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Enterprise 2.0, a New Buzzword

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In the "do-over" spirit, the IT industry is eager to adopt a "2.0" of everything. We have seen Web 2.0, SOA 2.0 and now it is time to Enterprise 2.0. According to the Enterprise 2.0 conference:

Enterprise 2.0 is the term for the technologies and business practices that liberate the workforce from the constraints of legacy communication and productivity tools like email. It provides business managers with access to the right information at the right time through a web of inter-connected applications, services and devices. Enterprise 2.0 makes accessible the collective intelligence of many, translating to a huge competitive advantage in the form of increased innovation, productivity and agility.

A new post by Andrew McAfee tries to explain Enterprise 2.0 describing several business problems and how Enterprise 2.0 based approaches help solving them.

Problem: How can we bring new hires up to speed as quickly as possible so that they become effective employees and stop bugging people with all their questions? Andrew gives an example of an office supply company which

... initiated a wiki in an attempt to capture what a new engineering hire needed to know.,, Within 18 months the wiki grew to contain over 11,000 pages placed into 600 categories, all of them generated by employees themselves rather than a professional knowledge management staff. It became a dynamic and up-to-date repository of the company’s engineering knowledge.

Problem: How can we accurately forecast how many units we’re going to sell? Andrew gives an example of a pharmaceutical company which

... asked a panel of scientists and doctors to predict regulatory decisions and new drug sales using Crowdcast, and they were more accurate than the company’s original prediction 86 percent of the time

Problem: Who can solve this scientific problem that’s got us stumped? Andrew gives an example of a clearinghouse for scientific problems and problem solvers, which posted descriptions of problems over the Web. According to the study 30% of 166 problems posted were successfully solved.

Problem: How can we serve our customers better and more cheaply? Andrew gives an example of an online community supplying answers online to customer questions about technical matters like how to set up an Internet home network or how to program a new high-definition television.

Problem: How can we connect the dots among all the pieces of potentially relevant information about terrorist attacks and other intelligence issues? Andrew gives an example of US intra agencies blogs and wikis which are

... already impacting the work practices of analysts. In addition, [they are] challenging deeply held norms about controlling the flow of information between individuals and across organizational boundaries.

Despite of heated debates all over the internet, it is a fact that social networks and open source approaches are no longer just for individuals, but are finding their way into enterprise. They have already showed their viability in many places, especially in information "crowd sourcing". The next several years will show how real Enterprise 2.0 really is and how much impact it is going to have.

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