I have been soundly disappointed in the Enterprise 2.0 movement. It's unrelenting focus on a few mundane tools - rather than actual management applications - has been uninspiring.
Social Media in the workplace should not be "Wikis are good" or "We need a Sharepoint site." The tools are immaterial.
Social Media's power is not in the tools, but in the actions enabled by the tools. People don't need a wiki, they need what a wiki can do. And, unfortunately, most wiki are horrible for what businesses actually need.
At Modus Cooperandi, we like to remind people that Knowledge Work is Perishable. If you don't use it, you lose it. You can lose it by neglect. You can lose it by forgetfulness. You can lose it because it's relevance expires.
But knowledge work can be properly stored. This is the role of social media in the workplace - in the corporation.
Social Media isn't Facebook. It isn't Twitter. It isn't MySpace. It isn't Digg.
Social Media are the objects that people imbue with meaning. Social Media applications can store and share these objects, make them findable and give them permanence. This increases the shelf life of social media.
Objects that companies create as a matter of course (reports, photographs, decisions, meeting minutes, etc.) are often lost or placed in containers with highly limited searchability - like notebooks or filing cabinets.
When this happens, knowledge work quickly becomes stagnant and dies. Social media applications provide companies the infrastructure to develop processes which allow for things like:
- rapid ad hoc team creation
- distributed information sharing
- findable corporate knowledge (what knowledge management seeks to do)
- rapid and effective internal crowdsourcing
- better use of HR
- better use of company facilities, assets and amenities
- streamlined workflow
- better understanding of value between parts of the organization
- better recognition of value streams
- formal and informal communication
- highlighting of conflicting value streams or purposes
- detailed paper / audit trails
- low-impact / automated status reporting
Enterprise 2.0, as I've seen it, has had some blind spots. It does not take into account what people actually do at work or what processes in place. Dion Hinchliffe quoted someone at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston this year as saying, "Change Management is the enemy of Enterprise 2.0."
What a scary thought. To me, Change Management is the very rationale for Enterprise 2.0.