FASTforward: Blogger lunch panel

I sat in on the bloggers’ lunch and the great panel discussion about Enterprise 2.0 adoption challenges, featuring John Hagel, J.P. Rangaswami, Jim McGee and Bill Ives, and moderated by Paula Thornton.

It’s hard to eat and type at the same time, so my notes will be brief, but a few points came shining out of the discussion:

  • Resistance to adoption isn’t correlated with age, it’s correlated with position in the company: higher-level people are more resistant to bringing in Enterprise 2.0 technologies because it represents a democratization of content and a relative loss of power at their level. This was a blinding flash of light for me, since it explains a lot about why I, at the age of 47 and hence not the target demographic for most social networking, have so completely embraced social applications, and actively push their use in my customers’ organizations: as an independent consultant/analyst, I have no corporate hierarchy and therefore see the value without a filter of fear.
  • The names of social networking applications sound like something from Dr. Seuss, and we all feel a bit silly stating that we blog (as opposed to maintaining a reverse chronological online journal), or use a wiki (as opposed to a collaborative editing workspace). Seriously now, “blog”? “Wiki”? “Mashup”? Do we really expect stuffy enterprise executives to get past the names and see how the technology can impact their organization?
  • Adoption relies on familiarity with the technologies and methods of using social applications. Having people immerse themselves in the creation and/or consumption of blogs and wikis in the wild is essential to having them understand why this is important within their company.
  • The fact that these technologies are inexpensive (or even free) and quick to implement causes them to be discounted by executives who are used to spending millions on information management systems.

An important but often unexpected effect of Enterprise 2.0 is the emergent uses: users mash up data and functionality to create new content and applications that would never have been imagined by IT or management within an organization.

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