I have been reading about the Enterprise 2.0 conference in Santa Clara. I was sorry to miss it but did attend the June version In Boston. There seems to be a reoccurring theme that “it is not about the technology” (see for example: Ted Sapuntziz’s excellent post, My lesson from Enterprise 2.0: People are the weakest link). However, I am beginning to think a large part of it is about the technology. This is coming from a person who got 6 out of 100 on the geek test. I was also part of a panel at the one of first Enterprise 2.0 conferences in 2007, titled “It’s 90% Percent People 10% Technology” that made the same point as Ted did recently.
Let me explain. Yesterday I wrote about: Integrating the Interactions with the Transactions. I was building on some idea I first posted in: Putting Social Media to Work. I closed with the thought that for enterprise 2.0 to truly be an enterprise operation, it needs to take in the old with the new. It should not replace what is currently in place to support transactions but complement it so that transactions and the interactions around them are connected.
Richard Hughes from Clearvale mentioned some recent research to me from the Altimeter Group that points to the need for this integration. Altimeter found that in the first two years companies tend to spend most of their implement dollars on people to properly manage the effort. By the third year they shift to spending IT dollars to custom technology development, quite likely part of this is directed at integration services.
Now I certainly agree that there is a people part, a process part, and a leadership part, However, I do not think it is useful to say it is ‘not the technology.” Granted Enterprise 2.0 is certainly not about the features and functions of the collaborative platforms. Thinking soley in those terms is doomed to failure. But to say it is not about the technology takes our focus off the critical technical integration tasks that are necessary for enterprise 2.0 to truly succeed.