Last week I had the chance to join the Enterprise 2.0 Summit 2010 in Frankfurt. Thanks to Bjorn Negelmann and Cathrin Gill for this opportunity for me and Milos by the way. After two days of interesting presentations and use cases and inspiring discussions I had much input to think about. So I decided to write my thoughts and my new gained knowledge down.
How to Implement Enterprise 2.0 into Established Companies?
In most cases, Enterprise 2.0 will be implemented into existing and established companies, often with an old history and a well known corporate culture which was developed over long periods of time. So implementing Enterprise 2.0 into such companies can be difficult. There might be resentments against this approach, maybe because the company failed like so many others in implementing the model of knowledge management not too long ago. But there can be other “fears“ too. Enterprise 2.0 changes the work behaviour of employees, it changes the role of mid-level management and the top-management; knowledge will be organized in another way. All these changes can lead to resentments in a company.
So what is there to do, to implement Enterprise 2.0 successful into a company?
First I want to say, that I don't have developed the silver bullet, so it's clear that this blog post is not a blueprint for implementing Enterprise 2.0, even worse, I'm pretty sure that there isn't and there never will be a blueprint for implementing Enterprise 2.0. That's because every company is different, like people are different and culture all over the word and within countries is different. So what we are talking about are basic ideas of an implementation process.
So, if it comes to implementing Enterprise 2.0 it is highly important to be aware of the whole approach, do not start Enterprise 2.0 because an opponent has started it successfully. Don't just do it, because it's the new Toyota way! At the beginning you have to be pretty sure what Enterprise 2.0 is about. Define your goals as early as possible!
The second important point is, to adopt Enterprise 2.0 to your business. Adopt it to your business culture, your corporate culture, your industry, your employees, your managers. As every company is different, every implementation might look a bit different at the end, too.
The third point is that you have to analyze the needs of your company and employees. After you know what is needed and wanted, it's relatively easy to detect which tools of the Enterprise 2.0 technology you will really need.
Just take the tools you need, don't go too far, it's better to start small and well arranged as trying to implement an "all-in one device suitable for every purpose" which will frighten your staff. So you can ensure that the tools and the overall structure will be understandable and usable for your employees. Furthermore you are able to develop this platform after your needs and the wishes of your employees.
Point four and maybe the most important one is the role of management and leadership. Surely it would be wonderful, if the whole implementation process of Enterprise 2.0 would be a kind of grassroot development. But to be honest, without any top-down strategy, there will be no implementation. Especially if you prefer a holistic idea of Enterprise 2.0, you need the top-management on board. It is necessary that there is support from the top-management and help of the leadership. The whole process must be supported and maintenance of the implementing process should be secured. And if this is accomplished, I'm sure that there will emerge a kind of grassroot development. People will recognise the will of management, making enterprise 2.0 work. This will motivate them to be part of this development and as more and more people discover the arising opportunities of enterprise 2.0, the more people will join this development.
So, let me finish here. This article should just be a starting point for further thoughts about an Enterprise 2.0 implementation process and for discussions which are really wanted and needed. Feel free to comment and share your opinions and thoughts!
written by Tobias Brenner