Enterprise 2.0: candy and aspirin

Basex Editorial, one of the many newsletters I subscribe to, recently reviewed an initiative from Open Text which you might like to set alongside the Gartner White Paper I reviewed recently.

I know Open Text from way back. My first commercial IT responsibility was to develop and run text databases using the Basis database software, as it was called in those days. Open Text has, then, a long heritage of dealing with unstructured data and with the issues surrounding corporate information. This perhaps gives them a head start over some commentators.

Sure, their white paper becomes marketing at the end. But it moves the debate about the place of social tools in the enterprise to a more positive level than is often the case. Unlike my reading of the short version of Gartner’s report, here is an organisation that recognises that the primary questions are cultural. How do we interact, as we do business with each other and with our partners?

I particularly liked these elements.

First – they don’t just talk about “Enterprise 2.0” although that’s the headline title. Using case studies, they talk about “The Social Workplace” and “The Social Marketplace”, differentiating internal and external collaborative interactions while at the same time emphasising the commonality of the underlying concept.

Second – they emphasise the role of a “social fabric inside the workplace” in coping with a range of disruptions such as mergers; the retirement of the “baby boomers” and their replacement by younger people with very different workplace expectations but no corporate memory; and globalisation. Conventional information retention structures and records management may well not capture what’s needed for continuity and coherence.

And third – they emphasise the need to understand and to positively manage the risks. That’s not the same as avoiding risk at all costs. Information governance is central. As they say (and as I’ve said in the past) these aren’t new issues; they surfaced with email, newsgroups and the Web. But they are strengthened again. There’s another step up in the trend towards content creation and management taking place across the whole enterprise; it’s no longer limited to specific managers. And they put it graphically (literally – there’s a picture!) saying that “Enterprises need both candy and aspirin”.

It’s a practitioner’s white paper, rather than an analyst’s. Worth a read.

• Roadmap to Enterprise 2.0 OpenText ( need to register to download the White Paper)
• Basex specialise in information and advice for the Knowledge Economy

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