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Web 2.0 here for good

Even skeptical observers can’t deny that the momentum driving enterprisewide Web 2.0 initiatives has built to the point of no return to previously established business practices. Embracing the changes isn’t going to be easy, though, as Gartner points out in our "industry snapshot" graphic on page one

In fact, Gartner strongly advises against organizations taking the approach of  "let’s just wait and hope it passes." And rightly so. An entirely new generation of workers is maturing in the enterprise, one that grew up with the Web as an integral part of their lives. Their level of expectation is far different from the older "immigrants" to the Internet. And as personal and professional lines continue to blur, new talent will need the appropriate tools.

Bill Forquer, executive VP of marketing at Open Text, which just launched an extensive portfolio of Enterprise 2.0 offerings, paints a unique picture of the value of social computing for business users. Just as those of us who went through the transition to e-mail found the old paper memo ultimately untenable, e-mail has become unsustainable. I’ll venture the guess that virtually all of KMWorld readers believe that the current e-mail model is out of control. Forquer argues that Wikis, blogs, shared calendars and the like will dramatically lighten the e-mail load and result in a significant shift in employee interaction.

Interestingly, he also likens the adoption of Enterprise 2.0 tools to the earlier need for records management and compliance initiatives. Just as Enron and other cases proved to be trigger points for requiring more metadata around content, the inability to sustain the current level of e-mail consumption will require more metadata around people. The emerging work force will need a personal and interactive relationship with the network. The traditional hierarchy won’t be valid in the best organizations. Content will require more individual context. Workers will demand a collaborative environment to gain greater efficiencies and better work practices.

Further, solid social computing practices in the enterprise will need to move beyond conventional expertise location into a realm where knowledge workers will easily discover who did what and why—and what they learned from it. The context surrounding the individual will become paramount.

I realize how very difficult it is to implement profound cultural changes in enormous companies, which seem to bring out both the best and the very worst in people. Nevertheless, the companies that don’t embrace new ways of thinking won’t be able to attract the most talented people. And, as older workers disappear from the scene, the "employee of the future" carries with him or her a significant responsibility to be actively engaged with such social computing initiatives—it doesn’t rest entirely on the shoulders of the organization.

As you look to Enterprise 2.0 solutions, no matter what your age, start thinking like your kids.     









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