E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

From the blog

If We Live in a Knowledge Economy … And the 2007 CIO Leadership Conference

If you ask me for a particular article that I have enjoyed lately quite a bit on the subject of Enterprise 2.0, where we are with things and, most importantly, where we would be able to find lots of great input to carry on with our jobs in helping embrace social software behind the corporate firewall, that blog post would actually go to one of my good friends, Olivier Amprimo, who I met in Paris earlier on in the year, from Headshift. I know it is a long article, so you may want to stop right here, get yourself a cup of coffee, or tea, and read on, because you are going to like it, I am sure, just as much as I did. Now that you are ready, check out Behind "Enterprise 2.0" Performance: Exploitation or Exploration?.

In that particular blog post Olivier gets to detail the kind of exposure that some CIOs may have gotten already with Social Computing and Social Software and, by the looks of it, the results have not been very encouraging, which is somewhat worrying since we are talking about "decision makers". However, he gets to detail what we may have learn from such exercise:

"1 – Social computing for the organisation, call it Enterprise 2.0 if you want to be trendy, is a reality that needs to be evangelised, despite massive information available on the wild wild web. In that perspective, Atlassian has it right while empowering Stewart Mader who does an amazing job explaining "how to grow a wiki".
2 – That corporations needs to rethink their understanding of performance and the world they evolve in, and impact their organisation from there.

From there onwards, and this is the really interesting part of the article, Olivier gets to detail in a number of different paragraphs starting with "If we live in a knowledge economy […]" where he provides some outstanding insights as to what needs to happen in order for businesses to continue with their adoption of social software. There is very little I can add to the entire article from here onwards, but just to give you an idea of what you will find there I am going to quote for each paragraph one sentence that I thought was just spot on and which kept me nodding as I read further. Like I said, if you are looking for an incredibly good article on Enterprise 2.0 this would be it:

So here we go. "If we live in a knowledge economy […]":

"[…] we have to change our mind on how things are being managed. They key resource is brain juice, not muscle sweat. The key focus should be people and information flow […] They don’t understand that knowledge work cannot be limited to processes, that it is multi-faceted communication flows around processed tasks that make things work"

"[…] we have to value people in the know. […] senior management has to pay a little more attention to how they favour innovation. Innovation is not necessarily about having big plans that improve operational processes (exploitation)."

"[..] we have to accept that employees are the ones who know how local things need and can be improved. Top down approaches have to give some space to Bottom up ones. We have to let them voice, converse and listen to them, as a minimum. […] Employees are the one who know which tools are relevant for doing their job more efficiently and we don’t have to impose and restrict them (to) a set of tools. "

"[…] innovation is a key driving force of performance and competitiveness.[…] So it might be time to consider open-up your information ecosystem to real innovation by adopting products marketed by start-ups or crafted by value-added consultancies. When it comes to the bottom line, the risk vanishes."

And, finally:

"If we live in an economy where innovation is a key factor of performance and competitiveness, we have to accept exploration and reprimand exploitation. We have to unleash the innovation that lies dormant within the firewall. We have to favour pilots, contextual applications, open-source, information and application mashups. [..] The corporate world needs no more old routines hidden behind new tools. Stop confusing documents and information. Stop forcing people using only emails and Enterprise Content Management. ECM reduces workflow to permission and conversation to versioning. Emails create confusion in conversations. This replicates ageless routines. Replication does not create performance in a world of innovation."

Conclusion: "Social computing participates in adapting organisations – their processes, behaviours and mindsets – to this reality. In that shift, (smart) reengineering, knowledge management, communities of practices are worth predecessors of social computing." (Emphasis mine)

Don’t tell me that these precious gems I have shared above don’t make you want to go and read through the entire article and digest it slowly but steadily. Well, it gets much much better. Because from all of the quotes I have shared over here this is my favourite ones: "IT people have created artificial scarcity. This is Malthusianism. They have reinforced the "web as a platform" by facilitating the emergence of web 2.0; simply because people are fed-up being tight in a Flintstone information age. As a result, IT’s complaints about Facebook’s success and prohibiting it is the cat chasing its own tail. Instead, it might be clever to take advantage of employees who enjoy web 2.0 at home, for years now."

I think that this is the first time I get to cover such an extensive article with such a good number of relevant and meaningful quotes and it will probably be a while before I may do the same again. But I just couldn’t help it, folks. There is so much good information in it that I thought I had to help spread the word around, at least; and not to worry, it will also be one of those articles that I will keep referencing back and forth on where we are with that social computing in the enterprise adoption.

So, as you would be able to see, there is still lots and lots of work to be done. And perhaps that is a good thing, why not? Getting involved in the conversation with CIOs on why they need to start paying attention to social computing, in case they may not have already, is probably the very first step. And I am surely glad to see that things are on the way, as you would be able to read from this particular news article: IBM Launches Center for CIO Leadership, that relates to a CIO Leadership Conference I wish I were attending where one of the main focus is to help CIOs understand the world of social computing and social software. Along with virtual worlds.

Yes, I know, every little step helps. And the sooner we get going, the better for all of us…

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