Envisioning and shaping the future of work and business.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Tougher economic reality? Get smart with Web / Enterprise 2.0

To borrow the words of Joe McKendrick, Dion Hinchcliffe "has just published an overview of some compelling options Enterprise and Web 2.0 approaches offer organizations in the current economic climate and upcoming recovery; far smarter than the rip-and-replace approach to workforce and knowledge management we’ve known in the past." Here are some highlights from Dion's post "Using Web 2.0 to reinvent your business for the economic downturn":
Why is Web 2.0 particularly interesting right now for the enterprise? Web 2.0 has always been about making the most of the intrinsic power of the network and whatever is attached to it. This can be people (social computing and Enterprise 2.0), low-cost dynamic Web partners (open APIs and cloud computing), the world’s largest database of information, lightweight integration (mashups and Web-style SOA), or maximizing the value of the network itself (the network effects that everyone talks about), and much more. These collectively represent better, more efficient, and less expensive ways to accomplish things that we previously used to do without the network’s help or with methods that didn’t take advantages of how the network works.
  • Move to lower-cost online/SaaS versions of enterprise applications.
  • Use Enterprise 2.0 to capture the knowledge and know-how of employees.
  • Strategically move IT infrastructure to the cloud
  • Embrace new low-cost models for production such as crowdsourcing
  • Lower customer service costs by pro-active use of online customer communities.
  • Reduce application development and integration time/expenditures with new platforms and techniques
  • Open your supply chain to partners on the Web.
  • Overhauling and reinventing paper and digital workflow
Web 2.0 models offer one of the most potent ways we presently have to regroup, reorganize, and systematically improve what we’re doing in terms of private enterprise, government, and public service. Right now is a very exciting time indeed to be in business, for better or worse.
Michael Sampson shares some insightful advice on what key actions to take with respect to your collaboration strategy as times get tougher:

Expense Management for Meetings
Examine travel patterns for inhouse meetings, and estimate the time and cost involved for the next 6-12 months. Can you put in place new ways of "meeting" ... new ways of getting to coordinated action without putting people on planes

Get Out of Managing Projects in Email
With the volatility in the market, great employees can be head-hunted out of your firm by others, and you equally have the option of optimizing your employee ranks through layoffs and new hirings. If you are running projects in email, what's going on is locked up in individual email inboxes. That makes it so much more difficult to induct new people into projects as they join your firm, or to pick up projects that exiting people drop on the way out.

Recruitment and Retention
Watch your recruitment and retention strategies carefully. You know how much it costs to hire a good person to your firm ... and if you lose them to a competitor, you'll have to replace them...//...By giving employees a way to have their say, to engage with others, to provide and receive support from colleagues inside the organization ... enables you to build goodwill and engagement that keeps great people inside and attracts outside people who wish to flee their current toxic firm.
Michael referred to an a article in Fortune by Geoff Colvin "How to manage your business in a recession" where Geogg shares ten recommendations that he claims can help any businessin an economic downturn, whatever shape it is in:
Finally, here are some words of wisdom from the article "10 ways to weather the storm" by Geoff Colvin where the ten recommendations above come from:
Good managers respond by communicating even more than usual. They find that they needn't have all the answers, but they do need to say what they're thinking and be honest about conditions. Julia Stewart, CEO of DineEquity, parent of the Applebee's and IHOP restaurant chains, says, "It's important to assure your employees by making clear your vision, making sure they know that you care, and making sure that you're direct and honest. They just want the truth." 

The best performers deeply understand their customers' businesses and can respond in sophisticated ways...//...In any industry the general principle is helping customers make the most of what they've got...//...No matter what business you're in, you can redefine value for the customer.


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