Where is Web 2.0 in the Enterprise?

Michael Idinopulos, the Vice President of Professional Services at Social Text presented on “Where is Web 2.0 in the Enterprise?” for the afternoon session at the Legal IT Leadership Summit. Michael is also the author of the Transparent Office.

Michael helped bring McKipedia to McKinsey. It was an internal wiki to help organize information. He found that there were many wikis already being used in the organization. They were using for project management and similar projects. At the same time as launching McKipedia, he also launched “collaboration spaces” on the side. There was no structure, no sponsorship and no notification across the organization. At first McKipedia was very popular, but died down. Collaboration spaces took off.

Internal wikipedia is not the killer use case. People do not want to edit an encyclopedia. In-the-flow works better than above-the-flow. The tools work better when they are employed to help someone do their daily task, not as an extra job responsibility. Culture is not a prerequisite; it is a journey. You can start in ways that are less about change and less foreign to people.

Michael challenged traditional knowledge management as asking people to capture information outside of their daily job. Traditional knowledge management requires you to take extra steps to do things for the benefit of the firm.

Good enterprise collaboration tools should be part of the daily work. We want to introduce tools that make it easier for the individuals to do their jobs better and more efficiently.

The tools require the mindset of “ask for forgiveness” not “ask for permission.”

One collaboration tool has sales representatives email questions to a wiki and then all responses come back to the wiki. [Maybe it would be good to remove all distribution lists from email. You have to go to a web page to email a group. The email message and responses would also be stored in a webpage as a discussion forum.]

There is no need to create a new culture. The 2.0 tools can be used to improve the existing interactions within a single business unit to achieve operational improvement. Then you can expand this create new interactions within the business unit to achieve business innovation. You can expand it across multiple business unit

Collaboration requires a purpose. Why do you have a wiki? Is it to easier share information is to communicate within a team.

You should learn by doing. It is cheap and easy to experiment. You should focus on smaller groups rather than the enterprise as a whole. Focus on empowering the particular office, or practice or team. You should focus on smaller groups to allow them to work in a way that works for them. But you do want to think globally and get the tools to share a common platform. (obviously Michael thinks SocialText offers a great platform.)

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