Enterprise 2.0 – No more KM for the heck of it !!

Colabria speaks about the state of contemporary KM :

For example, take a fully operational business that has
contemporary KM. Now, take away the KM. Gee, the business still
operates.

I couldn’t agree more. The primary problem with conventional KM as
we know it has been an obsessive focus on enterprise knowledge while
ignoring the needs of individuals. In many organizations people can
live without their KM systems and get things done. Three key things to
keep in mind as enterprises explore social software as an alternative
path to creating knowledge ecosystems are :

  • Understand that social software can help you achieve
    more than what you initially envisaged for your KM program at a
    fraction of the cost. It is pretty straightforward to piece together a
    collaborative ecosystem within the enterprise using lightweight and in
    many cases open source tools. Eventually, when there are thriving
    social networks within enterprises, they should be able to innovate
    faster as one of the traits that
    open source communities possess makes its way inside enterprises: “The
    cost of failure is carried by the individuals at the edges of the
    network, while the value of the successes magnifies and value to the
    whole network.”
  • Don’t bet against the internet
    – While Eric Schmidt was speaking about a broader paradigm shift when
    he said “Dont’ bet against the internet”, it really dovetails back into
    the fact employees are consumers. If you were to look at the most
    frequently visited sites by your employees there is a good chance of
    finding the likes of Google Docs, Meebo, Basecamp , Delicious and
    Facebook. Any enterprise knowledge strategy in the future will have to
    take this into account. When a large number of your employees are networking
    in Facebook, LinkedIn etc., – What do you do? You could ignore this and
    try building something inside your enterprise. What do you do if bulk
    of your workforce is already using Google Docs? Would you sign up for Google Apps or would you continue spending money trying to get people to use internal collaboration platforms? My take is that both your internal network and collaboration platform will suffer from the 9X problem
    as it strives to gain adoption. The second option is to leverage
    existing networks and tools where the attention is, even though it is
    outside your enterprise. If you were to take this path you will have to
    address a range of security and governance related issues. There is a
    possible third model where employees may use LinkedIn ,Facebook etc.,
    to discover and connect with colleagues around the world and then
    ongoing collaboration with them could be through enterprise sanctioned
    apps like IM and wikis within the firewall.
  • Take complexity out of the software. Ross Mayfield
    sums this up neatly: “When you look at an enterprise as a large complex
    adaptive system, it is all too tempting to over-design it. The
    complexity has always resided in the social network, not in the assets
    of the firm. Traditional enterprise software tries to solve for
    complexity by taking it out of the social network and putting it into
    the software. Social software, however, keeps the complexity in the
    social network, and attempts to augment it with very simple rules to
    foster emergent behavior.”
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