Enterprise 2.0 Crock or Not?

After being at Enterprise 2.0 in San Francisco and being part of the panel that discussed Denis Howlett‘s piece on Enterprise 2.0 a crock?, I had some time to reflect and think more about the argument. There were some things that I wanted to add during the panel discussion that I did not have time to contribute due to the time limit.

Fundamentally, what’s changed?

Enterprises as a whole are going through a transformation where productivity is required. There is an efficiency that the shareholders of large companies expect. We are no longer working in a single location, if in the office at all. Often, our teams are spread throughout the country or the world. No longer do we get casual knowledge when walking the halls of our company. I consider this a transformation, not a reinvention, it’s probably not worthy of a 1.0 or 2.0 or any .0 for that fact. It’s just a natural evolution. So to that point, perhaps Dennis is right.

What else has changed?

Let’s face it, the internet has impacted us all, and it has also impacted enterprises large and small. As has been talked about a lot (I talk about it internally on a regular basis). In enterprises, it used to be that the technology available was far better than the average user had at home. The users had very low expectations and often times were in awe of what they could use at work. But all of the tools and applications that people can now use at home are being expected in the enterprise and they have to be as easy to use as the tools they use at home too. This “Consumerization of the Enterprise” is what’s changed. That is an overnight phenomenon worthy of 2.0 because this has fundamentally changed what enterprises must do to make their employees productive and happy which can and does impact their bottom line.

I think the arguments and topic put on stage for debate was never able to be resolved thoroughly because both sides have valid points. But let’s face it one of the advantages that anything 2.0 offers is sensationalism, and while the focus at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference is gradually shifting from vendors and industry “experts” to “real users”, we aren’t quite driving the market…yet. Without the outrageous claims of 2.0 and a few cranky old bloggers to bring attention to it to sell software and services, we’re doing nothing more than implementing another wave of improvements for an ever evolving enterprise.