Envisioning and shaping the future of work and business.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Interesting Enterprise 2.0 Readings - Week 51 2009

"Unstructured Collaboration is Key to Increased Innovation and Business Agility in 2010" by Drew Gude, Director, U.S. High Tech and Electronics Manufacturing Industry Solutions, Microsoft:
Most high-tech companies have made significant investments in tier 1 business applications such as enterprise resource planning (ERP), product lifecycle management (PLM) and customer relationship management (CRM). While these systems provide access to structured, transactional information, they do not facilitate the unstructured, ad-hoc collaboration activities where people interact with people and where business decisions are made.

The biggest challenge in 2010 and beyond, therefore, will be to integrate PLM, ERP, supply chain management and other structured, transactional frameworks with tools and processes that facilitate unstructured collaboration. By embedding unstructured collaboration tools such as unified communications, live meetings and online chat within these structured, transactional systems, manufacturers will be able to increase business agility through an array of benefits ranging from improved innovation to more rapid decision making and faster time-to-market.

One of the key tools for unstructured collaboration is social computing...In 2010, we will see the adoption of social collaboration tools increase significantly, as more manufacturers will look to integrate social computing tools and platforms like SharePoint into their business processes, linking internal communities and external communities. These unstructured collaboration tools can help high-tech businesses gain visibility into customer needs and wants; improve customer support and satisfaction; and facilitate knowledge-sharing throughout the enterprise
People like to use email because they feel they can reach exactly the person they have in mind and I think they like the "attachment" functionality that gives them the peace of mind of knowing they've handed off their document to exactly the person who should have it. But email's effectiveness breaks down quickly, in my experience, when you don't know precisely who you should be talking to.

To me, the necessity and opportunity of social computing as a corporate communication tool is revealed by the strong showing of face-to-face. People want to have productive back-and-forth exchanges with precisely the right people who can help them and a face-to-face conversation does that. But what about when you are not in the same physical location and yet you need to collaboratively exchange expertise with someone else, or a group? That's when social computing tools can fit the bill because they are web-based approximations of the face-to-face dynamic.
On Friday, I expressed doubt whether Twitter will ever enjoy mainstream adoption like Facebook...the more closed Facebook has continued to thrive because it marries microblogging (or status messages, which are longer and have threaded comments) with other social sharing features in one constant stream without the need for redirection.

For this reason, I believe microblogging, integrated with other social software, will be more useful for the general populace as a technology at work than it ever will in their consumer life. Here is why enterprise microblogging will affect more people, and their day-to-day, than Twitter:

1) You Know the People
2) Communication Problem is More Real at Work
3) Privacy Provides Comfort to Share
4) Value Becomes Evident Faster
Globalization will eventually show that it too was driven by technology change but the ramifications are far from being felt. Today, Americans are blaming big business and our government for causing this recession but underpinning this is the transformation where work is getting done faster and cheaper in other places around the world.

With this new global economy questions emerge to who should be in control, who should lead, who is responsible for ensuring our place and many other question emerge. For a country born on democracy, it's interesting to see so many looking to the government for that lead when in fact it's us that must lead this next transformation. Unfortunately, our life styles are killing our drive to succeed.

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