Circles of Expertise in 2.0 for Biz

For a long while now, Jevon MacDonald and I have been grousing about how the different players involved in delivering 2.0 solutions to business can often be confused and misunderstood. We started working on a graphic, which I’ll happily “open source” for anyone’s input or for re-purposing. Just send me a note and I’ll invite you to the shared space we are working on at Vyew.

Generally speaking, there are primarily four logical groups with similar characteristics:

Digital Marketers: These are the good folks who track what you’re searching for and buying on the web. They create digital brand extensions of leading brands and develop imaginative ways to capture your attention online.

Social Media: This group comprises a vast group of players who are exclusively focused on how communications in the interconnected social web impacts influence. Predominantly, the people involved with monitoring social media are involved in marketing communications.

Enterprise 2.0: Within the Enterprise 2.0 area of expertise, whether it’s behind the firewall or out on the open Internet, this core area specializes exclusively on delivering a business value via 2.0 technologies.

Mass collaboration: This group is more symbolic of a new way of thinking about collaboration than any specific 2.0 tool. The notion of reaching outside of your boundary (whatever it is) to co-create innovative solutions is key here.

Although there is overlap among all these groups, the areas of focus are distinctly unique. Of course, businesses can benefit by incorporating the expertise from all these areas, but they’d need to source it separately.

A Year’s Summary of Personal Reflection II

It’s that time again when I feel compelled not only to wrap up highlights of the Enterprise 2.0 conference, but to divulge my thinking on where we are in the progression of widespread 2.0 adoption — in our personal lives and at work.

It’s hard to top my impassioned first post on this topic from last year: A Year’s Summary of Personal Reflection. Not only was I drinking the Kool-aid, I was mixing the powder and stirring the pitcher. Where last year I was overwhelmed with the newfound freedom that comes with social networking and collaboration, this year I’m focused more on the practical application of how these tools can drive productivity gains and measurable improvements in business performance.

This year’s Enterprise 2.0 conference highlighted several themes I’ve seen over the past year. 1. frustration, 2. abundance of choice, 3. breaking out of the echo chamber, and 4. dividends. Here we go:

Frustration Canyon

The frustration story comes from two directions ending in the same place. Atop one mountain, we have so-called “evangelists” (like me) who are frustrated with the slow pace of adoption in the ROW (the Rest-of-World who is not gung-ho for e2.0). The adjacent mountain has a crowd of interested observers that can’t see the landscape clearly, are somewhat intimidated by the pace of change, and question the utility behind the hype. In the middle is a canyon of confusion. During the latter half of 2008 and by next year’s conference, we should see this gap closing. As more case studies emerge, and more business cases get approved, the evangelists will no longer seem so freakish, and the potential buyers of e2.0 technologies will have settled into a sensible course of action to web-enable their workforce.

Rejoice in Choice

I caught up with Ismael Ghalimi recently who said he is tracking nearly 800 products in the Office 2.0 database. Agile development methods and low-cost cloud computing alternatives are turbocharging startup activity, breaking down time/cost barriers to product development and release. With the welcome addition of major enterprise vendors introducing 2.0 features and product suites, the choices are ever-abundant to start experimenting with these tools at relatively low and sometimes no cost. I was amazed at number of players I had never heard of at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference… and even more amazed at what they could demo. Standouts for me included Newsgator’s Social Sites, Trampoline Systems, Groupswim, Igloo, and Socialcast. The barriers to adoption may be steep, but the barrier to entry in this category is below sea level. Take some of these products for a spin.

The Echo (Prison) Chamber

Whether it’s Twitter, Friendfeed, Plaxo Pulse, blog posts, or the ever-languishing Facebook… the 1% continues to talk to itself and hone the global agenda for Enterprise 2.0. The goal this year is to do the hardcore missionary work and break out of the echo chamber. If you fancy yourself an e2.0 expert, start investigating industry trade shows (like retail, entertainment, banking, hospitality) where you can illuminate the non-converted. The blogosphere has spawned web celebs in various circles and enterprise 2.0 is no different. It’s important to remember that everyone tracking this space or participating in it is dwarfed by the number of people who don’t even know it exists.

And finally,

Lifetime Dividends

I may be taking a more sober, Realpolitik approach to 2.0 evangelism, but I’m still a die-hard believer. Through the pages of this blog, you can see how my life has irrevocably changed since I started tracking this sector. The reason my life changed so dramatically is due entirely to the rich, personal relationships I’ve formed over the course of a few years. I challenge everyone reading this blog to calculate the economic value of their own social network. Contacts and rolladex’s have been driving business for decades, but the deep, penetrating personal understanding we have for each other is unparalleled in modern history. In other words, relationships scale. With each new Twitter follower, with each new blog reader, I compound the likelihood I will achieve some personal or business benefit from simply connecting to a stranger. The 2.0 web begins and ends with people. Imagine the possibilities when everyone in the world is socially connected. That day is coming. I can only imagine it will yield a greater humanity.

Photo credits: (canyon) John Donahue, (night shot) Nosterdamus on Flickr.

FREE ITSinsider Pass to Enterprise 2.0 Conference

e2.0 confTechWeb is offering a free conference pass (at a $2200 value) for a lucky ITSinsider reader. All you need to do is post in the comments why you subscribe to/read the ITSinsider blog and why you want to go to the conference. Special preference will be given to an ITSinsider reader who adds me to your blogroll. 🙂

Of course, most readers are already going, so I’m not sure if I’ll get any takers here. If you’ve not signed up yet, and you didn’t win the ITSinsider free pass, you can still register and get $100 off by registering with this code: CMBMEB14 CMBMEB33. The pass is unlimited, so everyone can use it.  The demo pass gets you into see the keynotes and general sessions, launch pad, Enterprise20pen and various networking events.

Very happy to meet you in “carbon” as they say.

photo credit: Alex Dunne on flickr.

Splommenters– please “no comment”

Correction: Spammenters*

Shame, shame, shame. I realize Social Media is the new black in the art of PR, but how irritating is this? Tammy Erickson, our in-house workforce guru, published a post today on women’s progress in the workplace on her Harvard Business School discussion leader blog. Her first comment was from Ms. Kimberly Rosenberg who lavishes her with praise then notso deftly segues into how she is using Microsoft Office Live for Small Business (no hyperlinks intended) to increase her productivity.

I sleuthed around online on Ms. Rosenberg, and it appears she has left virtually the same comment on at least 4 other blogs in the past few weeks. Ewwww.

http://www.blissfullydomestic.com/2008/04/an-organized-ho.html

http://experts.internetbasedmoms.com/aurelia/finding-balance-as-a-wahm

http://www.entrepremusings.com/index.php/2008/04/24/why-arent-there-more-rich-women-entrepreneurs/

http://empowerwomennow.com/news-women-entrepreneurs/index.php/how-to-get-your-partner-from-zero-to-hero-in-your-business/

Microsoft Office Live for Small Business product management– what are you thinking? So blatant an attempt to hawk your wares? Buy an ad. There are right ways and wrong ways to engage the blogosphere. Please start feeding any number of the excellent social media blogs that will instruct you on how to do this right. If Ms. Rosenberg works for a PR agency, send her to social media school. Or send her to start doing some homework here (Chris Brogan) and here (Brian Solis).

The smoking gun:

splomment

*Update: Thanks to Lara Kretler, the best term to describe this practice is “spammenting.”

Boston in June… Enterprise 2.0 on the Waterfront

e2.0 signIt’s that time again, the hallowed Enterprise 2.0 conference is revving up for early June. I was pleased to work on the agenda this year with Steve Wylie, the conference organizer, along with other members of the advisory board. The conference is in its second year and promises to reflect the maturation that occurred in the space over the past 12 months. Although many first-time attendees to the conference will be new to Enterprise 2.0, the concepts and themes have evolved and been refined over the past 12 months. Three out of the four largest enterprise vendors are big sponsors this year (IBM, Microsoft, and Oracle.) I’m personally hoping we see relevant, interesting developments from these large vendors this year.

We are introducing two new ideas to the conference this year which I’m particularly excited about. The first is Stowe Boyd’s Launch Pad where four (whittled down from a larger number by votes) audience-chosen startups will have an opportunity to demo their products and compete for a winning spot for the best launch pad product/service. As there is such a torrent of new products coming onto the scene, this is a great attempt to filter out the most useful based on collective crowd selection. We are considering doing something very similar regarding sessions for September’s Office 2.0 conference based on the SXSW’s panel-picker software.

The second event, or maybe unevent I should say, is called Enterprise2Open. Modeled after “barcamps and unconferences,” this will be a half-day’s worth of unstructured Q&A and sharing hosted by Ross Mayfield. The unstructured, open-type of event has been popular for some time in the development community, but we thought we’d attempt to try it out this year with a non-technical audience. The format provides a no-hassle, informative forum to ask any and all of your burning questions related to Enterprise 2.0 and get answers from peers and folks in the community who may have experienced the same issues. You may want to consider getting your questions and topics suggested in advance by posting them to the Enterprise2Open wiki. You can actually be a presenter yourself, if you bring your own soap box. Just get yourself on the self-organized agenda. The entire session will run in the afternoon on Tuesday, June 11 from 1-4pm. nGenera is sponsoring the event, so I’ll be there with a few of my colleagues and customers.

Speaking of customers, Rob Carter, CIO of Federal Express is giving the opening keynote. A group of us were in Memphis at Fedex’s central distribution facility in March where we heard Rob talk on 2.0 adoption. Rob sees himself as an evangelist himself for 2.0 in the enterprise. I’m really pleased he accepted the offer to keynote on Tuesday morning. One of the conference themes this year is accelerating user adoption. Having notable icons from the F500 executive board room will go far to lower the barriers of trial and experimentation with 2.0 alternatives.

e2.0 demo pavillionI’ll be at the conference from Sunday to Wednesday. I hope to see many of you there. Please drop me a note or a comment here to let me know if you’re attending. Many thanks to all the folks on the panels I helped arrange.

Photo credits: Jeckman on flickr and Alex Dunne on flickr.

What’s your nGen Era Story?

BSG Alliance, my employer, changed its name to nGenera (en-gen-ER-a) this week. I really like the new name and logo. Because we’ve grown so fast (acquiring 5 companies in less than a year), it was important to mash-up all the humans under one single identity and brand.

I’m sure someone in my company will correct me if I’m wrong, but I think it was my idea to center on this meme we call “Next Generation Enterprises.” We kicked around a lot of strategic messaging ideas in the early days and this one stuck. Everyone and their half-brother is now moving into the space we scoped out about a year ago. Of course, we are ahead of the game and have a strong revenue story, so we can be smug for about 5 seconds.

The nGen meme comes to us by way of our in-house guru, Don Tapscott. Most readers of my blog should have already seen Don’s talk this year at one conference or another. I’m incredibly proud to be associated with the think-tankers up at Don’s research organization in Toronto. If you aren’t feeding the Wikinomics blog, today’s the day to start. Terrific bits of brilliance on the 2.0 scene come out of there on a daily basis.

We also have a deep and wide reservoir of expertise in the Talent arena with voices such as Tammy Erickson who is blogging on Harvard Business Online. One of the areas where we excel is pegging trends in the demographics of the workplace. Don refers to the cohort of kids who’ve grown up digital as N-Gens. In Don’s talk, he tells a story about how he thought his son was a prodigy when he was young, but soon realized all his son’s friends were prodigies too. They’re born digitally wired.

So it’s this particular slice of our nGenera story I want to focus on in this post– how different the “youngsters” are from us. This weekend I took my son and his friends to see “Shine a Light” the Martin Scorsese concert film of the Rolling Stones. I kid myself that just because I share an appreciation for 70s bands with my son, I’m cooler than my parents. I’m so not cool in his eyes at all.

I already blogged a while ago about how my son is a guild master on World of Warcraft, but the latest development came this year when his 6th grade teacher asked the class to take a keyboarding speed test. I remember taking typing in high school. A passing grade was 40 wpm, and it was tough for most of my peers to pass that test. My son Alex types 118 wpm with one error. He’s 11.

In the past month, Alex figured out how to use iMovie. He is now the neighborhood film director/producer/publisher. I am arranging for tutoring lessons so he can learn Final Cut from an nGenera GenY who works in our office. Like Don’s son, my son seems like a prodigy to me, but he’s just a normal nGen kid. He lives online. T.V. is a background noise if it’s on at all. He goes to school with his iPod, txts his friends with his phone, and IMs from his MySpace page most of the night, while surfing YouTube for skating videos.

Is Enterprise ready for my son and his friends? No. That’s my mission for nGenera: To make work like play so you can make more money doing what you do.

I’ll leave you with one of Alex’s videos. Taking a page out of Debbie Weil’s comment handbook, feel free to leave a comment for Alex. “No need to say you know me.” 😉

<a href="http://youtube.com/watch?v=C4OKzlEWKZQ&amp;hl">http://youtube.com/watch?v=C4OKzlEWKZQ&amp;hl</a>

What is your nGen story?