Andrew McAfee first coined the term Enterprise 2.0 and defines is as “the use of emergent social software platforms within companies, or between companies and their partners or customers.” Other definitions have popped up here and there after that, such as that Enterprise 2.0 is the adoption of Web 2.0 technologies within enterprises or like a recent definition by Carl Frappalo which defines it as "a system of web-based technologies that provide rapid and agile collaboration, information sharing, emergence and integration capabilities in the extended enterprise".
What strikes me about Andrew McAfee’s definition is that it is very technology-oriented. It does not say anything about the purpose and potential value of emergent social platforms for companies. However, Tom Davenport reports that Andrew McAfee said that “the ultimate value of E2.0 initiatives consists of greater responsiveness, better 'knowledge capture and sharing,' and more effective 'collective intelligence' at his talk at the FastForward conference in Orlando last week. Tom Davenport draws the conclusion that Andrew is in essence talking about knowledge management.
I must admit to that KM and Enterprise 2.0 have their similarities when you look at what they ultimately aim to achieve. But does this mean Enterprise 2.0 simply is the next major version of KM? Should we in fact call it KM 2.0 instead? No, I don't believe so. Sometimes you need to make a fresh start., to get rid of old definitions and conceptions and start over with a blank sheet to get things happening. A vitamin injection to an existing term might not just be enough to get it alive and kicking again. The term Enterprise 2.0 as defined by Andrew McAfee has provided us with that fresh start (although it would be nice with an extended definition which includes something about the ultimate value of Enterprise 2.0 as stated by Andrew McAfee). The term Enterprise 2.0 makes clear that we are leaving something and going someplace new and that it has to do with how enterprises are managed and operated. Saying that we are just leaving KM for KM 2.0 would be too delimiting. And it would prbably not make anyone more than – possibly - raise an eyebrow. Calling the place we are leaving Enterprise 1.0 instead gives us the opportunity and mandate to define what we are leaving from how we define the future. It is much more powerful and opens up for new perspectives and innovative thinking. New people with new ideas are allowed to enter the arena.
Instead of having a KM 2.0 versus Enterprise 2.0 debate which essentially will be about how to label the same message, it is important that we all focus on getting the message out there, trying to change existing attitudes and behaviors of people within enterprises who do not realize the value in getting better at communicating, collaborating and exchanging information and knowledge with each other. The value should be apparent for enterprises which have a distributed workforce and compete on a global market where the fierce competition is forcing them to constantly get smarter, more efficient and more innovative at the same time.
One way to do create this change in peoples attitudes and behaviors is to demonstrate the possibilities we have at hand, such as social software. Technology can be used as a vehicle for change, as tools to change attitudes and behaviors. Let us get the message out there by demonstrating how Enterprise 2.0 technologies can be used to create value and help enterprises to be successful.