Monday, November 5, 2007

Enterprise 2.0 Adoption Paradox

There is an excellent paper written by Andrew McAfee titled Enterprise 2.0: The Dawn of Emergent Collaboration, which he has referenced in his post titled Enterprise 2.0 is Free. The link doesnt seem to be working, but I think I downloaded the paper before they broke the link. Interesting read about the evolution and adoption of Enterprise 2.0 in companies.

There is the aspect of content that Andrew writes about ... Something most KM practitioners would be familiar with, or at least, should be. The basic fact that content is generated by people, and tags are here to stay. This is, of course, not to say that taxonomy is on its way out. The way I think, there would be an emergence, within the intranet, at least, of a structure, which is a mix of taxonomy and folksonomy. There are people who prefer the navigational mode provided by corporate taxonomies, and there are those who just prefer to search. This is the conundrum which is not going away, at least not anytime soon, and this needs to be recognized. What this leads to is the question of how folksonomy would play out in the intranet, because taxonomy is already there, and organizations know the concept quite well.

In addition, few aspects in this, which caught the eye. After describing the different aspects of Enterprise 2.0 in the organization, he goes on to talk about the role managers woul play in adoption. First of all, Andrew says that adoption is the key. This is a very important aspect, which, to my mind is the most important aspect of web 2.0 technologies, in that they are just about as good as the folks who are using them. This is by definition ... content being developed by people, in a collaborative mode ... implies that participation of people is the key. The issue organizations are facing here is that knowledge workers are as it is quite a harried lot, with lots of demands on their time. I have written about this here, and here.

The conundrum that needs to be addressed is that web 2.0 technologies be adopted till people see value, and they wont generate value till people adopt them. And this is where I agree with Andrew that the paradox here is that the new form of collaboration, while being egalitarian, needs some kind of push from the management. This, on the face f it, seems counter-intuitive, but this could be the important aspect which could spur adoption, and buil the kind of value from web 2.0 technologies that they promise.

Another aspect that Andrew touches upon, is the fact that web 2.0 is going to change the way organizations function. At least, it is going to change the way organization structures play out in the long term. I have written about this here, and I do believe there would be resistance to this change in structure, and this is to be expected.

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