Mike Stopforth certainly started something with his wikipedia entry for Enterprise 2.0.
The debate about the validity of the entry makes for an interesting read, and it has given me a lot of insight into how wikipedia works. All that wisdom of the crowd business. For all the finger pointing at wikipedia, the process is transparent. My opinion of wikipedia is higher now than when it was first deleted.
If the entry is eventually removed, it will be after a through debate and discussion. Neologism is now something I have an opinion on. Dan Farber provides a good summary of the debate. Check out Crispy to follow how it develops.
Some of my “irregular” colleagues have asked you all to go out and vote for the wikipedia entry on enterprise 2.0. The choice of the word “vote” was inappropriate according the wikipedians, but their intent is a good one.
The important lesson I’m learning from all this is that the term itself is not that important. I’m not a great fan of anything labelled 2.0, it has the whiff of prefixing with an e, adding .com to a company name, or dropping vowels to seem trendy, but actually it is because someone else has the domain name you really would have liked. I’d much rather we had a different term, but for now, it is the best one we have. ( Peter Ripp has a funny take on 2.0)
For what? Well there is a shift happening in enterprise computing, and like any shift it is hard to define it when you are in the middle of it.
Andrew McAfee’s original definition focused on the use of freeform, social computing in the enterprise. In his words,
Enterprise 2.0 is the use of emergent social software platforms within companies, or between companies and their partners or customers.
Vinnie thinks this is too narrow, and we need to look at the changes beyond the impact of just “social computing.”
I’m not sure which definition I like. McAfee’s definition is more tangible, and allows for co-existence with other enterprise applications, Whereas Vinnie is talking about complete change of all enterprise applications – revolutionary stuff.
But here in starship enterprisey I think we are starting to get the message. There are new forms of computing emerging, and they are having an effect in the enterprise space. I’m looking forward to seeing HR applications do org charting based on social networks inside organisations, and the email torrent ebbing to a manageable flow as wikis and RSS take hold behind the firewall. But, like Vinnie, I see another change coming, bringing a new set of competitors, new technologies and new business models.
I’d like to see the Enterprise 2.0 term stay in wikipedia. It is in a way, a counterpoint to enterprisey, which does have an entry. The way for the term to stick around though, is for it to get more traction in the real world. Whether the term enterprise 2.0 has staying power is for the wikipedia gods and the neologism factories at the analyst firms to decide.
The forces that Vinnie and Andrew discuss though, are already tangible. Companies like Socialtext exist, and the tools that help build web 2.0 are being deployed behind the firewalls as we speak.
Jerry Bowles commented in the delete debate at Wikipedia.
Enterprise 2.0 is an important concept that is (not?) going to go away simply because it does or does not meet the Wikipedia gatekeepers’ criteria for inclusion at this time. It represents the most important and potentially disruptive business challenge since the advent of modern management
After all the SOA plumbing work of the last few years, I expect this big SAP elephant to start leading the charge.