Enterprise 2.0 Camp: Anthony Williams

I’m at Enterprise 2.0 Camp today, and Anthony Williams is the first breakfast speaker. He’s giving the Wikinomics lesson in short — how we’re undergoing an economic transformation because of the collaborative nature of value creation that’s happening due to both Web 2.0 internet applications and social networking principles being introduced into the enterprise. He covers the four basic principles: peering, openness, sharing and acting globally; since I read the book fairly recently, this is all still pretty fresh in my mind and it’s great to hear it from the author.

I like his discussion of openness, where he shows the move from companies hiring all their own talent internally, to outsourcing of some business processes, to a true open market for talent. This is a critical area of overlap between BPM and Enterprise 2.0, since BPM has been enabling business process outsourcing and will continue to be a key technology for supporting an open market: if you can find a grope outside your organization, whether local or a half a world away, that has superior skills to deliver some aspect of your business process, you need to be able to easily include them in your value chain. He also talks about organizations creating an ecosystem for others to add value to their base products: everything from SalesForce.com’s AppExchange to Facebook’s new application platform. In some cases, there’s a more active collaboration with other companies; in others, it’s the prosumer doing their own thing and giving it back to the community.

He talked about Science 2.0 in the context of sharing, with the Human Genome Project and other similar projects pooling data and computing power. Open source development also falls under the sharing part of wikinomics, with companies like IBM contributing developers to Linux development that is turned back to the community. It’s not completely altruistic: a more robust Linux community benefits IBM because they sell more hardware and services to run it on, and the amount that they contribute to Linux development is about 1/10 of what they would spend developing and maintaining an equivalent proprietary operating system (say, OS/400).

Williams described how to get started with Enterprise 2.0 internally, through the use of internal blogs and wikis, which put me in mind of the Avenue A|Razorfish intranet wiki that I heard about last week at the PCC conference. It’s a good way to get people used to the concepts, while at the same time working out the governance issues before any of this information is exposed on the public internet.

Tom Purves put today together mostly as an unconference, with a few minor changes: first, there’s some “name” speakers at breakfast, and second, we all had to pitch in $50 for the day, but we’re at the Toronto Convention Centre so I wouldn’t expect that we’d be getting everything for free. Still a great deal, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the day.

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