Re-Thinking Thanksgiving

During this season of thanksgiving, it seems right to share a link to a blog called “News from an Acorn“.  Take just a quick moment to open this link; for those too busy to read even one more thing, as the title suggests, there are NO WORDS, really there is no need for words.

Simply take a moment to listen to these photos with your heart and be grateful for all the many blessings you have in your life – both large and very small.  If you are someone that needs a few more words, click here to learn more about the child and artist (retired CIA disguise expert).

Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

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E2.0 – Because Users Matter

I just read the blog Enterprise software under attack posted by Elena Galitskaya .  In that blog, a Sr. VP of Infosys is quoted as saying:  “Enterprise software still doesn’t care about users. Its focus continues to be serving executives, rather than employees, because executives make buying decisions. Therefore, we see all the song and dance about BI and in-memory computing, while employees continue to suffer with terrible UIs and no options.”

This made me think a bit about comments made by our guest Leonardo from this past week in class.  One of the interesting stories he told was about use of E2.o software and a grassroots adoption effort proving its value before introducing it to the boss (and asking for approval).  I don’t remember if he said the boss would have rejected the idea or not, but I am sure if she would have, she would have only been following some established corporate policy for IT adoption/implementations within the firm.

When the executive leadership team takes the step to invest in a big $$ IT system – no body will to follow up by saying “aw, shucks – you found an E2.0 alternative that you can customize, adapt to work just right, and it costs $9.99/mo – sure, you go ahead and use it”.  Sadly, it becomes more important to save face for the leadership team, then to save the time, energy and frustration of masses under served by corporate IT and those that take them to sales lunches.

I am far from believing that E2.0 will solve all IT needs or problems facing industry; that said, one size  – one IT system doesn’t fit all, but if the only thing the enterprise software guy has to sell is enterprise software…you can bet that is the only game in town.  As for the users – well, they really just don’t matter, that is until they become CIO’s and begin writing the checks.

Enterprise 2.0 – New tools for IT or cultural change agent for the industrial masses?

I have just read Putting Ent.2.o into Context by Andrew McAfee and there were some interesting comments some of which came from Laurie Buczek.  Ms. Buczek seems to be getting at the heart of the issue regarding Ent 2.0 and industrial adoption when she touches on the notion of culture. For sure, nothing will drive cultural change like a total upset in the corporate tool kit;  have you ever witnessed an ERP implementation?  Often you will hear how poorly these implementations go with harsh comments about the capability of the software, the usability of the reports, and the lack of adequate training.   I would argue however that it is rarely the ERP implementation that is to blame so much as it is the ERP system which forces the uncovering of all the rogue processes, unwritten corporate rules, and tribal knowledge that operate in a latent fashion until disturbed from its “natural state”.  To add insult to injury, the users feel subjected to the system design whims of the IT department that drive the radical operating changes.  

In reflecting on how  “Ent 1.0” implementations like this affect the corporate culture, it made me think about Ent. 2.o more deeply.  Ent 2.0 presents a bit of a paradox.  Consider for a second that in most firms the IT group/dept is the last bastion a silo’d organization that accepts little feedback or input; as a user -you are forced to take what they give you.  Imagine now the cultural change Ent. 2.0 represents for those who hold all the control (the IT Group).  Not only will they lose control, but worse yet… the users get to decide what to use, when and how to use it, and can change and reconfigure it on a whim!  How cruel this seems that the tools of the IT world could be turned against their very kind.  On the other hand, no longer can the masses blame the IT group for the lack of adequate tools, resistance to implement new options, or the absence of training.  The industrial USERS carry the burden to incite Ent. 2.0 use and make Ent. 2.0 effective within the business….(or not)….  not leadership, or heaven forbid the IT group.

So, Ms. Buczek I totally agree with your words, “Culture will change as a result of the pervasive use of social tools.  Lack of cultural change is not social business’s biggest failure.  The biggest failure is the lack of workflow integration to drive culture change.”