I’ve had time to sit back and digest the great many discussions, meetings, and ideas circulating at this year’s excellent Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston, just over a week ago. For just about everyone I spoke with, there was a consensus that this was a special event this year and the industry has hit a new level of maturity. This was evident by the proliferation of vendors, major client-side success stories such as CSC’s presentation on how they achieved over 50,000 registered internal users of their social community, and the 2.0 Adoption Council’s outstanding all-day workshop of customer stories with concrete lessons learned about planning, advocacy, adoption, community management, ROI, and much more.
As I recently pointed out, it’s not hard to see why this is happening now: the writing is on the wall and the consumer world has driven much of this change to the extent the social is now essentially the dominant model for communication globally, at least on the Web. Social as the driver for business activity is still usually not the case in the enterprise, but it’s now clear that too will soon change.
Here were some of the largest take-aways for me and what I saw at the event:
Designing Enterprises for Loss of Control
British Telecom’s CIO JP Rangaswami gave a thought-provoking keynote that was notable for the lack of slides (instead, a real-time social media stream was produced live, alongside) as well as for putting forth the concept that enterprises boundaries are increasingly blurring with the greater network and that businesses must start getting good at “designing for loss of control.” This topic has long been discussed in Enterprise 2.0 circles and many of us already realize that the shift of control from institutions to communities of individuals has been long underway, yet it was only at the conference this month that there seemed to be ready understanding and acceptance of this concept in a mainstream way. While we’re still learning exactly what it means to design for loss of control, particularly in the enterprise, it’s readily in the spirit of social software with its general lack of barriers to participation or preconceptions about how people should come together and build value on the network.
Enterprises Are Going Social
If the presentations at the opening day’s 2.0 Adoption Council customer workshop weren’t convincing enough, many of the presentations later on in the week were impressive. While most organizations worldwide now have social software in some form, at least departmentally, the deeper and wider use of Enterprise 2.0 strategically, across all stakeholders (customers, partners, and workers) is still emerging in most organizations. While this is leading to more sophisticated and mature discussions, such as the one around Social Business, extrapolating from the 200 organizations already participating in the council is sobering and I predict the data for 2010 will show that around half of all organizations globally had an internal enterprise-side social media strategy created to guide efforts across their business units.