Thought for the Day: December 15, 2010

In a summary of its latest research on the use of Web 2.0 technologies by businesses, McKinsey defines a ‘networked enterprise’ as a company “that uses collaborative Web 2.0 technologies intensively to connect the internal efforts of employees and to extend the organization’s reach to customers, partners, and suppliers.”

Does a ‘networked enterprise’ automatically qualify as a ‘social business’? Conversely, can an organization be a ‘social business’ if it is not a ‘networked enterprise’?

Please discuss.

4 responses to “Thought for the Day: December 15, 2010

  1. Hi Larry,

    I think if the organisation is legitimising informal networks by enabling people to connect in online social networks and groups, then this is a positive step in being a “social business” or reaching a state of “enterprise 2.0”. But this to me is a bottom-up thing or just one dimension. A true social business is a mindset that has evolved from a time where things were stable, linear and predictable.

    There needs to be a top-down shift in agile management (to deal with uncertainties and co-create with customers), and the prime directive of, as Steve Denning says, “delighting customers”, and engaging employees. How else are you going to survive in a hyper-competitive, fast-paced, unpredictable, customer powered world.

    eg. Apple have designers in the strategic room, Google allows time for people to help others and share knowledge, Zappos…that’s why these companies are cutting edge…you have to be progressive.

    If companies value this mindset then they will promote their social tools from the top as an organisational learned behaviour like Safety and Quality.

    If they don’t then we are left with worker 2.0 and group 2.0…without management 2.0, we don’t have enterprise 2.0

    See the links in this post

    And I’m still reading this post, but it seems to encapsulate everything thus far

  2. John: If I understand your POV correctly, being a networked organization is a fundamental step, but incomplete effort, toward being a social business. does that imply that a social business is, by definition, a networked enterprise?

    I completely agree that social business requires both top down and grass roots change in organizational design and rewarded behaviors, as well as in supporting technologies. To my mind, Enterprise 2.0 has been limited by its focus on technology; that’s why I write and speak about social business, which addresses organizational structure, culture, policies, and technology.

  3. You say “does that imply that a social business is, by definition, a networked enterprise?”

    I consider Cisco a social business in the way that they recognise people for helping others and their top-down message of a new way of work and role-modeling from the top…their development of councils meant that management who did not agree with this re-structure were asked to take it or leave it…and of course they have their network and collaboration technology to connect and do work.

    Now if you take away the technology they will find it hard to be a networked organisation based on connecting by email. Sure there is always the informal network, but the online network amplifies this beyond belief.

    It’s hard to be a social business without being networked, I would imagine if there was top-down social design, then an online network would have no buyin problem being part of that

    The usually scenario is you are networked, but the top-down design is not aligned to be a social business.

    Why do you ask this question?

  4. Just came across this in an old post of mine
    “…successful DL [Distributed Leadership] companies do not leave collaboration to the predilections of individuals, but build it into structures, reward systems and HR practices. At Cisco, cross-functional councils and boards were created to quickly make strategic decisions and respond to new opportunities. In addition, a significant portion of senior managers’ compensation is based upon peer ratings of how well they collaborate“

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