I was recently asked what are some of my top business benefits of implementing Enterprise 2.0 tools. Here are three.
1. Personal Information/Knowledge Management
Until recently how did individuals inside an organization manage their own information and knowledge? Well without having access to an official KM tool (which most don’t) they use email, their C:\drive and in some cases network file shares. Now, with many E2.0 offerings the first way a user gets benefit from a tool is to manage their own information. Think of social bookmarking tools, you first use it to store and retrieve your own bookmarks, then discovering other peoples contributions before finally contributing (with intent) to networks or topics of interest. The same is true for wikis, and as I saw at Pfizer the first use people get value from is creating pages for projects they are working on to organize their own house before contributing to the community. When we started selling the solution I part represent we called this ‘Personally Essential, Collectively Critical’, meaning that a tool should first satisfy the need of an individual (which in turn aids adoption) before leveraging network effects to become crucial to the organization.
2. Expertise Identification
One of the top benefits of leveraging E2.0 solutions I often quote is that of finding the experts inside (or external to) the company. Historically if you worked inside a large organization and wanted to find someone who was an expert in, say, the IT aspect relating to acquisitions, you would first look at the company phone directory or person listing. You’d try and find someone who indicated they worked in acquisitions or a related department and would have to rely on what their job title says. Or you might ask around to see if colleagues knew anyone with this particular expertise. The problem is that a persons job title does not necessarily reflect their real work involvements, expertise or interests. The same is true for LinkedIn in many respects. If I wanted to I could change my job title to Technology Director for E2.0 for ACME INC and start fielding inquiries from around the world. Just because my job title is XYZ it doesn’t necessarily reflect reality. Now enter E2.0 tools for the enterprise and you are quickly able to tie people to content and people to people. After time you are able to identify people related to a topic or function not by job title alone but by their real life interactions. Surely this is a BIG reason to implement E2.0 especially for large, diverse organizations.
3. Collective Intelligence
Often misunderstood and sneered at after being a term overused by KM consultants over the years, collective intelligence is my third capability enabled by E2.0. Collective Intelligence is a product of both personal (but open) information/knowledge management and expertise identification. By opening up an organization’s content, user defined networks and interactions you get to both feel the pulse of the company knowledge but also access it on demand for specific topics and queries. All it takes is the correct implementation and integration of the various competence of E2.0 tools to create this ‘virtual brain’ of the company.
There are more, but these are near the top of my list.