I would have loved to have been in Boston to see the debate between Andrew McAfee and Tom Davenport,moderated by Zdnet’s Dan Farber on Enterprise 2.0. A number of fellow irregulars are there in for the event. Tom Davenport & Andrew have divergent points of view on Enterprise 2.0. John Eckman has the transcript of the discussion.
The event was video streamed over the Internet and is available here. The arguments are well worth the listening and reflects deep thinking of both the sides. Andrew has blogged about the event. The core difference is centered on whether the E2.0 is really something new, or whether it's just an incremental extension to existing set of technologies for collaboration, interaction, and information sharing.
From John Eckman’s transcript:
AM: These new technologies really have the potential to address some deep needs in enterprises. We don’t have good means to allow our people to collaborate or find each other. If someone did the same project last year in another division, how do I enable teams to find out that info?
DF: Will this all get assimilated into SAP and Oracle, or will the myspace / myblog / mywiki approach overtake the system?
TD: I’m not sure how much of an incremental functionality improvement blogs and wikis provide. Some of the emergent tools are interesting approaches, but they aren’t that fundamentally different that MS Sharepoint (I don’t know if this has been encased in the E2.0 hegemony yet) has for some time. It isn’t terribly exciting, but I bet more people are using Sharepoint today than blogs/wikis.
DF: Is there any proof that [Enterprise 2.0] is enabling true changes?
AM: No. But how many technologies can we really do this for. IT is a leap of faith. But that doesn’t stop us from spending millions/billions of dollars on IT.
TD: I’d agree there isn’t much measurable benefit - that’s part of my concern with the revolutionary fervor in this space. My focus is now on analytics, and I can point to real examples - P&G, Harrah’s - they are seeing real benefits from applying this technology.
AM: But we’ve been doing analytics forever.
TD. Well, take Search, Links, Authoring, Tags, and Extensions - all of these have been around for some time as well.
AM: Tagging? Social, emergent, metadata - that’s clearly new.
TD: Well tagging is an old thing - but the way you’ve described it. So maybe some of this stuff is new - but not all of it. How long have these technologies been around.
AM: True, but not combined in this way - innovation is not just invention.
DF: What about the emergent audience for new technologies? What impact will the new generation(s) entering the workforce have on adoption of E2 technologies?
AM: The short answer is we don’t know, but I think the impact of the new audience will be large.
DF: Tom, will that have an impact?
TD: I would like to think that they will. We really don’t know. Lots of people using Facebook, but what are they using it for? They will be used, but I think more for social purposes than for business purposes.
I watched the show and while I agree we’re at the very early stages of adoption, that’s not to say they’re a fad or an extension of what’s gone before. The new technologies are allowing us to think about how we collaborate, in what context and around which information. The power of social networks have multiplied in the last few quarters with huge advances in collaboration, ease of use & technical infrastructure like the internet and processing powers. Tom recently brought out a valid issue here on information consumption highlighting the unhealthy ratio of the overall information that we should be consuming, versus doing other things. He points out that most of the barriers that prevent knowledge from flowing freely in organizations – most of them cultural, manifested as hierarchy, misaligned performance management system all these transcend the power of technology in delivering desired results.
McAfee’s point of view is that Enterprise 2.0 would be transformative for may organizations and the transforming culture is a significant challenge, and enlightened leadership would pave the way to Enterprise 2.0 deployments. He says that Enterprise 2.0 technologies would continue to pervade into corporates thereby accelerating technology absorption and the resultant culture changes would materialize. McAfee suggests that there is a real discontinuity from a technology perspective - the technology is capable of so much more than it was previously. It’s the fact that anyone can contribute to it - from anywhere in the organization - and the wisdom that comes out of the collective pattern which emerges which is the new thing. Free form, emergent, without structure added in at design time.
Dennis provides his views on debate.The consumerization of IT is a given fact.I agree with Tom on his view of existing technology’s capabilities but Andrew’s position looks more of the “In thing” so to say.
Labels: Emerging Technologies, Emerging Trends, Enterprise 2.0