Enterprise 2.0 is people-centric IT

Tools

Making the case for enterprise social tools can be difficult. The knee-jerk reaction goes something like this: "Why give employees one more thing to interact with?"

To many chief executives and financial officers, Enterprise 2.0 comes off sounding like a solution looking for a problem. But according to speakers at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Santa Clara, Calif., Enterprise 2.0 is less about a hard and fast "solution" and more about aligning employee needs with tools that will optimize human capital.

While technology is not a requirement for effective collaboration, it is the way employees are collaborating outside of the workplace, said Jonathan Schwartz, chief executive of Picture of Health, during a Nov. 15 keynote.

"The question, to me, for the enterprise is: Do you want to step in the way of the way people are actually interacting with the world, and give them a totally different experience once they walk through the doors? Or do you want to embrace how they're working today?" challenged Schwartz. "We don't need email to collaborate. But, man, it makes things a lot simpler."

In the past, enterprises grappled with information technology. Now, most companies have optimized their IT, said Rachel Happe, co-founder and principal of The Community Roundtable. People have become the weakest link, and enterprises must look at how they can optimize their people--this means closely examining employee connections.

"Do a gap analysis for your organization on what kind of relationships you have today. What kind of relationships you want, given your business goals, and how do I plug in social technologies and methodologies to get there?" suggested Happe, while speaking Nov. 15.

It's not good enough for technology to be usable, suggested Andy Wang, principal systems architect at Genentech. We need to think about how technology actually fits into people's lives and helps them succeed, he added. This ensures that enterprise social tools don't become that other thing for employees to interact with, but a tool for optimizing their time and the quality of their work. Enterprise 2.0 can breed innovation, said Wang.

"We need to change the way we think about ourselves as technologists. We're not just delivering solutions but also delivering a positive change we want to see around these technologies," said Adam Graff, senior manager of collaboration services at Genentech.

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