Enterprise 2.0

I recently wrote an article for a magazine about Enterprise 2.0 and Web 2.0. My main focus was to point point out that these “movements” are much more than the usage of tools – they describe a new way of doing business! The organizational strucutre is affected by enterprise 2.0, it has an dramatic impact on designing the product, dealing with customers and employees and and and …

That is why I sometimes think that reviews like “Enterprise 2.0 Tools: Update on Descriptions and Reviews from 2007” by Bill Ives might be misleading! They just don’t cover the whole idea, it is only one part of the story.

I have an ongoing discussion with an entrepreneur whom I know for more than 10 years, actually I know him since he founded his company. In the last 3 years he started to “transform” his company (about 130 employees) into an Enterpise 2.0 company. He cut off hierarchy, he is still in the process of changing the corporate culture, he gives responsibility to his employees, he let them decide about the company’s strategy … It is not at all an easy way and it is not practicable for anybody, but what they see as a result is an increase of efficiency and speed in concluding a project, employees acting like entrepreneurs, they are taking responsibility and sharing their ideas of what might be best for the company!

So they are pretty far down the road to Enterprise 2.0. But there is still a way to go …. The following snippets of an Q&A will show you what it means if you are honestly thinking about Enterprise 2.0:

Q: You claim your company as an enterprise 2.0. Right? So, why do you deal with DRM instead of Creative Commons Licences?A: You bring up a valid point here. Actually, we are planning to provide both options to its customers. Up to now, DRM is mainly used and perceived as restrictive control of paid content. It has been and still is demanded by the majority of content producers as a prerequisite for nearly every content business.

Creative Commons is a promising option and alternative to licence content differently. It is based on trust, and we to add support for CC as well.

But DRM has its place as well, when used in the right way. We have build a highly attractive and fair content marketplace for mobile content in Japan using our DRM technology as an enabling technology for superdistribution and payment of content of hundreds to thousands of small companies.

I expect to see a number of other use-cases for our DRM technology as well. It has great value if you want to securely share your private content with your family or some of your friends, but not with all the other Internet users.

However, I believe that successful business models will have to be cooperative and fair regardless if Creative Commons or DRM is applied.

Q: Let’s look closer at the music industry – as one example.
DRM didn’t work out at all. Even the last ruins are falling apart (look at itunes and amazon). Why do you think other industries won’t go this way?
We already see in the entertainment industry (e.g. hollywood) the fraction of movies, content snippets …
DRM is a phase-out model and has nothing to do with 2.0.

Of course I do understand the money side of your thoughts!
But do you really think this goes along with a enterprise 2.0 philosophy?A: The question hasn’t been answered yet. As I wrote above, these are snippets of an ongoing process …

Q: You offer an CMS and you think about adding 2.0 features like blogs etc. to it. Why don’t you go “open social”?A: Another good point. I believe that Open Social and some related standards that still have to emerge will play a huge role in future enterprise software platforms. We are testing Open Social in detail and are evaluating different options for the integration.

But Open Social is not the only option. So we integrated Facebook and OpenID as well into our own platform.

Q: For me Open Social was a synonym for all the other “open” options as well. That’s why I put it in “”. What does this mean

a.) for your platform?
b.) for your business modell?A: The question hasn’t been answered yet. As I wrote above, these are snippets of an ongoing process …

Q: Does Enterprise 2.0 not necessarily means working or dealing with the 2.0 principles? If so, why?A: I thought about this quite a while. And I came to the conclusion, that it seems nearly impossible for an Enterprise 2.0 NOT to apply 2.0 principles to its products and services. If you work in a paradigm of collaboration and trust, it will be visible in your solutions.

However, there is more to discover here. It is all about finding the right balance between openness and control. The enterprise won’t exist without a supporting structure that enables all the self-organization.

Enterprises need to generate revenues to be able to exist. We for example get paid to provide security and trust to its enterprise customers. And trust need some kind of control as well. The Internet itself is a good example: The Internet Protocol is clearly defined. There is no “2.0” visible on this level. Bit because of this rigid protocol, all the great things are possible on top of it.

The same seems to be true for our Enterprise 2.0. We have to find the right setup / balance or however we may call it. It is a moving target, and we will see ever increasing openness, I support.

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