Envisioning and shaping the future of work and business.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Keeping employees engaged in their work in the current economic climate

11:25:00 AM Posted by Oscar Berg No comments
Below is a presentation by David Gurteen from a Knowledge Café session with BT. 

Slide 8 tells you why engaged employees are important for your business (The IT services company HCL build their business philoshy on this insight)

Slide 14 is about how BT is improving employee engagement. Most, if not all of it, is relevant to any business. The common denominator is the need for more, richer, more efficient and more interactive communication. Examples:
More regular frequent feedback
More comments and conversations
Clarity around future direction
Making leaders visible, accessible, public commitments
Enhancing the employee experience at key touchpoints – recruitment, induction, transition etc
This build this cause and effect chain, that business results come from engaged employees,  is not rocket science - it is social science. Which, by the way is often more complex than putting a man on the moon. 

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Facebook getting older and older day by day

11:13:00 AM Posted by Oscar Berg No comments

Look out everybody, the baby boomers are taking over Facebook!

I was chocked when I first heard the news delivered by my wife about my mother-in-law having joined Facebook. According to Inside Facebook, she is not the only one in her age and generation who has recently joined Facebook:

Facebook growing in every age/gender demographic. Fastest growing segment: Women over 55, up 175.3% in the last 120 days.

Given the time they have available to spend on Facebook, it will soon become their playground.

Let's go find somewhere else to hang out...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Just released: ECM Maturity Model available under Creative Commons license

2:54:00 PM Posted by Oscar Berg No comments

CMS Watch just announced the release of an ECM Maturity Model. It was jointly developed by CMS Watch, WiPro Technologies, Smigiel Consulting Group and Hartman Communicatie and is released today under a Creative Commons "Attribution Share Alike" license.

From PCM.Blog:

"As Tony Byrne says, it is a V1 and the idea is to let the community participate and make it more robust."

You can download the maturity model here:

I will certainly invest some time to check it out and see if it is usable.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Illustrating KM 1.0 and KM 2.0

8:05:00 PM Posted by Oscar Berg , No comments
After I had illustrated some information flows (for enterprise blogs) in MS Visio today, I put together these two illustrations. I know, they are taken to the extreme. But sometimes anything is allowed when trying to make a point.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Research: well-connected people communicating a lot are more productive

2:19:00 PM Posted by Oscar Berg 3 comments

From "The ROI of being social at work" by Matthew Hodgson:

MIT research [1] shows that 40% of creative teams productivity is directly explained by the amount of communication they have with others to discover, gather, and internalise information. In other MIT studies, research shows that employees with the most extensive digital networks are 7% more productive than their colleagues. Furthermore, those with the most cohesive face-to-face networks are 30% more productive.

This reinforces similar research by Aral, Brynjolfsson & Van Alstyne [2] that highlights the importance of these networks because they “strongly influence information diffusion … and access to novel information”. Availability of these networks, their research shows, is a highly significant predictor of worker productivity.

Since information does not diffuse randomly in organisations, but rather reflects the nature and structure of human relationships, providing the right tools that support human social relationships, communication and interaction, will provide a significant ROI to the enterprise.

1. Pentland, A. 2009. How Social Networks Network Best. Harvard Business Review, Feb, p 37.
2. Aral, Brynjolfsson & Van Alstyne. 2007. Productivity Effects of Information Diffusion in Networks.

(Swedish blogger Fredrik Wackå alerted me about this post that I had bookmarked in Reader but forgotten to read and share)

Fear of not changing drives innovation at Apple?

9:18:00 AM Posted by Oscar Berg , No comments
Discussion found via Stewart Mader:

John Siracusa lists a number of words - resurgent, exciting, innovative, successful - that he believes characterize Apple under the second reign of Steve Jobs and finally adds the word fearless to the list. John Gruber agrees, but not about the last word 'fearless':
"It’s not that Steve Jobs is fearless, but rather that he’s afraid of not changing. Where other CEOs can’t bring themselves to do something different, Jobs can’t bring himself to keep doing the same thing."
So is it lack of fear that drives Steve Jobs and Apple to making new inventions, or the fear (boredom?) of not changing?

I believe that Gruber is on to something. I don't think fearlessness is a driver of change and innovation in the case of Jobs and Apple. Fear is a basic primal emotion and it is key to evolutionary survival. You need to feel a certain amount of fear for your own good, and most people do (the others simply fall off cliffs and die) . But fearing status quo is not enough for a business to either survive and be successful, and I do not think it can be used to explain the success of Apple under Jobs second reign.

I simply think Steve Jobs understands that the world (humanity) is constantly changing and that the key to thrive in it is to be able to change yourself - with a timing that keeps you in sync with the changes happening in the world.

Friday, February 20, 2009

This week in links - week 8, 2009

9:54:00 PM Posted by Oscar Berg , 2 comments

For some reason I (@oscarberg) decided that micro-blogging (a.k.a. Twitter) deserved all the attention this week.

"Twitter Is Now a Must in the Enterprise" by Jason Meserve, Network World:
"I've been able to connect with some existing customers as well as people who have Tweeted about network management solutions," Williams says. "I've even gotten a few people to trial our software."

Got a technical question that needs answering? If you have a big enough following on Twitter or Facebook and/or belong to certain groups on LinkedIn, posing your question to these groups can be a timesaver.

Twitter and its many associated applications can help you keep tabs on the world around you or at least direct your attention to what is most important.
Fact is, microblogging is not simply a super cool form of communication (a la SMS speak of teenagers but for 18+ (average Tweeter is 31!)). It fills a real need for almost realtime communication. If you want to know what people are paying attention to at the moment, you use the Twitter search instead of Google. Next time a plane touches down on the Hudson River make sure you are watching your Twitter stream instead of waiting for images to appear on CNN. So, microblogging will not go away. 

What I am trying to understand is if microblogging as it stands at the moment is actually scalable, not in terms of technology but behavior and usage.
Twitter is changing the face of social media, which in-turn has reinvented the Internet. The story of U.S. Airways flight 1549 landing in the Hudson River was broken on Twitter, more than 10 minutes before CNN had the story. Ditto the Mumbai bombings which triggered an onslaught of 'tweets' at an estimated rate of 900 per minute during the height of the crisis.

As it transforms social media, Twitter is helping to reinvigorate the corporate intranet. At Prescient Digital Media we use a Twitter-like platform called Yammer. It's free to use and myself and other staff are using it to keep abreast of each other's work and activities.

In Twitter the conversation is intense and there’s 100’s of updates every minute.

This is a new era in public interest!
Finally, here's a information graphic showing the history of micro-blogging (click to enlarge):

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Too much analysis can confuse people about how they really feel

3:14:00 PM Posted by Oscar Berg No comments
Here's a short follow-up on my recent post "Don't listen too much on users - observe them instead".  The presentation "Is qualitative research holding us back?" by Jason Oke that is available on slideshare.net pretty much supports the point I was trying to make. Here are a couple of quotes used in the presentation that pretty much frames what the presentation and my previous post is about:
“The consumer does not behave as they say, they do not say what they think and they do not think what they feel” - David Ogilvy

"Too much analysis can confuse people about how they really feel. there are severe limits to what we can discover through self-reflection.” - Timothy Wilson, university of virginia in New York Times, dec 29 2005
So, when studying and trying to understand human behavior, it is usually a better strategy to observe people (in their natural environments) than to interview them.  

Most users that visit a web site or use an application act on instinct and choose the option that seems to be the most intuitive one of the ones presented to them. If they fail to achieve their goals with that option, they try something else. If no option or path of options on the site allows them to achieve their goals, they leave the site. What is important is that each of these choices are made within a fraction of a second. Most users do not stop for several seconds to analyze the site or their own behavior. That only happens when they are tested and asked to tell someone what they are doing. Or something is fundamentally wrong with the site or app.

So when you want to do quick usability tests, such as showing some people two design alternatives to get their reactions on them, your primary aim should be to observe the users and draw conclusions from their spontaneous reactions. If they say something spontaneously within a second or two, note it down. But once they think too long before they react or they start asking you questions, the test is over. 

"Non-traditional" document management solutions on the move...

2:43:00 PM Posted by Oscar Berg No comments
Here is the forth finding out of the "8 Things You Need to Know About Making the Case for Document Management in a Recession" that John Manchini, president and CEO of AIIM, is posting on his blog:
42% of companies now see somewhat non-traditional sources for acquiring document management capabilities (open source, SaaS, outsourcing) as their PREFERRED approach.
The findings are based on a survey conducted February 5 of 400 executives who “order, recommend, approve, or initiate computer hardware or software decisions.”

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Gartner: Enterprise web 2.0 is ready for prime time

2:59:00 PM Posted by Oscar Berg 2 comments
In a Garner briefing in Stockholm last week, Mark Raskino, VP and Gartner fellow in the Emerging Trends group of Gartner Research, gave a talk about "Business, IT and the Recession":
"CEOs need new ways to strengthen culture, values and trust as relationships of all kinds are stress-tested."
One of Raskino's points was that in we have now seen "the trust of decades trashed in hours" (referring to the financial crisis). He also pointed out that "human decision makers made frail by the speed of the programmed & connected world". As a consequence of this business trust issue, Gartner sees real possibility of business taking the social web / Web 2.0 seriously.

The key issues are about establishing openness, transparency, trust and relationships. Pretty much what Enterprise 2.0 is about.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Information has no form, yet we spend our lives trying to give it form

1:25:00 PM Posted by Oscar Berg , , No comments

We spend our lives to give information form. But we constantly confuse the information with the medium. Information = the message that we try to communicate by using different media.

I also recommend you to read my post "Information Management Principle #1: Information cannot be managed" which explains the main implications that this insight has when it comes to the discipline of Information Management:
...we cannot manage information and knowledge with technology. This is because information and knowledge exist only in our own heads. What we can do however is to try to conceptualize what we know and encoded it into content - text, images, sound and video. We can also try to identify the intended receivers and make the content available to them. But we cannot guarantee that they will understand what we are trying to say to them or that they will act as we want them to even if they do understand. We can only hope that they get our message and that it is persuasive enough and that they have the motivation required to act as we want them to.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

This week in links - week 7, 2009

Here is a great set of links. Really worth reading.

Laurie Buczek provides a VERY good value proposition for Enterprise 2.0 in the post"Why Intel is investing in Social Computing":
  • Employees Want to Put a Face to a Name: We are a large (~85k employee) globally dispersed workforce.  Global teams of people work together, but in many cases wouldn't recognize a team member if they passed them on the street.
  • Too much time is lost to find people & information to do your job:  The average Intel employee dumps one day a week trying to find people with the experience & expertise plus the relevant information to do their job. We have calculated some of the $$ impact due to lost productivity & opportunity.  Let me just say that it is motivating us to take action.
  • Getting work done effectively in globally dispersed teams is challenging: There is usually a window of 2 hours a day that team members can communicate real-time with each other.  Work in progress collaboration is often done in email, passing back and forth edited presentation decks and crossing discussion wires. Task hand-offs from one team leaving work and another entering are very rough.
  • New hires want to have a way to integrate into Intel faster: This isn't a generational thing.  Think back to your first day at your company.  How did you learn about the company?  How did you put a name to a face or discover who you needed to connect with?  Did you feel isolated and lost?  I bet you answered yes to most or all.  It's a fact that if you can improve the integration experience you will get faster engagement, happier workers and quicker delivery of solid results.
  • Restructuring and employee redeployment impacts Organizational Health: The last two years Intel has spent restructuring and reducing our workforce. With the current economic conditions, now all companies are faced with and embarking upon the same venture.  This leaves employees feeling disconnected, isolated and disengaged.  We are finding value in providing opportunities for Intel to feel small, give employees a voice and build a sense of community.
  • We reinvent the wheel over and over again: Need I say more?  Stovepipes and silos breed redundancy.
  • We learn more via on the job training, then we do in a classroom:  Providing employees opportunities to share their knowledge and their expertise allows other employees to organically discover information to help them do their jobs.  Your organization becomes a learning organization with "wisdom of crowds" at its core.
  • We need to deliver radical innovation in a mature company:  It is challenging for mature companies, like Intel, to find a parallel innovation vein to the current incremental innovation. However, it is essential in order to power future growth.  In Judy Estrin's book "Closing the Innovation Gap:  Reigniting the Spark of Creativity in a Global Economy", she states the five core values of innovation are questioning, risk taking, openness, patience and trust. Intel has these values at our core but organizational stovepipes get in the way of ideas.  Social tools can unleash those ideas.
  • When the mature workforce starts to retire, they carry knowledge out the door:  Have you thought about the bottom line impact that the large amount of retiring baby boomers will have on your company? Or better yet, our economic future?  Tacit knowledge is imperative to transfer knowledge.  To date, there aren't any solid tools to effectively extract the tacit knowledge.  Social tools show real promise. See These Knowledge Boots are Made for Walking.
Mary Jander at Internet Evolution tells the tale about General Electrics social networking journey that stated already in 1999 in the post "Social Networking: GE's Enterprise Tale":
Over the past eight years, General Electric Co. has built a series of social networks so advanced that they've been credited with remaking the company's business.

Since 1999, GE has built up an internal network called SupportCentral, which hosts roughly 100,000 wikis, 30 million documents, and an estimated 40,000 blogs. GE's 400,000-odd employees generate about 25 million Web hits per day on the network -- about 5 million pageviews. They download over 500,000 documents every day.

GE's venture into social networking was streamlined from the outset by a clear sense of direction, management sponsorship from CIO Gary Reiner, and close attention to how the approach could serve GE's business.

"We focused on community needs to deliver a process," says Grewal. "It was a far cry from a portal... We were about real people, not grandiose visions."
So how would one measure the value of collaboration? In one sense it is “invaluable” because it connects you with someone critical to your business (be it executive or customer). It is not easy to balance the cost of the collaboration technologies against this one conversation or relationship, yet intuitively you know this is the case, and now that you have it you can’t live without the collaboration tool.

Value is a subjective term, but one way to look at value is benefit over price. In other words if a tool gives you more benefits (notice I did not say features) at less cost, it has more value. There are 4 major benefits that collaboration offers:

1. Saving time or money (tangible)
2. Increasing quality (tangible…but less so)
3. Innovating and/or providing decision support (tangible but less than quality)
4. Easing access to and interactions with subject-matter experts (intangible)

Since black holes absorb light, the only way you can detect one is the effect it has on objects around (near) it. Collaboration is much the same, you have to measure things affected by collaboration like: employee turnover rate, morale, cycle time to complete a task or process. These more objective measures then have to be linked to collaboration in some way and given a value for how much they contributed to a positive outcome (which is very subjective).

I am currently looking at other ways to value collaboration by looking at how it affects other behaviors. How well it supports the interactions with others, does it support accountability, does it help complete projects, etc. Whatever way you choose to value collaboration, it is no easy task.
So it seems it is broadly true, young people really are more open and older ones more set in their ways, according to a fascinating article in the Scientific American.

Openness typically increases during a person’s 20s and goes into a gradual decline after that.

This pattern of personality development seems to hold true across cultures. 

Personality can continue to change somewhat in middle and old age, but openness to new experiences tends to decline gradually until about age 60. After that, some people become more open again, perhaps because their responsibilities for raising a family and earning a living have been lifted.

The best case scenario to successfully roll out a collaboration initiative is with top down direction combined with grass roots adoption...//...inclusiveness is a key to successful culture change. The challenge is to motivate people and get them engaged by helping them to participate, and some sizzle to sell the steak often really helps.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Don't listen too much to users - observe them instead

12:02:00 PM Posted by Oscar Berg , No comments
As I have previously argued, what users say they want isn’t always what they need. The same thing goes for what they do; what users say they would do isn’t always (rather rarely) what they would do.

Fact is that you can often learn more about how usable a product or service is by observing what users do than by listening to them. There is usually a big difference between what a user say she would do and what she would actually do. In the end, it is what the user does that counts.

This week the results from two different usability studies have been presented. The first study was a qualitative test with users where a limited number of users were given some pre-defined tasks to perform on a prototype. They were observed then and interviewed about their experience. The conclusions were primarily based on the results from the interviews.

The other one was an analysis of usage statistics from the live site. It used a combination various technologies to measure the performance of the existing site in terms of usability.

My particular interest was in the findings that related to the search engine. One such finding from the qualitative user tests was that only one out of eight users said that they would use the search function as their first choice when given the task to find a specific type of product. Seven of them said that they would use the taxonomy-based navigation and browse to find the product they would look for.

Looking at the results from the quantitative study, it gave a completely different picture. One finding was that more than 60% of the users visiting the site today chose to use the search and only around 10% went browsing through the taxonomy-based navigation. The rest chose other alternatives, probably because they were looking for some other information than products.

Given that the search function will be more prominently located and easier to spot in the new design (which the prototype in the qualitative tests were based upon), one should not draw to many conclusions from the results from the tests with users. Just the fact that the users were participating in a test is likely to have affected their behaviors. The interview probably also made them think to much and analyze their own behaviors during the test. On a live site, users just do things to complete the task they are there to perform. They act on intuition and habit, choosing the path that seems as the most natural way to satisfy their needs.

I expect 70% or more users will use search as their primary entry point when looking for products and other information on the site after my project has launched. Given that the search is the fastest way to find a product - the navigation always require several clicks while the search potentially only requires two - I am convinced that the changes we are doing will also lead to increased sales. The real data on real user behaviors that we will capture and analyze before and some time after the release of the new search will then show if I am wrong or right.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Employee First Customer Second - True beauty comes from within

8:44:00 PM Posted by Oscar Berg No comments
The IT services company HCL shares its very simple but insightful business philosophy in a presentation on slideshare.
"HCL realized that in service industry the value gets created not in the back office but in face to face interaction between the customer and employees. Hence it is more important to empower employees so that they deliver more value to the customers. When an employee is delighted, he will delight the customer."

The promise of SharePoint "14"

2:22:00 PM Posted by Oscar Berg , 2 comments
"The Sharepoint Sessions – Part Four – Upcoming Sharepoint Investment Areas" by Bill Ives:
The next release of Sharepoint, Microsoft will be investing for the paradigm shift to more web 2.0 capabilities. The consumer web is influencing the enterprise and search is getting bigger. Microsoft feels that software + services is the best of both worlds – combine SaaS and desktop apps. There are limits of Sharepoint online that can be handled by desktop apps. Social networking and social software are on the rise and success here is about building trust. Social networking is an important first step for collaboration and finding documents. Currently, knowledge is modern organizations isn’t just 80 %undocumented, it is 95% invisible. The Sharepoint social networking capability, Knowledge Network, was not implemented in last version of Sharepoint but they are planning to implement it in next version."

Larry Cannell shares some of the things he has learned about SharePoint "14 from various demonstrations and announcements at the FASTForward 2009 Conference:

Browser-based document thumbnails and previews. I’ve seen a couple of screenshots showing document thumbnails and previews in a SharePoint site. This morning’s presentation showed a set of Powerpoint slide thumbnails within a browser on a SharePoint site.

In a Q&A session at the analyst meeting yesterday, we learned the Business Data Catalog will benefit from the FAST search technologies, although it is not yet clear how. For those of you familiar with the BDC’s ability to aggregate business application data within. SharePoint’s collaborative environment and FAST’s capabilities to work with structured data, this should get you thinking about some interesting possibilities.

Tagging was mentioned in a SharePoint demo during this morning’s session.

Expertise information (perhaps leftovers from the Knowledge Network beta pulled shortly before SharePoint 2007’s launch) also looks to be included in “14.”

Sunday, February 8, 2009

This week in links - week 6, 2009

This set of links contain a number of insights which are highly valuable to any organization that is to embark (or is thinking about doing so) on an Enterprise 2.0 journey.

There are two points of tension emerging in this recession that may allow for innovation in management practices.

Wider distribution of leadership. This recession has brought into stark perspective the role of the leader. Up to this point, the dominant norm has been the “command and control” leadership style. In this model, the organisation is viewed as a hierarchy in which decisions are escalated to the top, where a CEO makes the decisions...//...at the same time, insights from research in decision sciences and technological advances have shown that often the best decisions are made by an “intelligent crowd”, rather than one all-powerful individual.

Creating flexible virtual teams. Past recessions have often served to accelerate the adoption of management practices and processes that already had some popularity pre-recession. The same is true of the technology and mindset that supports virtual working. Assembling teams to work on projects and task forces has become more viable in the past decade, often hastened by the pressures of globalisation. Yet while virtual working is emerging as a trend, there is still an assumption that face-to-face working trumps virtual working. At the same time, research I have conducted with my colleagues on teams across the world has shown that many fail to utilise the technologies available to them.

RSS (Real simple syndication) is perhaps the greatest Web 2.0 technology... that you've have never heard of (well, not us, but our less nerdy friends and colleagues).

According to the Intranet 2.0 Global Study findings (400 respondent organizations from across the globe), RSS has been adopted by 37% of organizations, but only 13% have adopted it at an enterprise level.

Not surprisingly, more organizations have adopted wikis, discussion forums and blogs...//...But RSS, along with search, helps make the above social media 'sticky' and reusable. In other words, blogs and wikis often spawn RSS adoption. The numbers support this: only 10% of the respondent organizations don't have any plans to adopt RSS. Most will adopt it at some point in the next 2 years; it is how many of us will keep returning to blogs and forums that we care about.

In the case of Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 technologies, they become more useful the more people use them.

For example, social bookmarking or tagging is of limited value if adopted by just a handful of people, but can be extremely valuable in making information search more effective, if used by the majority of people in an organization.

This changes the shape of the adoption curve. Once there are sufficient users, the value increases, accelerating uptake. This is arguably the case with any system where there are network effects, however the mechanisms of Web 2.0 accelerate this increase in value.

This does not fundamentally transform the nature of user adoption initiatives in organizations, but it does change some of the dynamics and effective strategies.

For Enterprise 2.0 technologies far more than for other technologies, the real focus and the battle needs to be on moving from the early adopter group to the point of 'critical mass', where sufficient usage of the technologies is rapidly accelerating their value to users, and uptake should be far more rapid.

If you’re managing the introduction of enterprise social software at your organization, bottom-up doesn’t work. Bottom-up can’t be managed. And bottom-up happens at its own speed, which doesn’t work when you have deadlines.

So you’ve got to go with top-down. A planned roll-out. An orchestrated launch. And I have never, ever come across an enterprise social software launch as fast, well-orchestrated and effective as the one Penn State Outreach did last week.

Penn State Outreach’s enterprise social software project was groundbreaking in several ways. It was the first time:
  • an Outreach cross-functional group got together and was highly effective
  • Outreach was unified under one technology/one way of doing things
  • Outreach marketed directly to the employees vs. distributing information through multiple layers of management
Most importantly to me, as an enterprise social software vendor: this was the shortest “decision-to-implementation” project that the organization has ever undertook.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Creativity changes the game

3:36:00 PM Posted by Oscar Berg No comments

Creativity loves a problem, but it hates a lousy audience.

If everyone around you is sure the economy is tanking, that the end is near, that time is up and the company is headed for the tubes, it's almost impossible to find a creative solution.

Creativity changes the game, whatever game is being played. "We're going to run out of cash by the end of the year," is accurate unless you count creativity into the equation. Then the accurate statement is, "Under the current rules and assumptions, we're going to run out of cash..." Big difference.

Creativity demands exposure to market needs, and insulation from market fears. Give it some time to work, some support, some breathing room. That's when creativity has a chance to change the game.

These and more words of wisdom by Seth Godin can be found here. Some quotes on (almost) the same theme:

"Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower." 
Steve Jobs, founder, chairman and CEO of Apple

"Making mistakes is the privilege of the active. It is always the mediocre people who are negative, who spend their time proving that they were not wrong."
Ingvar Kamprad, founder of IKEA

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.