Friday, September 11, 2009

Getting Web 2.0 To Work

Before you get any ideas, let me tell you that the title of this post has nothing to do with any kind of magic potion which can get you to get web 2.0 to work. Though, if there was such a potion, i am not sure how many folks would queue up to get-a-fix! this post is titled around a McKinsey article which looks at the reasons which executives say are the major hindrances to adoption of web 2.0, and six ways they think could get web 2.0 to work.

The six ways they have come up with to get web 2.0 to work, you can read for yourself (you will need to register), what i am writing about here is what the report has come up with, about the impediments to web 2.0 adoption. There are three reasons which executives think impede adoption:

  • Organization structure
  • Inability of managers to understand the levers of change
  • Lack of understanding of how value is created
If the organization structure is an impediment to adoption of web 2.0, thats probably to be expected. This could be because web 2.0 tools are not compatible with the organization structures as we see them today. In other words, web 2.0 tools are a way to driving the move towards Enterpriser 2.0 (i still believe Enterprise 2.0 is about organization structure and the nature of interactions that generate value in organizations).

Looking at the other two points ... one is that managers dont understand the levers of change. The question this raises is, what are these levers? Maybe theres only one lever ... that is that of distributed decision-making. In other words, greater role for people across the organization in the decision-making process. What is important to understand here is that the important aspect about web 2.0 is that value cannot be defined for them. Its very difficult for anyone to attach a monetary figure to their adoption, and say that with a particular level of adoption, this is the level of value which is delivered. While its intuitive that web 2.0 tools bring value, this is not too easy to demonstrate.

The point about there being only one lever is something i have (almost) written about before, here and here. Till a few years back, there was an implicit relation people built between expertsie and grey hair. This no longer happens. This is something i talk about when i am making a presentation about Knowledge Management. Since i look at Expertise Location as an important part of Knowledge Management, i try to tell people that you can be an expert even if you dont have a single white hair (or have all the hair on your head intact). This is the lever which i feel is important for managers to understand. When looking at the lack of understanding of how value is created, as i mentioned, this is something which is quite difficult to demonstrate, but as i have written before, if we try to bring this into the context of a specific business process, rather than a context which is generic, this is something which can be understood.

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