Thursday, February 12, 2009

Enterprise 2.0: Like Honey to a Bee

It’s About Sharing, Not Technology

Enterprise 2.0 is a new buzzword that is getting a lot of attention. The adoption of so-called Web 2.0 technologies is extraordinary. The popularity of sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and Blogs are indicative of a powerful sea change at hand in the way people want to communicate.  This rapid adoption, with such a diversity of users, begs the question of why users are flocking to these systems.

Perhaps the answer lies in Honeybees. What?  In a  American Scientist Online[i] article about honeybees, we learn that honeybee scouts search for possible locations of a new hive and then communicate that information to other swarm members. Other bees consume this informa

tion, examine and evaluate a potential location, return to the swarm, and communicate their "thoughts" on how good the site is. Finally, when enough scouts promote the same site, a quorum is reached and the new hive location is selected.  Consider the following principles observed by honeybees in their decision-making:

1.    A diversity of independent information sources is critical to making the best decisions;

2.    Text Box: Bit-O-HoneyAggregation of information followed by independent evaluation of the information leads to a core set of choices;

3.    Collection and distribution of independent decisions enables a unifying decision to be reached as rapidly as possible.

The behaviors in the honeybee community may hold important clues for businesses seeking to understand why Enterprise 2.0 may have some buzz for business information sharing and decision-making. 

Consider the exponential growth of information. Add to this growth, the ease with which information is created and consumed today. Finally, layer on how Web 2.0 technologies have increased user expectations regarding what is available while lowering the barrier to participation, and you begin to see the emergence of an unmistakable trend.

Business information is no different.  It is made available, then consumed, modified and repeated to all who show an interest in this information. No longer is the focus on pushing information to specific people - this has become spam (corporate or otherwise). Instead, the focus is on collaborating with people. Web 2.0 technologies enable a conversational approach to communication. The wealth and diversity of information that is being created independently is being shared and consumed conversationally.

Enterprise 2.0 is about bringing content to the employee in context so that their attention will be kept “on topic”. An Enterprise 2.0 platform forms an information fabric in which knowledge and process workers are woven together with colleagues, customers, systems, and information.

Ultimately, the goal of this participation is to tap into the energies and expertise of every individual and to deliver a synthesis of the good ideas. Aggregating the varied inputs, precipitating the valuable outcomes through team-enabled decision making, and enabling employees to make better business decisions is the result.

In the upcoming webinar and newsletter articles, we will explain why Enterprise 2.0 is good for business, what Enterprise 2.0 deployments should include, and how they should be implemented within an organization.

Scott Jenkins, Managing Partner

The EBS Group

[i] "Group Decision Making in Honey Bee Swarms," American Scientist Online, May-June 2006, Volume: 94 Number: 3 p. 220