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November 12 2010 Posted by: Mark Fidelman in: Enterprise 2.0

The Parent, The Crock and The Heretic

Diogenes the Cynic, from Diogenes Laertius' Li...

Image via Wikipedia

The truth is, in every industry, across every culture there exists the cynic. The cynic tends to operate with a sense of longing, an emptiness.  Something isn’t being filled in their lives. 

Perhaps in business they’ve suffered terrible wounds. Wounds that rarely heal and can only be treated.  Unfortunately the cure tends to be the desire to scoff, to detract, to doubt others.  But even these measures are only temporary relief.   It lasts only as long as the anarchy it creates. 

Yet cynics are incredibly useful.  Useful for their objections and insight.  They possess both the mind and the initiative to voice their discontent. 

For me they unwittingly assist to better my story.   The very real story of how Enterprise 2.0 solutions help solve very real business issues. 

Enterprise 2.0: The Prodigal Parent

First, like the others depicted here, Martijn is an incredibly gifted communicator.  As an ex-CapGemini Enterprise Integration Architect Martijn probably has more insight than most people in the E2.0 space.  Yet, the focus of his article is divisive. 

Taking a page from the Howlett school of divide and conquer, it’s designed to point out the inconsistencies of those that are promoting a tool centric approach to E2.0/Social Business versus a people/process approach.  My answer to that is ‘Yes’.

‘Yes’ sometimes it’s better to lead with tools and ‘yes’ sometimes it’s best to lead with a people or process approach.  All work (and don’t work).  The answer lies in the situation you find yourself in.  As importantly, you need to understand how people, process and tools impact each other within your organization’s culture.  Then decide how to lead an E2.0 initiative.

Note: More thoughts in Linssen’s comments

Enterprise 2.0 is beyond a crock. It’s dead

Dennis’s timing is impeccable.  So are his arguments.  Pretending to play referee he gleefully points out inconsistencies from Dion Hinchcliffe and Andrew Macafee.  Yet I view the space as evolving.  It’s healthy to challenge the status quo and change minds. 

Sure Management is still fearful of these new social tools and they do feel like they’ll lose the anachronistic command and control structure.  In fact some of the more old school C-Suite squatters will only give up power when as Charlton Heston said, “…when you take it from my cold, dead hands.”  Well he too died.     

While the industry is making mistakes, we are also learning from them.  Perhaps we haven’t crossed the chasm (Isaac Garcia argues we have), but there are enough real ROI case studies to justify further investment by my customers.  In fact most make additional investments precisely because they showed ROI with the first one.  I doubt I am alone.

Heretical Thinking: Enterprise 2.0 is Dead

I haven’t met Bob Warfield yet but I hope to.  His engineering and product background makes his case compelling.  But it also provides a limitation to what he deems as success.  Bob’s view is that design is the answer and that none of the E2.0 vendors have created a UX that won’t force the culture to change. 

The problem of course is that every culture is different.  Which means the UX must somehow magically decide on its own how to “fit” without disruption.  Sound realistic?

The fact is that technology and people have a symbiotic relationship.  Meaning, as Peter Drucker espoused, “Neither technology or people determines the other, but each shapes the other.”  Exactly.   

Warfield also suggests that ROI arguments have turned circular.  That was 2009’s argument.  Today, there are many organizations that have real quantifiable ROI and as a result are expanding the use of E2.0 solutions. 

“It’s Déjà Vu all over again” – Yogi Berra

It’s interesting to see how the E2.0 value/no value argument has evolved since last year.  The argument has moved from E2.0 is bunk to is it social business or Enterprise 2.0?

Personally, I vote for Social Enterprise Design (SED). It’s more descriptive and catchier than Social Business. Plus, as I’ve watched the space evolve; it has a certain ring to it.

Yet on second thought, Howlett offered the recommendation.  Perhaps it’s a set up for next June’s “It’s a Crock” post. 

P.S. Thank you Robert Lavigne and Michael J Ricard for the Diogenes reference

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