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Enterprise 2.0 47

Posted by samzenpus
from the read-all-about-it dept.
mantex writes "The title of this book combines two coded terms — 'Web 2.0' and 'The Enterprise' — for which read 'social networking software' and 'Big Business.' And the purpose is to show how the techniques and concepts behind Web 2.0 applications (blogs, wikis, tagging, RSS, and social bookmarking) can be used to encourage collaboration efforts in what was previously thought of as secretive, competitive businesses." Read on for the rest of Roy's review.
Enterprise 2.0
author Niall Cook
pages pp.164
publisher Londo: Gower
rating 7
reviewer Roy Johnson
ISBN 0566088002
summary How social software will change the future of work
It's an argument which is fast becoming quite familiar. To succeed in modern business, managers and directors must learn to listen and talk to their customers and staff. They need to be more agile in their thinking, less monolithic in their practices, and they need to catch up to new Internet-based activities which can sweep away unwary traditionalists overnight [look what happened to Encyclopedia Britannica] and create multi-billion pound enterprises almost as quickly [Amazon, Google]. Niall Cook realises that there will be problems and resistance to such suggestions from within orthodox business communities. But he also points to their existing weaknesses. Companies spend millions of dollars installing information and knowledge management systems, yet still struggle with the most basic challenges of persuading their employees to use them. Will it be difficult to persuade large organizations to adopt these very democratic tools? He offers case studies from companies such as the BBC, IBM, Microsoft, and BUPA and others to show that it might. He even makes a case for the use of instant messaging and social presence software (MSN and Twitter).

He also has an example of the US Defence Intelligence Agency using mashups to provide simultaneous streams of information through a single interface (because that's what its users want), and a multinational software company using Facebook as an alternative to its own Intranet (because its employees use it more).

He gives a very convincing example of the creation of a wiki running alongside the company Intranet in a German bank. The IT staff started using the wiki to generate documentation, and within six months use of the Intranet was down 50%, email was down 75%, and meeting times had been cut in half.

In fact he misses the opportunity to point out that one of the biggest incentives for companies to embrace Web 2.0 software is that much of it is completely free. Almost all major programs are now available in Open Source versions — including such fundamentals as operating systems (Linux) content management systems (Joomla) and virtual learning environments (Moodle).

In the UK, government institutions have invested and wasted billions of pounds after being bamboozled by software vendors. In the education sector alone, VLEs such as Blackboard and WebCT have proved costly mistakes for many colleges and universities. They are now locked in to proprietary systems, whilst OSS programs such as Moodle run rings round them — and are free.

Is the embracing of social software solutions likely to take place any time soon? Well, Cook has some interesting answers. His argument is that these developments are already taking place. Smart companies will catch on, and obstructors will fall behind with no competitive edge.

Bear in mind that within just five years, members of the MySpace generation are going to be entering the workforce, bringing their collaborative tools with them. If you don't have the software that allows them to search, link, author, tag, mashup, and subscribe to business information in the ways they want to, they are going to do one of three things: use third party software that does; leave to join a competitor that does; not want to work for you in the first place.

Even the software solutions in this radical, indeed revolutionary development, must be fast, light, and quick to implement. Oracle's IdeaFactory took just a few days to build. Janssen-Cilag's wiki-based Intranet was purchased, customized, and launched within two weeks. This is all part of what Peter Merholz in his recent Subject to Change calls agile technology.

Cook provides strategies for those who wish to implement these ideas within their own company — and it has to be said that he assumes a certain degree of subversiveness might be necessary.

The book ends with a review of the literature on social software and a comprehensive bibliography — so anyone who wants to pursue these matters at a theoretical level has all the tools to do so. But I suspect that anybody who is taken with these new ideas — if they have any blood in their veins — will immediately want to go away and put them into practice.

This is a truly inspirational book which should be required reading for managers, IT leaders, systems analysts, developers, and business strategists in any enterprise, small, medium, and especially large. I can think of two organizations I am working with right now (one a university, the other a large city college) who ought to be implementing these ideas but who are doing just the contrary — stifling innovation. One, following its culture of 'no change' has just been swallowed up by its rival. The other is running onto the financial rocks precisely because it refuses to learn from its users and its own staff — whilst claiming to do just the opposite.

Roy Johnson files regular book reviews at MANTEX

You can purchase Enterprise 2.0 from amazon.com. Slashdot welcomes readers' book reviews — to see your own review here, read the book review guidelines, then visit the submission page.
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Enterprise 2.0

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  • by alain94040 (785132) * on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @01:18PM (#26062401) Homepage

    In my view of the world, there are 5 key companies that completely redefine the way businesses are created using the web, aka "startup 2.0":

    - http://ycombinator.com/ [ycombinator.com]: Paul Graham can take a bunch of smart college kids, feed them $15K for 3 months, bring them to Silicon Valley and watch them succeed - his success rate is amazing.

    - http://fairsoftware.net/ [fairsoftware.net] (disclosure: I'm one of the founders): eliminate the need for any startup capital when you have a good idea for a software or a web site, just go ahead and create a virtual online corporation, hire friends or strangers, ship and share revenue. Never talk to a lawyer. Shopping and banking are online nowdays, why not the corporation itself?

    - http://thefunded.com/ [thefunded.com]: once your business is showing potential, maybe (just maybe) you want to raise money from VCs. Thanks to TheFunded, VCs are not the ruling masters of their universe anymore.

    - http://vator.tv/ [vator.tv]: once you have a cool product, it's time to pitch it to the world. You don't need to have a friend at CNN anymore. Well, actually with vator, you do :-)

    - http://partnerup.com/ [parternup.com]: you need to find co-founders to start your enterprise 2.0. Traditional job boards are for 9-5 jobs at Fortune 500 companies. PartnerUp is the only one I have seen that really focuses on early stage opportunities.

    I believe innovation will come from all these new startups that can now be created online, with collaborators distributed potentially all over the world, just like Open Source. That's big enough that it may create an entirely new economy within 5 years.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      In my view of the world, there are 5 key companies that completely redefine the way businesses are created using the web, aka "startup 2.0":

      ...

      I believe innovation will come from all these new startups that can now be created online, with collaborators distributed potentially all over the world, just like Open Source. That's big enough that it may create an entirely new economy within 5 years.

      I think I've heard this sort of talk before. What was it called again? Oh yes, Web 1.0, or "the Web" as we old-timers called it.

      "But this time it's different". I've heard that before too.

    • by shashark (836922)
      *Citation needed.

      PS: Moderators, mod this down. Except for paul graham, the other links appear to be cheap imitators.
  • by TheNecromancer (179644) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @01:22PM (#26062457)

    The title sounds like another spinoff of the Star Trek TV series. Like we need another one of those....

    • by Tetsujin (103070)

      Didn't Andrew Probert design the Enterprise 2.0?

    • by dsmall (933970)

      Damn, here I thought that with Star Trek only, what, 5 months away that this would be Yet Another Article on it.

      So Annoying.

      *grin*

      David

  • wouldn't sound nearly as annoying or pretentious if it involved anything that hadn't been around for over 10 years.

  • Cluetrain anybody? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by xbytor (215790) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @01:32PM (#26062627) Homepage

    It's not like this is a new idea...

    • by 1s44c (552956) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @01:55PM (#26062947)

      It's not like this is a new idea...

      Web 2.0 is useful for one thing. It's an easy way to tell the buzzword merchants from the IT professionals.

      Of course it's sad to see people fooled into believing there is any substance to it.

      • Web 2.0 is useful for one thing. It's an easy way to tell the buzzword merchants from the IT professionals.

        I see.

        So you are saying that real IT professionals just sit there and stare at C level decision makers when they are asked about how the latest buzzword is going to change the field?

        There is a reason that these buzzwords exist.

        Think of it as an additional layer of abstraction for C level decision makers. The nicest part is that most of the buzz concepts are vague enough that a talented IT professional

        • by jlarocco (851450)

          So you are saying that real IT professionals just sit there and stare at C level decision makers when they are asked about how the latest buzzword is going to change the field?

          No. When asked, the "real IT professional" explains that "Web 2.0" is nothing but hype and buzzwords based on technology that's been around for over a decade. A "buzzword merchant", as the parent post called it, will explain how "Web 2.0" is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

          There is a reason that these buzzwords exist.

          Yep.

  • Sorry (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @01:51PM (#26062885)

    Web 2.0 doesn't exist. It is nothing more than a bullshit buzzword with no real meaning, so by default this book is total rubbish.

    Carry on.

    • by voltheir (1087207)
      You've never worked in an Enterprise, have you? This type of meaningless bullshit is the modus operandi.
  • Everything 2.0!
    Seriously, when are we gonna move on with life and get off the 2.0 bandwagon?

    And no, I don't mean upgrading to 3.0
  • When you get past the buzzwords, there's an important message here: be open to new ideas and listen to employees.

    Saying "web 2.0 doesn't exist" is just as pretentious as writing a book about it. I think most people here like the idea of an open workspace where ideas are shared and appreciated. If the term of the day for that type of work environment is "web 2.0", so be it. Use the hype to convince the powers to be that it's a good idea to shift to a more open work space.

    Disclaimer: "web 2.0" seriou
  • MySpace?! (Score:3, Funny)

    by mechsoph (716782) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @03:17PM (#26064229)

    Bear in mind that within just five years, members of the MySpace generation are going to be entering the workforce, bringing their collaborative tools with them.

    God help us all.

    • I recommend that we move these people to Cloud City. I have access to a Corillian freighter that can make the Kessel Run in under 12 parsecs.
  • This review showed up on my Reader right after one about the J.J. Abrams movie, so I assumed it was about the starship. So I clicked it and read the summary. "Oh. It's something a lot less realistic." Ah well.

  • The "enterprise" terminology likely started with IBM's marketing their mainframe products in 1988 [magnificenterprise.com].
  • Bear in mind that within just five years, members of the MySpace generation are going to be entering the workforce, bringing their collaborative tools with them.

    Umm... just because a young guy enjoys blabbing to quasi-strangers about how trashed he was last night, and/or how totally "hawt" your new profile photo is, doesn't mean they're chomping at the bit to crank out documentation for you. Social networking sites are something people do for fun to AVOID work. Putting documentation on the Wiki is very

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