Enterprise 2.0 vs. Intranet 2.0

Enterprise blogging, wikiing, podcasting, and social bookmarking, within the confines of the enterprise, are powerful enablers of enhanced knowledge sharing and employee engagement.

When last I critically mused about the value of trendy buzz words and catch phrases and the next hype, Intranet 2.0, my musing turned out to be the most read article I’ve written on IntranetBlog.com (see Intranet 2.0).

Not to be outdone, Enterprise 2.0 is a buzz phrase that’s been around longer than Intranet 2.0. There are blogs and even a conference dedicated to Enterprise 2.0 (though I’m not cool enough to be included in either). And many more people cooler than I have mused openly about the value and coolness of Enterprise 2.0. At the risk of sounding bitter and like a kid who ‘missed-the-boat’ on the latest craze (think the comeback rage of Hush Puppies that came and went and still left me baffled and feeling extraordinarily uncool in my Basses), enterprise 2.0 is much the same as intranet 2.0 (note how I effortlessly and carelessly alternate between capitalized and non-capitalized versions of said buzz phrase) but potentially bigger (depending on which consultant or maven’s definition).

Blogging, wikiing, podcasting, social bookmarking – all within the confines of the enterprise, and usually on the intranet, possesses the power to make everyone’s life a little better, a little more empowered and informed, and a little cooler. Throw out your Sketchers and burn your tickets to the next MTV ‘unplugged’ show, there’s a new fashion sweeping the corporate world. Strip away my outwardly facetious tone and awkward outsider approach and you do have a trend, a means, a collaborative ecosystem and set of tools that could transform a poor or average enterprise into something that is good or possibly exceptional.

Motoroal is doing it. So is SimCorp, McDonald’s, IBM and reams of other hipster profit machines. Employees are blogging; executives are podcasting; the janitor is swapping urinal stain removal tips on the janitorial wiki. It’s so dam cool, collaborative and profitable! Sour puss aside, this stuff is good… and cool.

Proctor and Gamble (P&G) has drunk the enterprise 2.0 Kool-Aid too, the fully loaded Microsoft flavor (no Aspartame) using SharePoint. SharePoint is a juggernaut in the enterprise 2.0 sphere and P&G is using all the bells and whistles including instant messaging, presence, unified communications, web conferencing, etc. According to ITNews.com, “about 80,000 employees use Microsoft IM, and 20,000 have moved to Outlook. P&G has a few SharePoint sites running, and the major rollout begins in August.”

Is this important for your organization? Should you be embracing enterprise 2.0? Yes and no. Firstly, if you’re without a comprehensive communications plan, that includes a comprehensive intranet plan (intranet blueprint), that is well executed and managed, you have bigger priorities (this includes about 85% of all corporations, and a much higher percentage in the SMB universe). But whatever you call it, enterprise 2.0 or Intranet 2.0 or Bigger Profits 2.0, this stuff – blogs, wikis, podcasts, IM, etc. – is catching on. It’s not mainstream yet, but we’re sprinting there.

A recent CIO survey found that only 18% of organizations have deployed blogs, and only 13% have deployed wikis. This is changing however. More than 40% are testing, piloting or evaluating blog and wiki applications at the time of the survey. Just about everyone wants to rollout company blogs, wikis, etc. 'How' to deploy and use these tools is the issue most are struggling with.

Search is the glue

One of the problems with Web and Enterprise 2.0 is that the new media has fueled a content explosion. Our ability to create content far outsrips are ability to organize and retrieve the most important and relevant information in a vast universe of irrelevant soup.

“Like it or not, search is turning into the interface of web 2.0,” says Seth Gottlieb, founder of Content Here in his recent post Enterprise 2.0. “Search is the glue that ties together all those fun to use collaboration tools like wikis and blogs. The simple search box brilliantly hides all the PhD-class, post-doctorate algorithms and complexity that makes sense of a chaotic Web 2.0 world.”

In other words, if enterprise 2.0 is to be truly effective in your organization, you require a strong search strategy of which the search engine is only one component. People must be trained to categorize (tag) and store content properly, and they must be guided by the appropriate rules (e.g. taxonomy) and processes (e.g. content management and document management) to ensure search retrieval is effective. On the intranet, search is only one part technology, and one part people and process.

Of course, effective search is a pipe dream for most. For every organization that has a proper search strategy there are about 300 or 400 that don’t. Enterprise and intranet search is bloody awful. It’s really, really bad in the vast majority of enterprises. If more organizations were to train employees, and incent them accordingly (rewards and recognition), then information and knowledge storage and sharing would be far more effective.

“I think we can learn the most from Web 2.0 (more so than with the mechanics of blogs, wikis, and tagging),” adds Seth. “People out on the web want to publish and put in extra effort to get their contributions noticed. Maybe companies should create their own internal information economies that reward employees for creating content that other people want to read. Maybe reward for hits or positive votes or links toward.”

Enterprise 2.0 or Intranet 2.0 technology, regardless of the moniker, is here to say and will continue to spread more and more rapidly. But before you rush to adopt, you would do well to establish well documented communications, intranet and search strategies as the requisite foundation for future success.

Related reading:

Intranet 2.0: social media adoption

Intranet 2.0

Blogging the intranet

Should you blog the intranet?

Wiki the intranet

Intranet Report podcast

Social bookmarking the intranet

Case studies:

Podcasting the intranet at IBM

Podcasting @ IBM

Investment banker uses wiki for employee collaboration

Case study: PNM Resources CEO blog

IBM leads corporate blogging pack

Intranet case study: Intrawest Placemaking

The digital workplace (Verizon intranet case study)

The good and bad Of Web 2.0 tools (P&G case study)

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