Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Enterprise 2.0, Social Business and Digital HR

As I posted yesterday, I think we need to define digital business / digital HR quite carefully, or it risks just becoming a catch-all term for broader transformation, which I think is a shame, as you then miss the specific aspects which digital is about.

I guess one of the most easily confused topics which end up being merged into digital is enterprise 2.0 / social business - often because it's the same people who are concerned with the different aspects, and because of their obvious similarities i.e. that they're both 'not not about the technology.'

For example it's interesting to see the Enterprise 2.0 Summit morphing into Enterprise Digital:
'We have been thinking about the scope of the Enterprise 2.0 SUMMIT for quite some time. For a while now our beloved expert community has been telling us that “Social” has moved on, the “Enterprise 2.0” term is “dead” and that our conference heading doesn’t match the general “zeitgeist” of the current business landscape. 
While the term “social” is called “dead” – the digital transformation of work is in full motion. As part of the bigger picture of developing the “next-generation enterprise model” the re-modeling of work certainly cannot be treated singular – as it needs to fit into a new system of an open culture and a business model based on a networked ecosystem.' 

Now I wouldn't personally say that social is dead - far from it (and I hate the expression anyway) - but again, it depends upon what you mean.  The graphic above is my representation.

Social is one big trend, and a particularly significant one in HR, but one that was never really picked up in Enterprise 2.0 circles and is only now really being developed within HR and the rest of business.  The focus of this is about developing relationships rather than just people, or social capital rather than just human capital, and doing this through everything we have at our disposal within HR, as well as aligned fields, eg workplace design.

Digital is a largely independent shift, more focused on the way we do things, and using the creating value technologies which I referred to yesterday to improve the alignment, productivity, engagement and learning of employees.  This probably has the most relevance outside HR, particularly in terms of connecting employees and customers (although the HR aspects are still important.)

Enterprise 2.0 is (not was) the intersection between the two - the use of digital technologies to achieve social outcomes.

Now as we all know, Enterprise 2.0 never managed to live up to the hype. Altimeter's findings that only 36% of collaboration networks have many people using them absolutely echoes what I see happening in organisations.

However, it doesn't need to be this way - I know from my own experience working in an OD role on a big digital project that enterprise 2.0 systems can be effective, if they're introduced and managed in the right way - i.e. as OD, not as IT (a topic I tried to promote at many Enterprise 2.0 conferences, including the ones in the US, whilst these were still in fashion.)

So is social / enterprise 2.0 really dead?  Only if it's seen as the little bit in the middle of the venn diagramme i.e. the implementation of stand-alone enterprise 2.0 systems without social objectives.  But if it's seen as the connecting point of two critical trends - social relationships, and digital (both still very much alive) then it's still at a very early point in its evolution.

But social and digital can also be implemented separately and independently, and we shouldn't confuse one with the other, even if they're often going to be implemented as part of the same change.

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