Yesterday I spent a whole day at the second edition of the Enterprise 2.0 forum, where I also took part with a poster on agile methodologies, as a member of my Department at the University of Insubria, i.e., the DICOM.
This year the forum was held in Milan instead of Varese, and this fact positively influenced the event: more participants, more quality. In fact, participants were aware of the main success stories and the open problems of Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0.
How to turn from a document-centric to a people-centric focus (Meier and Miller, Swiss RE)? Some answers: don’t declare what you are doing before you have obtained results and start from pilot projects (Battaglia, Banca Intesa); the more you share, the more power you gain (Penzo, Gabetti); let your users share ideas with your R&D division, so to participate to the product marketing, with a sort of champion league (Pini, BTicino and, indipendently, Durst, Adidas). Here, an open problem is the mirrored long tail Power Law: people start learning web 2.0 tools by using it then they abandon after learning (this is true for me as a lazy wikipedian of three Wikipedias: Esperanto, Italian, English).
How to turn information from silos to flow (Sieberath, Knowledge Plaza)? Well, a provisional answer is do it after work at home (Zago, Lago), admittely not a perfect solution… if a new technology increase your working time instead of reducing it, it is by no means a good technology for you! Another answer: integrate with traditional content-management system instead of creating new ones, perhaps with a bit of semantic intelligence, if you are brave enough of modifying your enterprise in its daily processes (De Judicibus, IBM: I totally agree!). Less convincingly is the answer: use cloud computing as the Solution (Carzaniga, Google), Yet Another Silver Bullet… For clarity: I use SaaS (Software as a Service, for the non-geek readers) everyday, as externalization gives you more security (no more usb pens stolen!), no system administration costs, it is always on, and you pay as you grow. True. Yes. But this is not the point: the point is that you should individuate the problem within your context and then see if cloud computing fits. I admit that in most cases SaaS will fit, but don’t limit yourself with an a-priori decision.
There are some books and concepts that I didn’t know before that are worth a look: the book Throwing Sheep and the 9x Effect (Terrac, WordFrame), the Strategy Maps (Gilboy, Oracle), Bowling Alone by Robert D. Putnam (Locklee, Optimice).
On the technological level, there is no innovation in the last year: we are still in MacLuhan’s horsless carriage phase (Siemens, Manitoba University, Canada). More specifically, the tools presented — Jive and Knowledge Plaza, among the others — are a combo of a Delicious clone (everything is taggable)+ wiki/blog engine + linkedin for personal profiles, plus some NLP treatment for synonyms or a a reward system.
And my poster? Well, it was… neglected. I feel a bit strange: in agile conferences there are techies who talk about business, complaining that businessmen don’t grasp the real problems, while in X 2.0 conferences (with X = Web, Enterprise, Academia…) there are businessmen who talk about technology, complaining that techies’ mindsets are still too hierarchical.
Truly, no one remembers that the lean development is an agile methodology, nor that the inventor of the wiki as an idea is an eXtreme Programmer (aha!), etc. etc. What a pity.