Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Gartner: Enterprise web 2.0 is ready for prime time

In a Garner briefing in Stockholm last week, Mark Raskino, VP and Gartner fellow in the Emerging Trends group of Gartner Research, gave a talk about "Business, IT and the Recession":
"CEOs need new ways to strengthen culture, values and trust as relationships of all kinds are stress-tested."
One of Raskino's points was that in we have now seen "the trust of decades trashed in hours" (referring to the financial crisis). He also pointed out that "human decision makers made frail by the speed of the programmed & connected world". As a consequence of this business trust issue, Gartner sees real possibility of business taking the social web / Web 2.0 seriously.

The key issues are about establishing openness, transparency, trust and relationships. Pretty much what Enterprise 2.0 is about.


  1. Raskino stretches the point when he attributes
    "the trust of decades trashed in hours"
    to the
    "human decision makers made frail by the speed of the programmed & connected world".

    Information - who has it, who doesn't and the collective fear of what the future will bring - has played a central role in every financial panic and economic crisis.

    The speed Raskino refers to is relative. The Rothschilds made a fortune in 1815 thanks to carrier pidgeons making them the first to hear the news of Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo.

    Communicating isn't the key, action is the key. All the interconnected networks in the world don't matter if everyone is investing in the same product or panicking and doing the opposite.

    Enterprise web 2.0 will succeed or fail based on its own merits, not the failures of other solutions.

  2. The key point that Raskino is making is that businesses such as banks that have been keeping secrets from others - not revealing anything about their customers or investments to either their customers or investors - must now realize that they need to open up to the world and become more transparent in order to rebuild the trust that has been "trashed in hours".

    So, in this sense communication really is the key. Customers, media, investors and governments have not been able to make the right decisions because the banks have simply hidden the facts to them - and to each other as well.

    Communication is about making the right information available to those who need it so they can make the decisions and take the actions that help them achieve their goals. If the communication is not working, you won't be able to get hold of the information you need to do make the right decisions. This prevents you from acting, or makes you act in the wrong way.

    I would actually say that action is not the key - communication is. Of course, there is no insurance against collective human behavior or making the wrong analysis and decisions. Even if we have access to the facts, other things - such as the human tendency to just do as others do - can lead us to make bad decisions and carry out the wrong actions.

    Regarding your comment whether Enterprise 2.0 will succeed or fail, the key to success is not in the tools or principles themselves. Success or failure will depend on the decisions and actions carried out by each and every business that chooses to adopt social software and the principles of the social web. There is no insurance against making bad decisions or carrying out the wrong actions here either. But businesses need to open up and become more transparent, putting the cards on the table, so that we do not act in blindness.