As with the introduction of all new technologies there comes a time where companies have to weigh in on the benefits and risks of embracing these new technologies.
This is doubly true for Enterprise 2.0, which is a name given for the case where the enterprise incorporates Web 2.0 technologies in to their business.
There are multiple benefits to embracing Web 2.0 technologies in to the Enterprise, and in this post I will talk about some of them along with the risks associated with using Web 2.0 in the enterprise.
Some of the benefits that have been shown to be valid are:
- Enhanced Personal Effectiveness
- Improved team performance
- Increased productivity
- Easier collaboration, better team effectiveness
- Faster innovation and product development
- More efficient project management
One possible way of incorporating Web 2.0 technologies in your Enterprise is to set-up a Wiki. A Wiki is a website that can be used for many things, such as a place to keep company collective knowledge. What makes a Wiki unique is that it generally allows the user to add content. This is excellent for Staff, where they can add and update information or modify erroneous items. Wiki’s are an excellent way of increasing productivity and improve team performance.
Studies suggest that around 25-50% of communication between knowledge workers remains tacit and un-captured. –6 Benefits of Enterprise 2.0, Slide 15
From the whole enterprise perspective, these unreachable pieces of information are knowledge leaks. This means that alot of knowledge get shared between workers in a way that is un-captured, and information that is un-captured gets easily lost or forgotten. This is why having a location where information can quickly be added is a great way of growing the collective intelligence of the enterprise.
Another excellent use for the Enterprise 2.0 is that it can be used for expertise identification.
Now enter E2.0 tools for the enterprise and you are quickly able to tie people to content and people to people. After time you are able to identify people related to a topic or function not by job title alone but by their real life interactions.
-Scott Gavin, Top 3 Business Benefits of (internal) Enterprise 2.0
What Scott is talking about in his blog post is using Enterprise 2.0 technologies to create a database of company employees where each employee can add their fields of expertise and other relevant information. This information can then be used by other to pinpoint exactly which person to contact, instead of looking through a list of names with associated job titles.
The average Intel employee dumps one day a week trying to find people with the experience & expertise plus the relevant information to do their job…Let me just say that it is motivating us
to take action. — Laurie Buczek, Enterprise Social Media Program Manager, Intel
Laurie Buczek, Enterprise Social Media Program Manager at Intel emphasizes the same point as Scott Gavin brings forth in his blog post. Large companies have taken notice on how employees work and what they spend their time on. Having employees spending “one day a week” on finding people with experience and expertise is time, which could be used adding value to the company. The enterprise is noticing these value drains and is more and more trying to improve the overall workflow and increase the value added by the employees.
As with all things there are certain risks with using Enterprise 2.0 tools and technologies. Here are some risks that have to be taken in to account when implementing Web 2.0 technologies in your enterprise.
- Negative comments on internal sites
- Negative comments on external sites
Employees could leave negative and degrading comments on intranet sites. This is a risk on any site where anyone has the access to create and add content. But to battle this the company could enable a certain set of policies that disallows such behaviour.
Another danger with using social technologies can be negative effects from external sources.
The Intrawest Placemaking Case
Intrawest Wiki Intranet
Intrawest Placemaking is a real estate development division of Intrawest, a Fortress Investment Group company. Placemaking was founded in 1976 as an urban real estate development firm, Intrawest now owns and operates multiple ski resorts, as well as warm-weather resorts and golf courses. Placemaking develops the real estate assets at these resorts by master-planning the villages and by designing, building and selling luxury resort accommodations. Placemaking has 250 employees in 7 regional office locations in North America and Europe.
Placemaking weighed the risks and benefits of implementing Enterprise 2.0 in their enterprise and decided to implement a Wiki intranet platform for employees.
Intrawest Placemaking’s wiki intranet allows practically unrestricted editing to all 250 employees. This has led to a tenfold increase in use over the previous intranet, and some excellent examples of knowledge sharing: One manager created a page with an idea that saved the company $500,000.
Intrawest Placemaking is a great success story and a perfect example of how Enterprise 2.0 can help your business improve worker output and save the company money.
Laurie Buczek, Enterprise 2.0 Efficient Collaboration and Knowledge Exchange, Slide 34
Top 3 Business Benefits of (internal) Enterprise 2.0
6 Benefits of Enterprise 2.0, Slide 15
Interesting Reads relating to the subject:
Advantages of Enterprise 2.0 ERP Systems