Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Elevating the Enterprise 2.0 Conversation

The past five years have held tremendous innovation in enterprise software, an industry not known for its innovation relative to other areas of the technology sector. Enterprise 2.0 has challenged preconceptions and created innovative products. But of more interest, the use cases have evolved and practices are enabling new solutions that offer competitive advantage. Its time to elevate the conversation beyond features (wiki, blog, RSS, social networking, etc.), put aside the hype and talk about what problems the Enteprise 2.0 community is uniquely prepared to solve. In this keynote, Socialtext Chairman, President & Co-founder Ross Mayfield will share his insights from the past five years in business, and look to the next.

My Notes:

Ross noted that the personal productivity tools usually did come from the bottom up. People were looking for tools to help with personal productivity. The enterprise's internal network imposed new complexities and limitations on the personal tools.

Now in the 2.0 it is not the tools that are interesting. It is the social effects that are more important than the technology. The pre-formed structures are a barrier to work and a barrier to productivity.

Ross wants to move the conversation beyond the tools. Move beyond the features to the needs of the business. IT does not get the tools and they do not get the user needs. It is important to not just deploy the tools but focus on the use case.

Wikis have evolved from lightweight documentation tool, to a business user alternative to email, to a wiki-pedia inside, to a process-specific solution.

It cannot just be about knowledge sharing. It is about a business problem. The idea is to get "in the flow," instead of "above the flow." He quoted Michael Idinopulos. (There was some similarity to his presentation at LITLS: Where is Web 2.0 in the Enterprise?

The goal should not be to automate the business process to drive down costs. The goal should be to collaborate on exceptions to the business process. You should re-design the process with transparency and more participatory. You can involve people even if they are not part of their job description.

Ross moved onto a new product to work with structured data in an unstructured way. Spreadsheet were used to structure data and is the most common database. Today we play "email volleyball" with documents moving back and forth. This results in email overload, version control issues and high error rates. The idea is not to re-engineer the spreadsheet in a webpage. Ross showed the social spreadsheet. This is designed to be more robust than Google Spreadsheets. You can put a wiki page in a cell. You can get much more connectivity to information and people in the spreadsheet

It not about the cloud. It is about sharing information inside the firewall.

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