I had hoped to interview Dion Hinchcliffe, of Hinchcliffe & Co, back at the recent Web 2.0 Expo, but he turned the tables and interviewed me instead. But I tracked him down this week, and spent some time talking through some issues in enterprise 2.0. Some highlights:
Dion is a treasure trove of case studies, starting with a great story about wiki use spreading in AOL years ago, at the very outset of Web 2.0 adoption in large companies.
Regarding adoption of Web 2.0, he quotes Euan Semple, "the easiest way to do this is to do nothing," meaning that the millenials will pull these technologies into the enterprise. He also points out that since web 2.0 tools are more conversational you have to wait for people to warm up before joining, as opposed to point-and-shoot tools like email.
I asked if the specific culture of companies influences adoption. He responded that we should see things that we didn't expect to see, since these tools lead to emergent benefits. We will see a broad range of responses, since "organizations are unique, and operate in very different ways."
Dion agrees that there is a bimodal division in adoption because of the Econolypse: either companies "circle the wagons" and do nothing new, or else they embrace the crisis as an opportunity to explore lower-cost, web 2.0 alternatives. He cites the Transunion case study published by Socialtext, as an example.
Most requested: new ways of collaborating with partners outside the firewall. He thinks that these needs for extra-enterprise collaboration are still unmet, but working "better, faster, better" within the walls of the business is still the fundamental driver for adoption.
A great discussion, and very good advice for tool vendors thinking about positioning their products in this space, as well.
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