Some confusion over the Enterprise 2.0

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Many years and events have passed since Tim O’Reilly set the bases for the Web 2.0 at a conference in 2005, where he and other speakers outlined the key features of the Web 2.0.

At that time, the Web 2.0 was defined as a series of Internet applications and pages that used collective intelligence to provide online interactive services.

The Web 2.0, among many other features, continues to be characterized by:

  • It enables collective intelligence
  • The effects of the network are highly visible
  • Information is the next revolution
  • It marks the end of software obsolescence
  • Lightweight and easy programming and business models are key features
  • Software has gone to being a device
  • Users seek rich experiences
  • The whole is greater than the parts
  • The value of a group created on the networks increases exponentially, and therefore its implications are profound.

When the Web 2.0 started to be considered a serious phenomenon, the US business schools came on the scene and started to perform some case studies, and in 2009 the term Enterprise 2.0 was coined with the publication of Andrew McAfee’s book. McAfee, Harvard University professor, defines the Enterprise 2.0 as the use of emergent software social platforms within companies, or between businesses and their partners, using social technologies (social software or social computing) in order to enhance collaboration and make business processes and flows more productive. These tools are part of a platform that can be understood by anyone in the company and last over time. They convert the task of knowledge into a wider, permanently visible experience.

In some cases, it has been understood as a way of experimenting with new applications. The Enterprise 2.0 concept is much wider, as it deals with managing the company in collaboration, resolving business problems through collaboration, and achieving business results through collaboration. In his book Enterprise 2.0, McAfee makes it clear that new technologies are much more than a socializing part of the organization and that when they are applied intelligently to solve business problems, they help capture information that is scattered within the organization, converting it into knowledge that transforms quickly, generates and refines ideas, and finally brings the wisdom of the community.

Many organizations confuse this term and often label themselves as Enterprises 2.0 when really they are experiencing evolutionary changes in their business models. For example, the sales of a company reached a higher call percentage via a call center. Due to the evolution of the markets, the changes in the customer behavior, and the implementation of a powerful online platform, the organization then started to change its business model towards online commerce. In this case, the evolution towards an e-commerce model can result in the implementation of collaborative technology and organization 2.0 models, but not the opposite.

Mari Carmen Martín is a trained Industrial Psychologist and expert in HR. Currently she works for Cloudtalent, a company of the Humannova group, where she is responsible for creating personal branding programs for executives and professionals.