Enterprise 2.0 fear factor: Overcoming risks, uncertainties and doubts

There are risks associated with adopting any new technology, and Enterprise 2.0 is no different. Enterprise 2.0 holds the promise of dramatically increasing business productivity, stimulating greater innovation, and creating tighter connections between employees, as well as with partners, suppliers and customers. While these technologies and other social networking softwares are facilitating knowledge sharing, accelerating team communications, fostering increased collaboration and online communities creation, many executives are recognising their value but worry about losing control of information, compromising sensitive data, opening their networks to security breaches or even exposing employees to time-killing “network noise”.

Liability for potentially illegal activity involving workers, risk of malware infections, bandwidth constraints and other drop-offs in employee productivity are obvious reasons why the “open social Internet” just goes against the instincts of many Chief Information Officers.

It is also true that employees using these systems for group collaboration, usually operate outside the approved IT applications, meaning they aren’t actually subject to enterprise policies governing compliance and information protection. It is obviously a challenge for any IT professional to give up control over the IT systems they depend on. As Enterprise 2.0 is decentralised and ad hoc, control is in the hands of users rather than the IT department …

BASF report on Corporate Blogging

Klaus EckeProfessional blogger, expert and consultant Klaus Eck from Munich makes an announcement for a forthcoming business breakfast with BASF (a client of his) in which a report will be presented by authors Michael Scheuermann and CheeChin Liew. In this report, its authors are said to describe how to make the round peg of 2.0 collaborative communications fit into the square hole of Corporate structure and rules. I hope that Klaus will make this report (said to be written in both German and English) available soon.

To put it in the words of Klaus’s, this is certainly a very thorny issue. May take this opportunity to urge to read (or read once more) my post on the 15 Golden Rules for Web 2.0.

Unleashing the power of remote collaboration & virtual team management

When thinking about factors that distinguish top performing companies, the root of their success often can be traced to the human equation. But how many companies are able to tap more than a fraction of their workforce potential? How many are able to take advantage of latent talents, ideas and contributive strengths waiting to be switched on? How many are able to unleash the power of remote collaboration & virtual team management? The companies that find the means to use a larger fraction of their human resources will undoubtedly supersede their competitors. That is their edge in the global economy.

With increased globalisation, virtual leadership has started gaining a strong foothold in recent times. As the workplace evolves, the techniques for managing employees are changing. Today’s leaders and managers are faced with a different set of challenges for managing employees who work in various locations across the globe or telecommute. Managing in the virtual environment can be quite a daunting undertaking.

The biggest challenge with remote collaboration & virtual team management is actually to maintain quality and productivity across all participants, despite the physical and cultural distance. Other associated issues are operational. Indeed, you do need to ensure that everyone is working on “the same project”. Social issues may also come into play: If the teams adopt an “us versus them” mindset, they might well wind up working at cross-purposes. All these challenges may finally be exacerbated by time zone and language differences that make collaboration and real-time communication even more difficult.

Advances in information and communications technologies have enabled businesses to become truly global in scope. There is an abundance of technology available today for collaboration. However, a company’s culture and processes that encourage people to share work in a productive manner are central to effective collaboration.

So how are top performing organisations avoiding the many pitfalls of remote collaboration & virtual team management and what are the key to success for adapting to this complex and ever-changing working environment?

social networks used as back-doors by scammers for online fraud

in a Wall Street Journal article entitled Web Scammer Targets Senior U.S. Executives is an amazing account of a Mr Stewart’s chase for the uncovering of a Romanian scammer, complete with his extraordinary biography (a guy who 15 years ago was mopping the floor in McDonald’s restaurants and had barely a dime and couldn’t even buy a computer, and has now become a world leading expert in computer security). In the article, Mr Stewart explains one phase at a time how he was able to retrace the steps of a scammer named Raynor, despite the decoys the latter had deployed in China. Unfortunately, the chase is not over, and Raynor is still on the run.

But this article is also very interesting for another reason. It describes how the scammer did get important information from top executives from online social networks like facebook or linkedIn. This poses a very serious threat to the development of Web 2.0/3.0 and collaboration on the Internet. Collaboration/wikinomics imposes transparency, whereas security is just the other way round. If harmful wrongdoers are using social networks to gain important information and then compose very elaborate phishing scams to steal personal details and money from senior executives, the latter will eventually cease to use social networks to exchange data in a transparent manner.

Unfortunately, I think it must be very hard to prevent such things from happening since there is virtually no sure way of ascertaining the authenticity of personal details in such social networks sites. Lastly, the article gives important information regarding the categories and the percentages of data which is stolen online (see diagram).


15 golden rules for Web 2.0


This document was originally designed to address the questions which were sent to me by large customers wanting to launch web 2.0 initiatives. Very often these clients wanted to jump on the bandwagon, but they didn’t know how to do it. They required help and guidance, even to understand the very meaning of Web 2.0.

Evaluating what should be done as part of such Web 2.0 initiatives with large organisations implies that we rethink the definition of Web 2.0 (see O’reilly’s 2.0 meme map to start with). An exec summary of this definition is provided hereafter. More than often, we have noticed that the main motivation for large corporations to jump on the bandwagon is to keep up with the Joneses.

In this document we will describe the main principles and the main reasons why you should or should not opt for a Web 2.0 initiative. Large corporations are getting increasingly interested in launching 2.0 initiatives. To a certain extent we can relate that to the fact that an increasing number of success stories are relayed by the press and that most of them are related to impressive buzz marketing operations, which are seemingly easy to replicate. The entire world is full of the concept of Web 2.0, so the idea is often not to miss the opportunity to do something about it. All of this is very tempting and hard to resist. However, companies should never launch 2.0 websites just for the sake of it.

Indeed, it requires a lot of forward thinking about what one is trying to achieve and how it fits in the overall strategy. To a certain extent what we are witnessing today with Web 2.0, is not very far from what we have witnessed in the 1990s, when large corporations wanted to launch their first websites. More than often, the same question prevails: that is to say, is this website going to support or jeopardise my brand.

how can you tell a website is 2.0-ready?

There are several characteristics of Web 2.0, which we have described hereafter:

  • human characteristics
    • Collective intelligence: this is a concept which was developed by Howard Rheingold. This concept implies that when a group is cooperating, the result of this cooperation is stronger than the sum of all the contributions from all the individuals which are part of this group.
    • The user is the producer: With Web 2.0, users are also producers not just spectators. Web 2.0 sites are definitely alien to advertising and communications. Ignoring that and pursuing the old habit of delivering pre-formatted top-down product-orientated messages would be a non-starter.
  • functional characteristics:
    • RSS: RSS is more than just a feature, it is has a real functional impact on user behaviour. RSS (real simple syndication) enables users to receive information without having to make any effort to collect it. The use of RSS feeds imposes that the user installs a feed reader. More and more these the readers are integrated within the Internet browser or within the Internet toolbar (Google, Yahoo, etc.). The exponential development of RSS is at last making it possible to push information towards the user as was originally designed at the end of the 1990’s.
  • technical characteristics:
    • thin clients, light programming and mash-ups: the basic idea is that Web 2.0 websites can be built very rapidly by using existing objects or even objects and pieces of code or data drawn from existing websites. These existing websites can also be external. A typical mash-up example is that of websites which use Internet maps (mainly from Google), in order to make geo-localisation possible.
    • The web as a platform: this is the recycling of the ‘old’ (2000+) asp concept (application service provision). The idea is to use the network as a repository, and to avoid thick clients (see previous paragraph).

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