Is the Enterprise ready for “Enterprise 2.0”?

I came up with this title before I really had an idea of what I was going to write. Something along the line of a trend I have been sensing lately about the bubble bursting, and various announcements of mergers, acquisitions, and partnerships. I kept reading to find the spark to get me started when I read Andrew McAfee’s post How to Hit the Enterprise 2.0 Bullseye. That got me thinking. My initial tagline supposes that the tools are ready, its just those stodgy old IT departments that need to get with the program. Now I am wondering if the reverse isn’t also true: Is E2.0 ready for the enterprise?

McAfee says that we should look back to previous work in sociology and other fields to help explain the value of social computing environments. He primarily points to the work of Mark Granovetter about the strength of weak ties. He is pointing out that so far we (E2.0 practioners and proponents) have not yet done a good job of explaining the value of social computing to the heads of our enterprises. He is providing a suggestion for how to do this by giving examples of how different types of relationships can be supported by different social computing tools. He points out that we need to understand what it is we want to accomplish before we jump in with the coolest new tool, just because it is new and cool.

As I write this I am reminded of Steve Rubel’s post a few days ago, The Web 2.0 World is Skunk Drunk on Its Own Kool-Aid. Are we getting too infatuated with technology for technology’s sake (or worst for money’s sake) and not really looking at what value we can bring to the table?

What this all amounts to in my mind is that only when the Enterprise 2.0 vendors really engage with enterprises and understand the realities of operating in a large enterprise environment, will we see a significant uptake of these technologies.

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