During the 90s, when I was tracking the IT services market, there was a continuous blurring of roles and activity between Management Consulting firms, Strategy firms, and good ole’ IT services firms. IBM had IBM Consulting, CSC had CSC Index, EDS bought A.T. Kearney— throw in a few strong boutiques, and they all competed against McKinsey, Booz Allen and Bain. It got really wild during the dotcom run-up toward the late 90s, as web 1.0 approached because a lot of these guys left the security of these large firms to run start-ups. Looking back, there was one reason these guys made good candidates to run web startups– they spoke the CEO’s language. They could persuade and convince a board room to make a “bet your business” proposition. Now luckily, not a lot of F500 CEOs made decisions they couldn’t undo based on dotcom disasters, and most of the well-healed consultants went back to their high billable rate profession after the bubble had burst.
I’m writing about this today because I’ve participated recently in two events on adoption on Enterprise 2.0. One was a live event in NY which drew mostly a financial services audience and one was a webinar with approximately 50 callers participating. Today, I’m writing from my room at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Naples, Florida (pictured left) where I’m about to attend a few social events with CEOs who are looking for answers about this new wave of Internet disruption or opportunity– as the case may be. I promised not to flack here about BSG, but we did make a terrific acquisition this week which gives us the privilege of bringing this story to the executive suite of some of the most well known brands in the world. You can read about goings on at BSG on a blog I’ve started here. I have to admit, frankly, the chance to evangelize on the next generation web to customers like American Airlines, British Telecom, Deutsche Bank, DaimlerChrysler, DuPont, ING Bank, Johnson & Johnson, Marriott, Merck, Pfizer, Rolls Royce, Royal Bank, and Shell gives me goosebumps– even in the hot Florida sun.
Even though we speak a lot in the blogosphere about the user-generated, collaborative, self-service benefits of social media and enterprise 2.0 technologies– the radical, cultural, enterprise-wide transformation we’re looking for is going to have to come from the top of what are still hierarchical organizations. And for that discussion to begin, the best tool we have today, may be the same tool that has worked for decades– the golf ball.