Next week is the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston (formerly “Collaborative Technologies Conference”), this year’s event broadens a bit beyond collaboration to look at how emerging web-based applications will impact the way people work, both alone and within groups.
One of the things I’ve really liked about this event is its broad focus on both the technologies of collaboration (and I’m involved with several sessions on the “Foundations of Web 2.0” track), but also the social and human aspects of workforce virtualization. Attendees at this year’s event will not only have a chance to sample the latest and greatest tools and applications, but will also get to participate in a discussion on the social and organizational impacts of Web 2.0.
One of the key points we found in our recent “Building a Successful Virtual Workplace” benchmark is that organizational challenges are often more of a stumbling block to effective collaboration than the lack of tools and applications. Lots of organizations are now using tools such as blogs, wikis, and shared workspaces along with communications applications such as web conferencing, instant messaging, and of course e-mail. Few enterprises have anything resembling an organizational-wide strategy for applying those tools to solve specific business challenges, dealing with management and compliance issues, or integrating various business unit initiatives into a cohesive enterprise strategy around collaboration and communications, one that provides a foundation for enterprise knowledge management.
Enterprises continue to struggle with the challenges of educating their workforces and their management on the opportunities and challenges presented by changing work environments. Many don’t understand yet the disruptive nature of social computing, nor how to harness the power of the crowds to meet business challenges. And many still aren’t ready to deal with the challenges of the changing workforce, where recent college grads have always known e-mail, and are more comfortable in MySpace then they are in Word or Excel.
I’m looking forward to next week’s event as a way of educating myself on some of these challenges, as well as how organizations and vendors are meeting them through a combinations of behavioral adaptations and new tools. I’ll report back next Friday on what I’ve learned.