Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Enterprise 2.0 - "show me the money..."

I spent a day or 2 last week in sunny Cologne, at a Red Dot Day summit thing (nice picture, non?). We use Red Dot Web CMS pretty heavily here at Rio Tinto, it drives www.riotinto.com, www.riotintodiamonds.com, www.riotintoironore.com, www.graduates.riotinto.com, www.procurement.riotinto.com, and all sorts of other exciting corporate sites.

Reddot is a product now of OpenText, who are heavily in the corporate IM space, and have business relationships with all sorts of people, including SAP. No surprise, we do a lot of work with SAP here at Rio Tinto.

One of the most telling aspects of the day, was the number of speakers hammering on about "Enterprise 2.0" , including SAP.

Listen people, that thing on the horizon... you know, sails, hull and stuff... that'll be the boat that's already sailed!

There were 2 speakers (who really should know better) going on about now that 23 year olds can access Facebook and MySpace at home, they'll expect all their business tools to work in the same way - that they'll expect corporate intranet and portal applications to have the same functionality. The main crux of their argument was that people expect work to do the same things as home.

Well, at home I like sitting in my pants in front of the telly, watching repeats of Eastenders, drinking red wine. If I did any of those things at work, I'd be fired. Well, laughed at, and then fired.

Life doesn't work that way. There are lots of things that people do at home that they don't expect to do at work. And vice versa really. It's all a matter of context. Yes, there is some functionality in social media sites that might work in a corporate environment, but a lot of it is completely inappropriate. Seriously, do we really want someone in our accounts department going round "biting chumps"?

Of more importance I think, is the concept of standing up for what you believe and think, and letting your peers see this. Translating to a work environment, knowing a colleagues position on a particular policy for instance, and being able to challenge and discuss this with others is a healthy and positive thing. To be able to do this openly, across time zones, and with a degree of informality that social media sites encourage should be seen as a largely positive thing to most large companies.

This is where the presenters at last week's conference completely missed the boat. They confuse function, content and outcome. Enterprise 2.0 *isn't* about bringing Bebo or Facebook into work. It's about rethinking the way that you collaborate with your colleagues, and how the enterprise manages its knowledge and processes.

Sharing my list of favourite friends, where I went on holiday, and giving "mega hugs" to people should only happen when I'm at home. Preferably in my pants.

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