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.”   

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