Book Review: Enterprise 2.0

7 07 2010

I just finished reading Enterprise 2.0, New Collaborative Tools For Your Organization’s Toughest Challenges by Andrew McAfee.  A very interesting book and especially worth reading if you are interested in:

  • Enterprise use of Web 2.0
  • Non-Marketing use of Web 2.0 within an enterprise.  A lot more has been written about the marketing side to date. This book talks about how to boost productivity and leverage the collective wisdom of the masses to produce better results.

There is a lot more in this book than I can hope to fully cover here but one of the core ideas is the concept of the “tie-strength” of the various network ties we all have at work.  In the book and in his live talks McAfee talks about the types of challenges to collaboration that exist at every level.  He also talks about what types of Web 2.0 tools can best facilitate collaboration at each level of network “tie strength.”

What is really interesting is that he shows that there are tools for each level but that the challenges are different at each level as well.  I think most people are clear on how collaboration tools help in small workgroups that have high tie-strength.  Where it gets much more interesting is how to benefit from collective intelligence when the tie-strength is “potential” or “none.”

Also, to make the discussion less theoretical, he offers for concrete business case studies that happen to tie directly to each of the levels of tie-strength.  That is very useful.

McAfee has spent a lot of time working with enterprise IT, so he spends a good amount of time discussing the potential barriers to Web 2.0 projects, the objections you are likely to see, and the pitfalls you can run into.  He has good ideas for handling these issues.

Most interestingly, at least to me, was his assertion that you cannot really calculate an honest ROI on this sort of thing.  What he recommends is to set clear objectives up front, measure them, and achieve them.  These objectives need to fix an enterprise problem or achieve an enterprise goal.  “Introduce social media” is not a good objective.

Example: Would you calculate ROI on email or a new database for example?  We all know that these things positively impact employee productivity, but it is through an indirect chain of cause-effect that can be hard to follow and measure.

McAfee’s Enterprise 2.0 is clearly written and very easy to read.  Highly recommended for your next cross country airplane flight.

Andrew McAfee Blog




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