Why adopt these open, collaborative, and community tools for the Enterprise? So frequently is the enterprise Intranet overlooked as a mission critical corporate asset, it IS the soul, knowledge, and essence of the culture and company. Find out what health inspectors and intranets have in common.
Here are some of the key challenges I see Intranets, Extranets, and other systems will have in integrating Social Media with enterprise systems.
Challenges the Enterprise will have with Enterprise 2.0:
1) Understanding the term “Enterprise 2.0”
For many IT and Business departments, understanding what these terms meet will be a challenge. Anything 2.0 can turn on or turn off individuals as the ‘breakthrough we’ve been waiting for’ or the ‘word of the day’. This buzz word can hurt as much as it can help in a conservative company. If you still don’t know what it means, try Dion.
2) Adapting quickly
For many IT departments, they’re too slow or too focused on managing existing systems “keeping the lights on” than having the time and ability to research new technologies with vague returns on investment or are not mission critical. As a result, business groups will start to adopt these tools on their own in an organic fashion, creating the chicken/egg problem of MORE disparte systems, data, and iD.
3) Understanding that the Intranet is no longer internal
Recognizing that Data is outside of the network is hard for security and network groups. As IT departments don’t move quickly, employees and partners will start to share information on third party websites outside of the firewall. Employee information, corporate information will now reside on a variety of tools, not to mention social networking tools.
4) Dealing with Multiple IDs and Data
This is continuing to be an issue in every industry, how many user logins and profiles are we going to have and try to keep track of? With Open ID not taking off as quickly as we would hope, every new enterprise 2.0 service may have a different login. The more sophisticated systems will tie into enterprise directory systems, but currently, those are few and far in between.
5) Lack of Enterprise suites and solutions
The CIO would be more than likely to embrace a full ‘enterprise suite 2.0’ that has all the tagging, networking, and other knowledge and community tools, but today, they’re very peace meal. Take for example Delicious, a knowledge sharing tool outside of the enterprise, doesn’t offer a suite of services. The CIO wants turnkey enterprise solutions, this is what Sharepoint was supposed to be.
6) Embracing the Cultural shifts
It’s difficult for traditional folks to understand that the next generation of workers is has already networking online in college, and will bring those networks to the workplace. These new workers will already be connected to employees, prospects, and competitors, and there’s nothing a corporation can do about it. Communication in general is shifting, as my kid sister told me she only uses email to talk to old people like me. The biggest challenge? understanding that these communication tools shift power to the lower ranks and file of the company.
What do corporations need to adopt these tools for success? They need conversations like Jeff from Intel is having, I enjoy Intel as a client, they’re a big company that’s adopting change as fast as they can.
I’ve been involved with many Intranets and Extranets in the corporate environment, in fact my last job was managing the global Intranet at a Fortune 1000 company, my corporate web background is listed on my profile page. I also wrote a white paper regarding IT and the emerging web industry with Dennis McDonald entitled: “Business and I.T. Must Work Together to Manage New “Web 2.0” Tools” way back in Jan 2006. It’s still relevant, it’s worth a read.
Over one year ago, I co-authored a white paper with Dennis McDonald on the impacts of “Web 2.0” on the IT Department, it’s still one of the top downloaded documents at Dennis’s site. (We started it in 2005)
I guess we were thinking pretty far ahead, as just NOW IT departments are figuring out how to integrate, implement social media tools. I probably would have used the term Social Media, rather than Web 2.0 but that term had not yet crossed my vocabulary.
I guess this goes to show the time for adoption is starting now, and with Nick and Richard’s resource indicating that enterprises are more interested in feature sets from established software suite providers than one-off software start-ups, apparently the CIO is starting to wake up. (Forrester report available). Need some quick ways to get started? Mario summarizes.
What’s on my mind for a year from now? The normalization of Social Media, and how powers will start to shift and hierarchies will form, the socialist dream never will happen.
Just last week, I was present and documented how the emerging Web industry is being sought after by Enterprise IT companies, now this latest ploy is starting to flip over as Social Media features integrate into existing enterprise environments.
Social Networking is nearly present in all communities, we know that as the groups fragment by age group (and there will be more niches and fragmentations over time) that for the fores sable future, that logging on and getting instant access to existing and new friends is satisfying our human needs to connect with each other and belong. While there’s an excess of White Label Social Networking sites out there although Cisco decided to buy Five Across.
Benefits of new web tools emerging
Having spent most of my career in Enterprise IT type companies as a web professionals (four enterprise Intranets and two enterprise Extranets), I could easily make the conclusion that Cisco is entering the “Enterprise 2.0” Market. Which when broken down into human terms suggests that they will deliver to their established customer base a pre-packaged suite of productivity tools for the Intranet and Extranet. The sell actually won’t be too difficult, as there’s productivity benefits according to commentary from the folks at ConnectBeam where I’m an Advisor. In his analysis, those that are well connected are actually highly productive. Looking forward, we all know the Internet is going to be the platform for the next TV, other rich media, and the connective tissue for networked gaming that these infrastructures are moving Cisco up the platform into the business space –Where I know that other ERP systems may already sit.
If you want to learn more, as fate would have it, yesterday James Durbin and I had a lengthy conversation around Social Networking Analysis, an emerging industry to measure the benefits of how these networks are impacting individual productivity, velocity, and information emerges. He recommended I subscribe to Network Weaving, Connectedness, Networks, Complexity, and Relatedness, and Centrality.
Getting ahead of the Enterprise Web “Islands”
For much of my career as an Enterprise Intranet Manager many of my projects were cleaning up all the disparate sources of rotting data, processes and finding tools that can seamlessly improve the user experience –it’s going to happen all over again. Enterprise IT Dennis McDonald, discusses how the risks of the open information age needs responsibility. None of this is really new to Dennis or I, we wrote a forward looking white paper on how Social Media “Web 2.0” will hit the Enterprise Intranet over a year ago. It was our conclusion that IT departments need to get ahead of business groups that can deploy social media programs without the aid of IT, and I believe that Cisco and other companies are going to enable just that.
This morning, my discussion with Dennis revolved around on our predictions of why enterprise companies are headed this way, he emphasis on actual implementation as the real cruz over any turn-key solution:
“By beefing up their offerings in the collaboration and social networking space, they are following in the footsteps of Microsoft and IBM who have also been rolling out “Web 2.0 enabled” enterprise infrastructure components. The proof of the pudding will be the skills of their business partners, resellers, and integrators. Those are the people on the front line with customers who are still undecided about so much of what we in the enterprise 2.0 area have been talking about.” –Dennis McDonald
Intranet adoptions will be interesting
I can already imagine how the Information Architect community, who is just getting settled into their roles after years of proving their worth will be introduced to user created taxonomies, amorphous content structures, and the shifting and moving of data out of their control. I’m the moderator for the Intranet User Experience group, a working group that will have to deal with this.
I get it. It’s more than an Intranet play or an Extranet play. Enterprise tech companies that can successfully introduce a platform that’s tied to existing corporate directory and identity systems, provide security, handle the load, and deliver measurement and metrics have a strong chance for being a successful deployment. The bigger sale is to help those worrysome CIOs to get ahead of business groups who will downloadable blogs, networks, and systems from being deployed in a disparate. It’s also about looking at digital media, they make that clear from their push on the Human Network, you can hear from the CEO directly.
[When the CEO figures out his kids are all over Facebook and MySpace, it’s just a matter of time before his next meeting with the CIO/CMO where he asks for some exploration. Embedded and established IT infrastructure companies who have a turn-key solution make the logical choice in deployment]
Delivered correctly, IT Infrastructure companies that move upward into employee productivity have a larger play in the game; productivity, reduction in future cost, lock-in to the enterprise Intranet, and hard statistics and measurement to employee communication and productivity, it’s much more than just MySpace for the Intranet.
Over the next few months, I’ll keep an eye on marketing collateral aimed at this market, let’s see how close my predictions are.
[Disclosure: Cisco is one of the 30 something clients of my employer, PodTech Network. I’m on the Advisory Board for ConnectBeam. These are my opinions only]
Internet Strategy Forum
As a resource for Web Strategists, Steve Gehlen (founder of the Internet Strategy Forum) has helped to organize and unite those that are responsible for corporate web directions. We’ve been maintaining contact over the past year, and I even had the opportunity to get lunch with Steve himself at Webvisions last summer.
If you don’t know, he’s on a mission to create a user group of Web Strategist, and has already lined up resources, meetings and educational events. He and those participating have done a tremendous job so far. Each year Steve and the ISF publishes a report that tracks our industry.
What is a Web Strategist?
In my words, a Web Strategist is responsible for the long term vision of a corporate website, they should balance the trilogy of Business Needs, User needs, and Technical limitations.
About the 2006 Corporate Internet Strategist Survey Results:
One excerpt from the press release indicates that
“ …the majority of Internet strategists have a professional background in either traditional marketing (31%) or traditional IT (29%).
The majority of companies still drive Internet strategy out of the marketing department (58%) while the data shows a reduced role for IT (4% drive Internet strategy, down from 7% in 2005).
However, 20% of companies have a stand-alone department that drives Internet strategy, an emerging trend.”
I’ve access to last year’s report, and also participated in the survey for this 2007 one. There’s also a detailed report for download, you’ll need to pay for it so it can get expensed. It answers questions like:
- What are the top challenges for Corporate Web Strategists?
- What is the common educational background?
- What percentage of Web Strategists make over six figure salaries?
- What is the typical budget your programs should have?
- How large are your teams?
You can sample a 4-page research brief. This is free and can be made available to anyone for download (PDF).
Join your local ISF Chapter
If you’re interesting in getting more involved or want to contribute and assist other Web Strategists, you can join a local chapter, Austin, New York, and Portland are active, I was involved as a charter member of the Silicon Valley group.
Now that I’m at PodTech, which is a vendor to Corporate Web Strategists, I’m no longer affiliated with ISF, but am a friend to the organization, as such I was not paid to write this post, but consider it a resource to my audience. I’m no longer participating in ISF, but will emerge perhaps in another role. I wish you luck this year my friends.
Update Tuesday, Jan 2nd:
Clarifications from Steve:
Short on time or not near a chapter? Prospective members can join without being affiliated with a chapter since all events are available via webcast.
I always thought that IBM then Microsoft would be first. Ross Mayfield tells us in this video interview by Podtech that Small and Mid-Sized offices can obtain this suite has blogs, wikis, tagclouds, and other ‘bottom-up’ driven knowledge Social Software. As an appliance you’ll just need to provide Power and Pipe. The product is called Suite Two, an enterprise 2.0 platform from Intel.
Get more details from Techcrunch:
” Intel will announce SuiteTwo today, a product that brings together a number of Enterprise 2.0 apps into an integrated suite. The four products that are included in the release are MovableType from SixApart, SocialText, Simplefeed and Newsgator.”
It’s about $150-$200 per seat, as far as enterprise software goes, that’s not too bad, but when you realize a lot of this is freeware that was asembled into a single platform you may think otherwise, but who has the time to build what someone already did? Teresa from BBS has some additional coverage. Brian, David, do you see this?