0 over the next five years. But will companies do some amazing stuff with these technologies? Most definitely."

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
InformationWeek Is Getting an Upgrade!

Find out more about our plans to improve the look, functionality, and performance of the InformationWeek site in the coming months.

Commentary
New Storage Trends Promise to Help Enterprises Handle a Data Avalanche
John Edwards, Technology Journalist & Author,  4/1/2021
Slideshows
11 Things IT Professionals Wish They Knew Earlier in Their Careers
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  4/6/2021
Commentary
How to Submit a Column to InformationWeek
InformationWeek Staff 4/9/2021
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
The State of Cloud Computing - Fall 2020
The State of Cloud Computing - Fall 2020
Download this report to compare how cloud usage and spending patterns have changed in 2020, and how respondents think they'll evolve over the next two years.
Video
Current Issue
Successful Strategies for Digital Transformation
Download this report to learn about the latest technologies and best practices or ensuring a successful transition from outdated business transformation tactics.
Slideshows
Flash Poll