I had one of those midnight “wake up and go Doh!” moments last week. A common feature across nearly every conversation I’ve had about Enterprise 2.0 subjects hit me. Everybody says “Enterprise search is broken.” In fact it is one of the first things to come up. But then people move on. As Churchill once said, people often stumble across the truth, but most pick themselves up and move on. I am guilty too. I first “stumbled” 3 years ago, and it’s taken me this long to say, “wait a minute, I never thought that through.”
People move on because they seem to assume that this is incompetence at work. Search is sooo 1.0, right? It’s been solved, and we’re just fumbling the execution, right? You usually get some sort of ironic joke along the lines of “wow, it is so easy to find stuff out there on the public Web, and here with all our resources, we can’t even do search right.”
And then the conversation tends to move on to more obviously “2.0″ things like blogs, wikis, how to increase participation, and my personal pet peeve: annoying moaning about “culture change.”
Hold on. Rewind. Let’s go back to search and think for a moment. I have a theory here, and I’d like to see if all you smart E 2.0 guys agree. I have reached a radical conclusion: broken search is the problem, but fixing search is not the solution. Search breaks behind the firewall for social, not technical reasons.
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Posting here after a long time. Looks like E 2.0 Boston was a big success; wish I could have attended.
I thought the E 2.0 gang would appreciate a pointer to a new book by Rob Salkowitz, Young World Rising, where he examines the bottom-up revolution being created by young entrepreneurs in parts of the world with a young and growing working-age population. I have previously talked about Rob and his work on the interplay of demographics, generational effects and 2.0 technologies (in my SM vs. KM post, and in my review of Rob’s previous book, co-authored with Dan Rasmus). This is easily his best work so far.
I posted an interview with Rob on the Trailmeme blog, with links to the book. Rob shared some fascinating views on technology and demographics, and I have included a brief introduction to his work for those who are new to this important subject. Check it out.
Unified Communications/Audio-equipment maker Plantronics is running a contest with a prize bundle worth $1400 for the most creative photograph showcasing how you work. The Show Us How You Work To Win! contest can win you a collection of “office of the future” goodies including cool headphones, an iPhone, and not one, but TWO netbooks. So go on ahead and enter. I am a judge for this year’s contest, and as some of you may recall, the winner of last year’s Plantronics Telewho contest, so I can assure there really is a nice big prize here. Here’s an example of the sort of picture they are looking for. I am sure you guys can top this one though!
Haven’t posted here in quite a while, so hello again to those who remember me. I just posted a piece on my team’s blog at blog.trailmeme.com, looking at an issue that might be of interest to this audience:
Soldiers, Privateers, Mercenaries and Web Technology
One of the fun aspects of Web product development is that you get to think up usage scenarios, and interesting personas to go with them. A few months back, an old classmate, who now works for a big Wall Street firm, emailed asking if we had an enterprise version of trailmeme available. We don’t, and at that point we didn’t even have fully-thought-through ideas; we only had some poorly-defined conceptual vaporware for potential enterprise markets. But the email got me thinking, and a startling thought hit me: the old idea that you develop a Web 2.0 product for consumer/SMB users and harden/evolve it for enterprise users is changing very rapidly. This is because the enterprise itself is changing very rapidly, due to the emergence of three very different IT-user personas, who demand very different future enterprise IT strategies. The three user personas I’ve defined are soldier, privateer and mercenary. Depending on which one dominates the future of work, enterprise IT could evolve in three very different directions. Which means the enterprise design for products like trailmeme could evolve in radically different ways.
One of the more radical conclusions in the article is that perhaps there is no real need for a separate category called “Enterprise 2.0″ software/IT, given the way the workforce (and as a result, the enterprise) are changing, with blurring boundaries and increasing numbers of people employed in non-traditional models.
Read the full post at here
Okay, I am going to milk my 15 minutes of fame as an E 2.0 “influential” to pitch you some pure vaporware. When I am not starting flame wars around E 2.0 culture change, I manage a research team within the Xerox Innovation Group, that is building a technology called Xerox Trails. The technology allows you to blaze and follow “trails” through Web content. Right now, the consumer incarnation of the technology, a product called “Trailmeme,” is in limited invitation-only beta. Read on for an invite code. What I’d like from you E 2.0 evangelists and champions is help brainstorming and dreaming up the ideal enterprise version of this technology, which is on our roadmap for a year or so down the line. At a higher level, I am interested in discussing a more conceptual question: how do you make sense of the huge mess of documents on a typical Intranet, hosted on multiple internal sites and technologies? This is the problem of enterprise document integration (EDI).
The idea of Enterprise 2.0 is now a couple of years old, well into the trough of disillusionment as far as hype cycle position goes, and broad outlines are starting to become clear. So it is not surprising that two books have appeared in the last year that treat the subject broadly, systematically, and without the Kool-Aid that characterized books like Wikinomics, which appeared much earlier in the hype cycle. The first is one by the most usual of suspects, Andrew McAfee, titled, like his original article that coined the term, Enterprise 2.0 (the subtitle though, has changed appropriately, from “The Dawn of Emergent Collaboration” to “New Collaborative Tools for Your Organization’s Toughest Challenges.”) The second is “Throwing Sheep in the Boardroom” by Matt Fraser and Soumitra Dutta. The two books are ideal foils to each other. They tackle the left and right brains of the Enterprise 2.0 idea respectively. To a certain extent, they are also evil twins to each other. Which one is better for you?