Not excited yet?

Over on the FASTForward blog there is a post from Bill Ives where he asks “is IT looking over it’s shoulder at web2.0?”. The question is in regards to whether IT are really embracing web2.0 or becoming a victim of this looser and ultimately cheaper operating model. There is one quote from this article stating “We’ve cut IT staff by 20%, and we’re providing a whole lot more in terms of IT services.?

When I first started evangelizing web2.0 /enterprise2.0 I was really eager to have the IT crowd as an audience, as I thought they’d be the first to get excited about this stuff. How wrong I was. Out of all the people I speak to and work with, it’s the IT folk who are the least excited about web2.0 use within a company setting. Even in my own IT department at the time there was only a handful of us who saw the potential in this new breed of tools. However, over time we did find some very supportive IT sponsors and supporters, and it was essential we did as working on web2.0 outside of an IT setting is very tough. Maybe the reason is that this ‘stuff’ doesn’t look like a classic solution to a classic problem. In many cases there is not much to build (if you exclude SOA etc), few need to be involved and classic system lifecycle development does not always apply.

So back to the matter at hand. Can embracing web2.0 really reduce costs and increase revenue? Well think about these examples:

  • You are a big company with a dedicated communications team who write and publish material to the intranet. What would happen if you reduced their publishing time and effort by providing a simple blog? And what if everyone in the company had a way to blog to a central news site? Even the ability to DIGG content they thought was valuable? What about the editing process of internal communications. How about you let the author have control of the message and engage on conversations, rather than pass it through several review cycles before publishing to a static page without the ability for the readers to comment?
  • In this big company you also have a team dedicated to rolling out training and help files to end users via a ‘training portal’. Content is authored, published to the training portal and reviewed at regular intervals by interviewing project teams and gathering user feedback. The material is then revised and re-published. How about placing all this in a wiki, and letting users add to and amend based on their own experiences with the system/process being used. Living and evolving training material in the wiki alongside all other system/process related information, and editable by anyone.

I’m not saying the (two random) examples above will necessarily save money/cut staff, but they would shake things up a bit and turn current models on their head. If nothing else it would cause current roles to be re-purposed and revised to facilitate and nurture this new user contributed model.

BTW, I originally missed the post from Bill, as I’m behind on my RSS feeds due to workload and a whole bunch of other stuff that’s been keeping me away from my laptop. However, as a testament to the power of web2.0 behind the firewall, I picked up a link to the post from the front page of the social bookmarking tool we implemented only a couple of months ago. Thanks for the link Bruce ;)

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2 thoughts on “Not excited yet?

  1. Marcel de Ruiter

    Hi Scott,

    Nice to see your experiences with IT people being exactly the same as mine. I must admit though that I may have had too high hopes for them to be the real early adopters in the first place.

    Then about your examples. These are exactly the corporate functions that may see their world evolve by the introduction of the new collaboration and social tools. Bear in mind though, that some real mindset changes are involved here, to consider, let alone accept, a new way of working (oh dear I sound like a MS guy…)! I am currently witnessing that in my company, like you are in yours, from the front row.

    Best regards,

    Marcel

  2. slgavin Post author

    Yes Marcel, it sounds like your experiences are much the same as ours. It`s the change piece which is the most challenging. Especially for the type 1.0`s!

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