why enterprise 2.0 will not change an organization

In the last view days professor mcafee and tom davenport have been discussing online about enterprise 2.0. Is E20 going to be the next big thing or not? Both agree that technology is not going to change an organization. E20 will only succeed if an organization is ready and able to do so. As professor mcafee points out, the IT department has to transform or step out of the way and let users decide which technology they need. Business users have go out and explore the internet. Management must understand this is going to happen, and workers will do it more and more! When the current MySpace generation start to work, current management will not know what has hit them. Technolgy will not change an organization but leadership will!

 In time a maturity model on enterprise 2.0 will evolve. This maturity model will audit a few concepts like leadership, culture and IT and give some directions how to change an organization to embrace enterprise 2.0 concepts and technologies.

BPM and knowledge workers

In our practice and research one of the areas we focus on, is Business Process Management (BPM) in knowledge intensive organization. We think that there are different approaches for BPM needed for tackling the complex issues of increasing the productivity of knowledge workers, than the ‘normal’ BPM approach.

One of the challenges for improving the work of knowledge workers, is that the high level of flexibility and freedom needed in their work. In some cases every customer request is handled and approached differently every time, but in most cases the case is different, but the basic steps are the same. So one way of using BPM in knowledge intensive environments is defining processes on a high level. Within each part the process the knowledge worker is free to approach the case as he/she wants. We used this approach successfully at the Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations. Here we defined policy making in process of 4 steps. This helped the organization to standardize the work of policy making throughout the organization and manage the process more efficiently. But we think that there is more to be gained, because in this example inefficient and ineffective ways of approaching the work within one of the basic steps is not handled.

A second approach we use is defining the interaction between the primary process between different departments and other processes. In some cases these interactions are widely spread within and outside the organization. In this we don’t only look within the primary process, but also to the links with supporting processes. Currently we are using this approach at the Dutch Province of South Holland, were we define the most important links to the many internal and external actors. This creates an overview of the most important actors of which knowledge worker is depended. In this case we can help the knowledge worker, with creating an overview but also making agreements with the other actors. For example on the quality delivered and time period. Also here we think there is more to be gained, because sometimes the actors to be involved differ on the case. Especially as the complexity of the cases increases, different expertises (often from different departments) are needed. So here the social networks of a knowledge workers becomes a very important influencing factor.

In this log I will discuss the topic of increasing the productivity of the knowledge worker from a BPM perspective, and share our experiences and progress in research on this field.

A Framework that works

The last month I’ve been so busy with my consulting work, that I didn’t have time to do my posts. Off course, there isn’t such a thing as “no time”, just “not taking the time”. Having realized that, here’s a short update.

I’ve made my first yards in the development of the framework. These yards include making a selection of the main pillars on which, we at YNNO believe, a digitization project must rest, such as: Taxonomies, Metadata structures, Authorization schemas, Document Lifecycle, Registration and Inheritance, Search and Retrieval, Archival and Durability, Processes and Workflow, Conversion and Migration, Interfaces, Social Network Analysis (SNA), User interfaces.

Furthermore, I’m also trying to incorporate aspects of Enterprise 2.0 into the framework, with pillars the likes of: Ease of Use and the Rich User Experience, Perpetual Beta, Innovation in Assembly, Freeform versus Control, Emergent, Social and Collaborative.

And last but not least, the first “main beliefs” of the pillar “taxonomies” are already made explicit from tacit knowledge and experience . Mine, to be exact.

If you’re an ECM consultant and have just read the summary of pillars, you’re probably thinking: “so what, that’s nothing special?” Correct. The framework in it self is nothing special. I’ve become conscious of the fact that making the framework work what’s special.

I realized this during a meeting I had with a colleague of mine in which we discussed a project approach he was writing. We discussed the contents, approach, scope and ambitions and I realized that I was already using the framework as a common vocabulary to talk from and to distill my assumptions from. The result was not “well, you could do this and that, probably”, but instead it was “you should this and not do that, because past experience has shown that it works like that”, and so forth. And that’s the result only after walking a couple of yards! I’m being optimistic, as always, but the potential of filling the “hollow framework” with working knowledge (made explicit) was suddenly crystal clear to me.

At present I’m busy organizing and preparing an interactive session with my colleagues operating in the field of digitization projects at knowledge intensive organizations. In this session we’ll present our main beliefs and use them the lighten up a discussion and to, ultimately, fill the hollow framework and make it work.

I’m being too optimistic when I say that one session will be enough. Maybe enough for the next couple of yards. That’s not a problem. The other thing I realized during the discussion with my colleague was that the value is not just in the destination, the journey is just as important.

In the next post I’ll give some examples of “main beliefs”.

enterprise 2.0 and the coffee machine

While I was reading an article from dion hinchcliffe about the reasons IT departements remain wary about enterprise 2.0 a came across a remark that caused my brain to hop. In my company we are talking about the effects of the physical workplace on the work of people from a knowledge management perspective. In this line of work it is hard to convince managers that it can be very usefull for people to come together and talk about work. The knowledge sharing that is happening at the coffeemachine may even be the best there is!

Dion made a remark about the fact that managers are wary to let people contribute an hour to an E2.0 application instead of ‘regular’ work. There is a paralel between the hour of dion and the time spent at the coffeemachine. It is about knowledge sharing and thus doing your job! People @ work will find their own ways of working. Management opposition on these initiatives will only work contraproductive!