One word as a focal point for change – Collaboration

Taking up my last post on the role of social software and collaboration technology in organizational change management (“Cultural change and developing collaboration capabilities“) I want to add Charlie Bess’ view on EDS’ Next Big Thing Blog. Here Charlie holds that collaboration is the focal point for change in 2008:

[collaboration] can be applied at many levels to the changes that are underway.

At the cultural level, we’re all familiar with web 2.0 and the collaboration across organizations it supports. Wikinomics states the view of collaboration between organizations, increases diversity of perspective enabling innovation and reaching objectives more quickly.

At the software level, the concept of SOA is based upon the collaboration between services, enabling clear separation between the interface and the underlying data, freeing up organizations to focus at a higher (more business oriented) level.

[…] Companies need to be more agile, moving from viewing change as a periodic disruption of the status quo to accepting continuous change as the norm. Information technology (IT) has an important role to play, since it enables agility through collaboration. IT needs to collaborate with the rest of the enterprise in meeting the business objectives, probably until it fades into the business itself.

It’s timely also that Josh Bernoff, co-author of Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies (blog here) was recently invited to the Harvard Business Review IdeaCast. Topic of the talk is “Be a Social Technology Provocateur”. Get the mp3 here, listen to it.

Makes me wonder – is there a place for a “consultant provocateur” to get enterprise social software going? Provocation is such a bad and naughty word. Well, sometimes it’s a necessary part of the consulting task/project at hand, smartly disguised as innovation consulting. But this works best when combined with the credibility and professional ethics that clients always need. Being pushy is a dumb idea. Bringing an outside-in perspective is a good start, and if let’s add smart questions, communication, promotion, explanations of best practices. So we can make friends and win inner-organizational allies etc. – even when we’re shaking the boat?

Marketing Enterprise 2.0

Thomas Otter offers some insight into SAPs experiences and implementation exercises with wikis (like at SDN). Yes, this is emergence in action, and yes it will probably fundamentally change how software is developed, supported and marketed.

But that he points out this post by Jeff Walker of Atlassian (“How to Ruin a Perfectly Fine Product with Marketing”) on the pros and cons of marketing is more important, because establishing these tools needs “marketing firepower” that Google and Microsoft can and will deliver:

[…] I do like both Microsoft and Google. Why? Because they are about to commoditize wikis for the masses and educate another 10 – 50 million people on wikis. In rather different ways. Wikis, which without doubt are one of the two killer apps to emerge from Web 2.0 Wonderland, along with blogs, will be spread and will benefit from the massive marketing budgets and reach of the Evil Empire and Do No Evil. (Jeff Walker)