This post is a little parenthesis in my little series of posts ‘From KM to E2.0’. The second part of which should come in a few days …
Several reading and a conference I attended not too long ago lead me to the thinking that many people are mixing two concepts which are indeed close but definitely apart; ‘Web 2.0 being used by companies’ and ‘Enterprise 2.0’
The usual reaction when you start talking about implementing the E2.0 concept is « I don’t want my employees to send their time on Facebook! »
This reaction is a typical telltale of somebody who mixes up the two concepts, and does not fully understand what Web 2.0 is all about.
So let’s first look at what the Web 2.0 is really.
Wikipedia tells us that:
Web 2.0 is a term describing changing trends in the use of World Wide Web technology and web design that aims to enhance creativity, secure information sharing, collaboration and functionality of the web. Web 2.0 concepts have led to the development and evolution of web-based communities and its hosted services, such as social-networking sites, video sharing sites, wikis, blogs, and folksonomies.
So basically, the Web 2.0 is the web that allows people to participate, exchange, connect, ….
First conclusion, Facebook is not the Web 2.0 by itself, there’s much more to it!
This being said, some of your employees (or even, some will say, all your employees) should spend some time on Facebook, but for professional reasons only, i.e. representing your company and engaging in conversations with customers. Of course, if none of your customers or partners are active on Facebook, there’s little to gain from having your employees to be there during their working time.
In fact, as a company, you do have a lot to gain from your employees’ networks, but I do not believe that Facebook is necessarily the social networking platform that will allow you to best tap into your peoples’ networks. LinkedIn, Viadeo, Xing and the likes are of course a far better choice for that.
Other Web 2.0 tools that a company could / should consider using are:
– a (corporate) blog: that will allow them to communicate towards their customer base while giving them the right to react (comment) to the messages and therefore start the discussion
– Photos and Videos Sharing sites, such as Flickr, YouTube, DailyMotion, …: that will allow you to show your products more easily than with an e-mail with limited attachment capacity
So what I’m saying is that the tools of web 2.0 can / should be used by companies, but as a communication media, and as such this practice must be integrated in the company’s communication plan. The only exception being the use of professional social networks that fall more into a productivity enhancing type of tool.
Enterprise 2.0 is something different!
The basic idea behind E2.0 is that there is more in two heads than in one, and that your workforce knows a whole lot of things that could be useful to the company if shared as part of ‘conversations’ … i.e. you should try to implement a culture of knowledge sharing in order to foster creativity and reactivity.
And in this regard, the web 2.0 tools can be of great help if installed within the firewall:
– blogs are a great way of communicating and recording information. Since anyone can subscribe to it, you don’t have to worry anymore about who you should copy in this email you’re sending about a new product from competition, …
– Whenever a file is attached to an email being sent to more than one person, a wiki will be more flexible, more up-to-date, more interactive.
– Storing in one big ‘basket’ all the information sources so that anyone in the company can use them is what social bookmarking will allow you to do
– Your company is very large with many people of various profiles? You work with many partners spread geographically and who seldom meet? A Social Network will help you knowing who’s who, and more importantly who can do what …
Of course, you could (should?) grant access to these tools to some of your customers and/or supplier and partners. This would allow you to increase the size of your knowledge pool, and could be a way to increase you customer retention rate since they will feel much more involved with you than with competition!
The web 2.0 tools should be used by a company as a communication tool in order to get in touch with the community of their customers, while the Enterprise 2.0 tools are collaborative tools that will help employees to work more efficiently.
And while I’m at it, Marketing 2.0 is also entirely different … I might come back to it in a future post …