It is hard to disagree with Andrew Carnegie. An enterprise is basically about people getting together and collaborating to achieve a common goal, making efficient collaboration the key ingredients in virtually any successful enterprise. But information technology still has a lot to prove when it comes to facilitating efficient collaboration. This is where Enterprise 2.0 technologies could potentially make a significant difference and Andrew McAfee’s definition of Enterprise 2.0 captures just this potential:
"Enterprise 2.0 is the use of emergent social software platforms within companies, or between companies and their partners or customers". He clarifies that Enterprise 2.0 is "...all about changes to collaboration, not to development or delivery models."
I personally find the more narrow definition of Enterprise 2.0 as being a “new generation of digital collaboration tools” more usable than wider definitions that I have encountered. In the context of an enterprise, it obvious that Web 2.0 technologies can create more business value by improving collaboration than they can by providing the possibility to host and execute applications on the web. Peter Rip captured this nicely in his post about collaboration as the Big Driver behind Enterprise 2.0:
“This Web 2.0 era isn’t really about tagging or sharing photos or bookmarks any more than Web 1.0 was about buying pet food online or reading news online. It is about the emergent property of Collaboration that happens when a critical mass of people (or things) is interconnected and the technologies that facilitate collaboration…//…Collaboration is the Big Driver within Web 2.0 and nowhere is collaboration more valuable than when time is money – the time to assimilate information from the enterprise edge and the time to organize and respond.“
In essence, Enterprise 2.0 is about creating shared workspaces. Instead of mailing documents to each other, we meet and exchange information on a shared workspace such as a wiki. A wiki or a blog might not be suited for tasks that require more structured collaboration with automated workflows, but they can certainly help us to collaborate more efficiently in situations where we now only can use e-mail or IM as collaboration tools.