Friday, January 18, 2008

Everything is Miscellaneous, or is it?

Enterprise 2.0 is (amongst other things) about iconic labels such as emergent, tagging, folksonomies, social bookmarking and, you could say, a new paradigm everything is miscellaneous. The third order of order. This pattern is evolving and blogs, books and webinars are picking up the pace. Does this mean that enterprises should loosen up and "Give up control"?

BPM focuses on identifying, designing, implementing and managing business processes within an organization. The realm of ECM focuses on achieving a centralized, structured, transparent and compliant (and more) digital working environment
. Combined, you could say the ambition of BPM and ECM is an organization being in control of what they do, how they do it and improving on that continuously. "Being in control"!

At first glance E2.0 and BPM/ECM sound quite like a paradox. But are they? In my opinion, they aren’t. James Surowiecki gives a beautiful hint of this in its bestseller the Wisdom Of Crowds. You need both structured centralization (or as he says "aggregation") and unstructured (or niche-structured) decentralization. Explicitly: you can give op control in the niches of work, but you have to remain in control at the centre of it; as a whole.

As a matter of fact, the basis of giving up control is first of all having enough of it. The structured repositories of information, materialized through the implemented business processes, gives an organization a jumping platform to dive into the unstructured world. It's the next step in digital working. After getting grip on these structured processes, what's left are the unstructured ones. The characteristics of these processes are collaborative, knowledge intensive and highly unpredictable. Just suitable for E2.0 concepts.

What I find fascinating is trying to identify the design principles, or main beliefs, of the new Enterprise 2.0 concepts and identify the consequences of the digital working environment of today, 1.0. Bridging the gap between then and now.

An example thereof is implementing a social bookmarking principle for search an retrieval on top of the established taxonomies and metadata schemas for archival, process management and compliancy purposes. The result: best of both worlds. The organization is in charge of it’s processes and the team of three individuals somewhere within the company can find their specialized information the way they want to; the workforce cumulatively establishing a layer of social tags on top of the existing and rigid taxonomies.

Summarizing: not all is miscellaneous, but then everything could be.

1 comment:

Jeroen said...

Interesting thoughts, Vince. I see a parallel with the design attitude I described in an earlier post: as an organization/manager you should take care of the larger structure (the "skeleton") so the details can be filled in dynamically and collaboratively.