The Company
as Community
The impact of social media on the corporate world:
   analysis by five specialists and practition...
Roy Amara, former President of the American        All those involved agree with John Chambers,
think tank Institu...
    How will attitudes to social media and the       In a continually changing world, we, in this
    use of ...
creatively and make sense of a situation that      of information and communication tools is
people frequently find hard t...
The culture of exchange and openness en-           The meaning of the term community is less
    couraged by the emergence...
  The community company: towards a new ...
The community company:
    towards a new social contract
                                               Stéphane Roussel
Web 2.0 is not just a technological revo-          mySFR: towards new expectations of
lution, it is primarily a cultural c...
So we asked our employees to present them-         expression and the legitimacy of these sites’
    selves another way. O...
Businesses must be able to apply a global approach to the
situation, using a combination of technological tools and
human ...
In France, we tend not to talk much about           Previously, managers went out into the field.
     what we do outside ...
personality, culture and education of the indi-                       other everything that’s
stronger if they want to have an impact.           weeding out less impor-             It’s difficult to
     Those who ma...
into moving from red and blue into purple.
There was no dominant or dominated bu-
siness. The subtlety of the change in co...
The effects of social networks
               on business strategy
Example of a collaborative                                        Companies need to integrate access to these
organisation can gain real advantages over                       variables that are continually growing in our
     its co...
Executive Committees must set an example by being
the primary business community. A business capable of
doing that will ha...
an area for asynchronous exchanges. Many               Second Life is on the wane and it makes
     work via videoconferen...
arrival of social networks has made it more                                         quality and productivity.
This question of truth and transparency is raised… for all
     employees because of the virtual footprints they leave on
Towards the 2.0 business
         and e-transformation
                                                Michel Germain
As long ago as 1937 Karl Ludwig Von Berta-         A quick look at our environment reveals that
lanffy, author of the Gene...
With regard to the Intranet in particular, this   Profiling, by means of a suitable administra-
     first generation was ...
Any business is at worst a social network that does not
realise it, and at best a working organisation that has only
and no longer on a centralised basis by a          forums, workspaces or updates to the Intra-
     specific management te...
of visual representations of reality and their     and circulate messages from senior manage-
appearance in virtual space....
Web 3.0 will underscore two essential concepts, namely
     government (shared rules regarding the use of networked
ronment of their queries, and this can some-       in map mode on your mobile phone. It also
times help them come up with ...
Composite applications                             concept of the “ex-               2.0 e-learning
     These application...
The company as a community: the impact of social media on the corporate world
The company as a community: the impact of social media on the corporate world
The company as a community: the impact of social media on the corporate world
The company as a community: the impact of social media on the corporate world
The company as a community: the impact of social media on the corporate world
The company as a community: the impact of social media on the corporate world
The company as a community: the impact of social media on the corporate world
The company as a community: the impact of social media on the corporate world
The company as a community: the impact of social media on the corporate world
The company as a community: the impact of social media on the corporate world
The company as a community: the impact of social media on the corporate world
The company as a community: the impact of social media on the corporate world
The company as a community: the impact of social media on the corporate world
The company as a community: the impact of social media on the corporate world
The company as a community: the impact of social media on the corporate world
The company as a community: the impact of social media on the corporate world
The company as a community: the impact of social media on the corporate world
The company as a community: the impact of social media on the corporate world
The company as a community: the impact of social media on the corporate world
The company as a community: the impact of social media on the corporate world
The company as a community: the impact of social media on the corporate world
The company as a community: the impact of social media on the corporate world
The company as a community: the impact of social media on the corporate world
The company as a community: the impact of social media on the corporate world
The company as a community: the impact of social media on the corporate world
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The company as a community: the impact of social media on the corporate world

  1. 1. The Company as Community The impact of social media on the corporate world: analysis by five specialists and practitioners
  2. 2. Preface Roy Amara, former President of the American All those involved agree with John Chambers, think tank Institute for the Future used to say: CEO of Cisco, when he stresses that the tech- “We tend to overestimate the effect of a tech- nology is not the issue; the cost of access nology in the short run and underestimate the to software resources is falling all the time effect in the long run.” thanks to the SaaS (Software as a Service) model and open-source community projects. Today, social media are presenting all the The changes to organisations, processes characteristics of that type of disruption. The and leadership models will be profound and private sector has already made this major long lasting. Implementing these changes change: Nielsen announced in February 2009 may meet with reluctance and require risk- that Internet users are now spending more taking, but there will be significant gains in time on social networking sites than using productivity and agility for companies which e-mail. It must therefore be only a matter of take this route, as the initial feedback from time before these sites make their impact Cisco or Best Buy already shows. felt on companies’ processes and operating methods. CrossKnowledge and its partners are com- mitted to accompanying you along this route CrossKnowledge has been quick to take and this white paper is the first contribution an interest in these new modes of commu- to a conversation that it will be our pleasure nication, certain that they’ll improve the ef- to continue with you within an online commu- fectiveness of teaching methods and the nity dedicated to the community company development of employees’ skills. These new and to Social Learning. conversations cannot however be divided up into so many “functional silos”, as the com- Jérôme Coignard munity company is redrawing new spaces Innovation Director within and outside the business, a new rela- CrossKnowledge tion to time and new relationships between individuals, whether they be clients, partners, suppliers or employees. We therefore believe it necessary to look at how these collabora- tive methods will affect all the tasks of human resources departments. 1
  3. 3. Introduction How will attitudes to social media and the In a continually changing world, we, in this use of current and future tools impact the white paper, want first and foremost to consi- world of business? Is the business environ- der potentialities: human potential, but also ment, drawn inexorably into the future, be- the potential attitudes to the new issues rai- coming too complex to forecast? What place sed by social media. A social medium has se- does management have in a world where the veral different aspects, including technology, boundary between the virtual and the real is social interaction and creation of content. So- blurred? cial media use collective human intelligence in the spirit of online collaboration. The im- This white paper explores the issues sur- pact of professional networks on business rounding social media within the business strategy will thus alter the organisation of world, asking the opinion of five observers that strategy. from very different fields. From an academic viewpoint, François Silva, sociologist, lectu- This paper is not just a summary of techno- rer at ESCEM School of Business and Mana- logies linked to Web 2.0, but a study of the gement Tours-Poitiers and associate lecturer impact of these technologies on individuals at CNAM (Conservatoire National des Arts et and on the corporate world as a whole. The Métiers) in Paris, describes the new forms of people we have spoken to have examined the work organisation. Michel Germain, deputy effects on a business’s strategic vision and director of Arctus and associate lecturer at its organisation and leadership. On this last CELSA (a top communication and journalism point, middle management appears to be a school in Paris), speaks on the impact of 2.0 difficult link to deal with. Support and training applications in development practices and will thus be of utmost importance in under- skills management. Carlos Diaz, CEO of blue- standing these impacts. Kiwi, explains the link between tools and bu- siness. From a practical viewpoint, Stéphane Could this be a pivotal moment, with com- Roussel, Senior Executive Vice President, panies having to review their training fra- Human Resources at Vivendi, describes the meworks to take into account the emergence implementation of a tool created within SFR. of new fields of communication and ways of Finally, Dominique Turcq, President of the accessing skills? Boostzone Institute, presents, as a consul- tant, his understanding of the impact of so- The study of these issues offers both people cial networks on business. and businesses the chance to work together 2
  4. 4. creatively and make sense of a situation that of information and communication tools is people frequently find hard to navigate or a response to the challenges society faces. which often leads to a fear of change. Only This is what individuals and businesses lived a coherent approach to the issue will lead to through in the last century. Approximately increased productivity without impairing the every decade, a technical or technological human resources on which business is built. innovation has contributed to the evolution of society. We have thus passed from the prin- Humanity has always lived through times ting age to the energy age, and thence to the of great change. Every age it has passed digital age. Means of communication are also through has been based on beliefs and (new) means of speeding up access to knowledge. technologies, responding to the needs of in- Our communication tools (engraving, slate, dividuals anxious to adjust to a new space- print, television, computer, etc.) and our be- time. A time of great change is a period in haviour when faced with these tools have not which society looks for meaning. Informa- only modified time and space, but also the tion is already a tool, the principal tool, that culture of societies. Each stage in the use of people use to perceive and understand this tools has modified the filters of our percep- environment. Language and culture help tion… and the imagination of human beings. people filter this information, while communi- cation tools help them process it. Today, the Internet marks a great change in our society. Although computers help Whenever a group of individuals has to pro- store and share information, the Internet, in cess a larger quantity of information, they contrast, gives people the impression that invent a communication tool to assist with distance no longer exists and that actual time the transition from one space-time to ano- is compacted and shortened. In a world of ther. When a great change occurs, a society constant motion, we increase our opportuni- swings between innovation, which keeps its ties of accessing the entire planet, with the systems in motion, and stability, which pre- perception that its territory is shrinking. vents a descent into anarchy. Sociologists call this the “edge of chaos”; psychologists For a few years now, the acceleration of stra- use the term “homeostasis”. This function tegic changes (new activities, new products, ensures that the system remains stable by new demands, globalisations, mergers and preserving what exists, while also incorpo- acquisitions) has been driving general mana- rating the information likely to threaten its gement, management committees and HR equilibrium. Then comes self-regulation, in departments to rethink their organisational which the system transforms itself to adapt structures. Training must evolve in order to and remain stable. Top management and em- adapt to these new circumstances. ployees all need support and training to help them understand change. The development 3
  5. 5. The culture of exchange and openness en- The meaning of the term community is less couraged by the emergence of social networ- clear. It has been popularised in recent years king sites enables companies to accelerate through media use, linked to use of the Inter- their decision-making processes, and in- net. In abstract terms, a community is what crease their capacity for innovation and com- is common to several people. This is applied mercial productivity. Faced with these new to a group living in a community and forming challenges, making the most of talents is a (visible) structure, such as a political, eco- paramount. Social networks help businesses nomic or cultural group. In the first definition improve competitiveness by being more we see emotion; in the second, organisation. responsive. Web 2.0 is however not merely a technological revolution, but primarily a Will the business of tomorrow be a commu- cultural change. By creating a networked nity of individual organisations? Will it work in organisation, it encourages the participation project mode? Will it be a set of diverse com- of employees, clients and partners. Informa- munities, linked together and to the outside? tion is thus shared vertically and horizontally. By “professional” we mean networks of col- This sharing prompts reflection on the role of leagues, employees or individuals, from the management, and especially top leadership, same sector, industry, etc. In reality, when it in the corporate structure, and the form that comes to social media, it is still difficult to training takes. distinguish between specialist networks and personal or family networks (Viadeo, Face- Businesses must take the main added value book, LinkedIn, Plaxo, etc.). Generation Y re- from social media: the professional networks minds us that we must reconcile professional that will change relationships between partici- and private life without confusing them. pants in the business world. The initial effects will be felt in strategy development and mana- Will social media be a new social practice that gement. The change will be achieved with a redraws both time and space? In the age of (r)evolution in the behaviour of individuals wi- knowledge, this specific feature will facilitate thin the business world, combined with better an open-mindedness that will greatly increase mastery of technological tools linked to the the possibility of acquiring knowledge. transmission, distribution and communica- tion of information. Similarly, the change will be made concomitantly with the exit of the baby-boomers and the advent of a generation that has known only this type of tool, such as Generation Y (digital natives). Community companies have understood the “network” concept, although in a different sense from the field of computing and telecommunica- tions. In semantic terms, to have a network is to have a set of points and persons working for the common good, in permanent interac- tion with the surrounding conditions in which the communication occurs. 4
  6. 6. Contents 6 The community company: towards a new social contract Stéphane Roussel Senior Executive Vice President, Human Resources, Vivendi 14 The effects of social networks on business strategy Dominique Turcq President of the Boostzone Institute 22 Towards the 2.0 business and e-transformation Michel Germain Deputy Director of Arctus, Associate Lecturer at Celsa 34 The community company, a source of know-how connection Carlos Diaz CEO, blueKiwi 40 The emergence of the networked collaborative business François Silva Lecturer at ESCEM Tours-Poitiers, Associate lecturer at CNAM 5
  7. 7. The community company: towards a new social contract Stéphane Roussel Senior Executive Vice President, Human Resources, Vivendi There was no reason why Stéphane Roussel, a graduate of the Paris School of Psychologists, should have become head of human resources for the Vivendi Group. He originally intended to dedicate his working life to disturbed children. But in 1985, Xerox offered him a position while he was doing an end-of-studies internship. Mr Roussel stayed there for 12 years. In 1997 he joined Carrefour, where he built a worldwide human-resources policy. At SFR, he played a key role during the merger with Neuf/Cegetel and the process of outsourcing call centres. Within the Vivendi Group, he was also the driving force behind a policy to encourage diversity and initiative. He then had the idea of using social media to revolutionise information transmission and counter a blog offensive used by employees with grievances. 6
  8. 8. Web 2.0 is not just a technological revo- mySFR: towards new expectations of lution, it is primarily a cultural change information sharing… Communication is changing because indivi- With this design, we wanted to take a fresh duals’ behaviour is changing. Accessing and look at traditional systems. SFR is a leader sharing information must therefore change on the mobile Internet mass market, there- also. Businesses must be able to apply a glo- fore we needed to be just as innovative on bal approach to the situation, using a com- the inside, for our employees, as we are for bination of technological tools and human our clients. This is the first aspect, the offen- assets. sive and positive one. Our asset is that the average age of our workforce is quite young With this in mind, Vivendi’s human resources (35); they were born with the cultural codes department used social media to re-examine and behavioural patterns linked to informa- its internal communication model. tion technology. To use mySFR as a vehicle for this culture, we needed to make it as user- SFR took as its starting point the observa- friendly as the Web and blogs, with the same tion that young people did not choose the level of interaction. business they would join purely according to salary or distance from home to work. More The first tool in mySFR is a blog for sharing specifically, it was the internal and external information on current events at SFR. For environment of what the business offered those working at SFR, it is an advantage to them, such as Internet use, that influenced know what is being said both externally and them. Generation Y, quite possibly, is spee- internally. The print media review is now ob- ding up this movement. Managers, who were solete, replaced by the interactive press re- not open to these technologies and the be- view. Articles that glorify business, and those haviour patterns they produced, were losing that criticise it, are both on line, with no cen- first-class potential. sorship. The idea is to share information and allow employees to react whatever the nature On this basis, therefore, SFR thought about of the article. This tool also creates a conti- introducing an internal system along the nuous exchange with managers, with a quick same lines as Facebook. response time. There were two main reasons for the creation The second tool was inspired by social of this Intranet space with participatory tools. networking, and this is one of its key uses The first was offensive and positive, the se- for SFR. We took the annual appraisal as our cond more defensive. starting point but wanted to make a complete break with what had already been done and take things much further. 7
  9. 9. So we asked our employees to present them- expression and the legitimacy of these sites’ selves another way. On Facebook, everyone existence, we were disturbed that the media presents themselves the way they are and reported more readily on the content of sfren- the way their various experiences have sha- (‘’) than on our own ped them. The basic idea is to present the communications. Contributors to the website employee in a way different from the stan- remained anonymous, thus depriving us of dard CV, which reduces a person to their pro- the right to respond. We therefore introduced fessional life alone. Employees explain their a blog where everyone could express them- professional experience and also their inte- selves. It had one simple rule: anonymity was rests, passions and ambitions. They highlight not allowed. Contributors gave their name the skills that they have developed outside and took responsibility for what they wrote. of work. As well as describing their activities In two years, we have had no problems with and interests, they can create communities inappropriate or defamatory comments. around a subject, so you end up with em- ployees grouped around common interests mySFR exists so knowledge can be shared. or cross-disciplinary work areas. This choice An informative and collaborative area, it does is consistent with our social-responsibility po- much more than just help employees to ma- licy, according to which we grant additional nage their careers. They can use it to inno- leave to people who work with charities that vate and create; they make a contribution we support. to the business’s strategy and development. In the future, we see mySFR opening up to The third tool revisits the “ideas box” concept other features and allowing everyone to play and helps create themed discussion groups. an active part in corporate strategy. For example, as part of our sustainable-de- velopment policy, employees used mySFR to Finally, the introduction of mySFR is changing help us find ideas that top management had not just communication, but also human re- not necessarily thought of. This set-up has source management and therefore access been a success and helped many people find to training. Employees can thus be trained out about subjects that they may have known and train themselves. In many businesses, nothing about. training is seen as separate from other ele- ments. This approach is restrictive, however, The second reason for introducing mySFR as it is difficult to understand and complete was a defensive response. We really capitali- training without making it part of a coherent sed on this tool during the merger with Neuf/ whole. Our employees support this concept Cegetel. During industrial or economic dis- because they understand the rationale putes, companies are often attacked through behind it. For SFR, this makes knowledge websites (Total, Danone, etc.). Controlled by meaningful. those with a stake in the process, social part- ners or consumer associations, these sites A new social practice that redefines both are given heavy coverage by the media. time and space By creating this new participatory Intranet During the business transfer, we managed process, SFR has set the tone in the field of communication successfully but under- communication and HRM. Communication estimated the impact of this kind of website. tools such as blogs and social networks are While not disputing the need for freedom of in synch with the company’s culture and va- 8
  10. 10. Businesses must be able to apply a global approach to the situation, using a combination of technological tools and human assets. lues. For Stéphane Roussel, only pursuing a For top-down information, especially regar- collective HR policy would be unthinkable. In- ding business strategy deployment, the stead, there should be a dual policy, i.e. both concept of time is vital as it determines the individual and collective. Employees need to role of every person involved. We always give be taken into consideration individually within managers a good fortnight to make sense of the collective frame-work that the business the strategy. represents. With regard to the concept of space, mySFR However, it was necessary to strike the right broadens the scope of the way we look at balance in terms of accessing the concept. what people do. The development of intan- Too open and it would have been of little va- gible assets and human capital is increasin- lue; too restricted, and the employees would gly important. The creation of mySFR will not have joined in. help develop the employer brand. The tool is hugely helpful in terms of human capital, This new practice introduces two concepts: a allowing the discovery of skills that might change in the way people relate to time, and have been overlooked in a more traditional the creation of new spaces. system. Let’s first look at the time aspect. With hard Take, for example, an assistant who runs copy, you generally give yourself 24 hours a charitable organisation in her spare time. to reply to something. With mySFR, this time- This means that, outside of work, she has frame is much shorter. We have some management experience. So when she wants 10,000 employees and there are about 10 to become a manager, we will naturally take “posts” per day on all kinds of subjects. The this outside experience into consideration. themes touched on are generally practical By stepping into this extended collaborative and most often linked to what’s happening in field, employees stand a better chance of the field, but they can also be strategic. This raising their profiles and receiving greater helps bring the outside world back into the recognition for their abilities. And this means business. they have a better chance of taking on other challenges within the business. 9
  11. 11. In France, we tend not to talk much about Previously, managers went out into the field. what we do outside of work, which effectively They always had a powerful hold on their creates two different worlds. Tools like mySFR territory. Virtual communication changes all can both assist an employee’s personal deve- this, allowing people to move into new ter- lopment and help us understand new ways of ritory. However, in order to maintain consis- “mapping” skills. By including everything we tency, managers continue to occupy the field do in our lives, we have more chance of recei- through their teams. ving recognition in a community; this helps us manage time in a different way. As we increase the number of people who use this tool, we might see communities including Employees can create a HR policy suppliers or pilot consumers. We have fun- community, a “wiki” on must be both ded a chair at the HEC School of Manage- individual and a subject that interests collective. ment in Paris to study this very issue. Like them. By doing so, they Employees need to other businesses, we used to give students generate a new work be taken into consi- case studies based on past experience. Now, space, where know- deration individually the existence of mySFR means we can get within the collective ledge and expertise help framework that them thinking about current topics. trigger creativity. This the business function is not yet widely represents. Participants’ profiles depend mainly on used: firstly because the their education, culture and behaviour… employees who are ready for it are not Web Although younger people tend to get more rea- 2.0 savvy, and secondly because those who dily involved than older people, it also depends have grown up with the Internet worry that on people’s role in the company! Marketing their managers may not approve. Such mana- people, regardless of their age, get involved gers do not understand these tools, fearing more easily than technicians, precisely because that someone who is using the social network their work is not technical. And a programmer is not really working. will raise a question with our Chairman and CEO less often than a product manager will. With regard to the divide between private life and professional life, there has been a Although HR and communications departments marked change in attitude. The area in which have quickly bought into this concept, opera- work is done is changing. During the day, tional managers have not, as management many employees surf the Internet and talk methods change less quickly. However, those online with friends. In the evening, others who do use mySFR see its value both in terms work at home. Surfing the Internet should be of effectiveness and in terms of their careers. seen as work-related behaviour even if what They are the first to spread the word and be- you are looking at is not directly work-rela- come ambassadors for the concept, genera- ted. Reading information generally helps to ting greater levels of participation. improve knowledge. Suggestions are implemented and publicised Taking information on board is not yet viewed on an ongoing basis. There is naturally some as a kind of training. resistance. For example, you’ll get people who say that an idea put online has already been Similarly, the gap between the virtual space mentioned by someone else. But these are of mySFR and physical space has changed. isolated cases, and have more to do with the 10
  12. 12. personality, culture and education of the indi- other everything that’s For a vidual. manager, it’s not happened during the the information week but to ensure that that makes the We are increasingly moving towards multiple we’ve fully understood difference, it’s the tools with highly individualised processes, but meaning that hethe events that have oc- still in a collective context. Not everybody ne- attaches to the curred and are going to information. cessarily sees them in the same way. The diffi- occur. We have to make culty lies in creating professional communities sure that everyone has without making them too rigidly structured. properly understood. There are no minutes, and the system is very effective. mySFR and Collaborative tools are no replacement meetings, when combined, form a productive for meetings… whole. mySFR has not replaced meetings. We know that there are disadvantages to processes What role do managers play in a colla- and tools: a tool is one thing and physical borative space? contact is something quite different. Nothing For a manager, it’s not the information that can replace a face-to-face meeting. The key, makes the difference, it’s the meaning that perhaps, is to meet less often, but to make he attaches to the information. meetings more productive. For example, it is always easier to explain a lack of mobility to With the “collaborative space” system, he a manager in person rather than by using a no longer has as much time to think things collaborative tool. What we say is never the over. In this kind of setup, a manager has an same as what we write, but the two methods important role to play. To succeed, he must complement and strengthen each other. This have a hands-on management style, while is something I learned during my time at still acting as a leader. However, it doesn’t Carrefour. In a hypermarket, many different always work out that way. events happen over the course of two days. So it really is necessary to meet in person We find ourselves once again with a very at least once a week. You have to take an French paradox. In businesses, we are expe- across-the-board approach. riencing increasingly sharp and sudden changes, with managers questioning their At SFR, the aim of a meeting is not to com- roles. Today, some managers are looking at ment on the business’s current state. Instead things in the same way as their employees. it is a question of showing/demonstrating Ten years ago, that didn’t happen. The main changes in the company to the employees. reason for this behaviour is the fragility of We assess management’s ability in terms relations between people. It used to be true of response times to information being ex- that once managers reached a certain level, changed. Like pilots using a flight plan, mana- they would automatically represent autho- gers must make adjustments in real time and rity. They had real responsibility. Now, with constantly check all the parameters. all these communication tools, they carry less weight. The boundaries are less well So every morning someone from the HR de- defined, if they still exist at all. partment comes along for about two hours and goes through all the subjects, without So when you have intelligent middle ma- an agenda. The point isn’t just to tell each nagement, managers must be that much 11
  13. 13. stronger if they want to have an impact. weeding out less impor- It’s difficult to Those who manage to show they are strong tant information and only oblige employees to use a collabo- will be more richly rewarded than before. sending the really impor- rative tool. There Knowing how to take risks and master rela- tant stuff up to general are always those tional strategies is a major asset for a com- management. who get involved pany. At a certain level, it is not intelligence and those who don’t. We can’t or expertise that makes the difference, but Collaborative tools help force people to the ability to stay the same, whether one is them with this, as ma- get involved. addressing an employee, a trade-union re- nagers no longer need presentative, a politician or the media. It’s to waste time being important for managers, whether dealing ambassadors. Freed from this role, they can with people via the collaborative tool or one- dedicate themselves 100% to their particular to-one, to stay on-message in terms of their area , while still processing information from role in the business. other areas. This means employees can do cross-field work without asking permission Deployment of the strategic plan must from the manager in the other area. Care generate innovation and responsi- must be taken, as in France we work in a veness… very top-down system. In this case, the tool Messages on corporate strategy sent is likely to run into problems. through the internal communication system must immediately be assimilated by mana- A collaborative tool: a tool that will help gement. Assuming that the manager deploys instil values the strategy correctly, it is up to him to find We used the merger with Neuf/Cegetel as an the skills, within his own teams or elsewhere, opportunity to work on this subject. With five to carry it through. mySFR plays a central values at SFR and four at Neuf, we decided role in this process. to make 5 + 4 = 3. We kept SFR’s “responsi- bility”, which defines the institutional side of It’s too early to know to what extent the tool the company, the “daring” of Neuf, which cor- has helped enhance managers’ strategic vi- responded both to their identity and to our sion. Ideally, we’d have information flowing culture, and finally “simplicity”, a value that back and forth, continually fuelled from be- was not found at either company. We explai- low. This tool should encourage innovation ned why we kept one value from SFR and and responsiveness. At present, however, one from Neuf. It worked well and the Neuf/ it destroys the system because information Cegetel employees were delighted that one comes down from the top too quickly. The of their values was being kept. For them, it manager isn’t given enough time to process was also a means of retaining a part of their the information, so the response comes back identity. We spent eighteen months thinking too quickly as well. It’s a major drawback about these values, and mySFR contributed when you get a senior executive talking di- considerably to the work involved in choosing rectly to employees. them. The more high-performance tools we offer, It’s essential to spend time on corporate va- the more groundwork has to be done on lues. For example, for the merger of Caisse the manager’s role, both downwards and d’Épargne and Banque Populaire, the two upwards. Some people are excellent at companies channelled considerable energy 12
  14. 14. into moving from red and blue into purple. There was no dominant or dominated bu- siness. The subtlety of the change in colour is interesting, and certainly has a unifying effect. When SFR/Neuf/Cegetel merged, whichever company our employees’ originally worked with was irrelevant. Everyone knew that we would be evaluating skills, rather than playing favourites depending on which of the merged brands people came from. As a result, all three values immediately gained unanimous acceptance, especially “simplicity”. Social medium, future tools for the community company When a concept such as mySFR is being developed, those who choose not to use it exclude themselves. It is difficult to com- pel employees to use a collaborative tool. There are always those who get involved and those who don’t. We cannot force people to get involved. Some contribute without the tool, others use it; others combine both ap- proaches. Listening to our employees’ expectations remains an important part of our human resources policy. With mySFR, we are there- fore attempting to combine technology with human capital to strengthen this listening process, and help make our employees more employable. We don’t want to make this tool a gimmick, popping up everywhere in the Vivendi group. Instead, we want our employees to provide the ideas. It’s a chance, and this is what is interesting here, to have a few surprises as the tool develops. It is therefore difficult for us to predict how it will develop. 13
  15. 15. The effects of social networks on business strategy Dominique Turcq President of the Boostzone Institute Former expert with France’s Economic Planning Authority, and former McKinsey & Cy partner, Dominique Turcq now teaches regularly at the best schools of management, including HEC. Founder of the Boostzone Institute, a consultancy company and research organisation, he is principally concerned with how the world of work relates to society at large, especially in the fields of strategy and forecasting. His clients are Fortune 500 companies. During our interview, Dominique Turcq shared his fascination with the impact of social media on the development and implementation of corporate strategy. 14
  16. 16. Example of a collaborative Companies need to integrate access to these organisation: Cisco different technologies into their organisation. On 15 October 2008, in front of a group of As with Cisco, this will require willingness on students from MIT, John Chambers, the CEO the part of the chairman and commitment of Cisco, explained how he turned his business from the business as a whole at all levels. into a collaborative organisation. Thanks to this new model, he was able to progress from one Maximising the strategic impact of initiative per year to twenty-six conducted in social media parallel. The move involved a radical change of What we need to talk about is impact, as these approach for him, as it went against his natural media will change both strategy and manage- tendency to run everything himself and ended ment. Strategy is the science of allocating the company’s pyramid structure. He had to scarce resources to a given objective. The bid farewell to a quarter of his managers who scarcest resources these days are people refused to follow these new work methods. It’s and information. People are connected, either easy to see how this new approach led to a internally or externally, through new social me- number of profound changes at managerial dia: professional networks. These networks level. Fifty people and a whole year of work will have an impact on the corporate world, an were needed to introduce the new techno- impact that will translate into major changes logies. But the most difficult and lengthy in both strategy and management. In fact, the process was altering behaviour patterns and collaborative mode will allow more effective introducing a new form of management. Too pursuit of the three principal objectives essen- often we imagine that the solution lies in tech- tial for any business to survive: productivity, nology, but this is a serious mistake. Users innovation and commitment. need to be capable of using several techno- logies at once, not just one, even though the We should be suspicious of the aficionados of companies who develop these technologies new technologies who think that they should unsuccessfully try to integrate new applica- be a strategic lever for businesses. Those sel- tions into their basic package. For example, ling ERP2 made the same exaggerated claims Facebook tried to become Twitter1 with its a few years ago. Technology means nothing “what are you doing today?” feature, but this without proper management of the change in is still not working well, as Twitter is currently the organisation using it. In contrast, the com- the leading application for microblogging. pany that can use both new technology and 1 Twitter : Twitter is a social-networking and microblogging tool that allows users to send free messages called tweets, with a maximum of 140 characters, via the Internet, either by instant messaging or by SMS (definition at www.wikipedia. fr on 23 July 2009). 2 ERP : Integrated management software (Enterprise Resource Planning). 15
  17. 17. organisation can gain real advantages over variables that are continually growing in our its competitors in the field by creating two in- environment, businesses must always have tangible assets. The first is the “information a strategic plan drawn up as a beta plan. asset”, which is based on the capacity for However long the duration of the plan, be managing, codifying and circulating informa- it three or ten years, businesses must learn tion more efficiently and using it to serve the to work with beta versions, both in relation objectives laid down in the strategy. Secondly, to the strategic plan and in relation to the there is the “relational asset”, which measures budget dedicated to it. This is borne out the company’s ability to encourage all its particularly in a crisis, when it is impossible employees to interact better with each other for top management to make twelve-month and with the outside world. This involves new forecasts for their business. Working with a forms of communication within the business, beta version allows adjustments and changes such as company directories, forums, inter- to be made easily at any stage. This method nal and external communities, and so on: all is already applied in small and medium-sized radically different structures that encourage businesses, but it will require huge changes collaborative working. in larger companies where the rigidity of the budget and the three-year plan creates real Strategic vision constraints just when flexibility is essential. Top managers know how to build up a strate- gic vision. Things become complicated when Changing work organisations unforeseeable variables have to be integra- Generally, businesses come up against pro- ted, such as swine flu (or another pandemic) blems when a strategic plan is rolled out. or events whose severity cannot be predic- Knowing how to implement a plan, how to ted. The financial crisis is in this category of ensure that people understand and follow it, event. Unpredictable variables also include and how to encourage employees to change the profound impact of social networks on systems and behaviour patterns, are the the corporate world. Nobody can currently great challenges that top management faces predict their true impact as they will bring today. General de Gaulle used to say “l’inten- about a dramatic change in all jobs and dance suivra” (material support will follow). hence in interrelations, and because this is Unfortunately, this is only rarely the case in a systemic impact, its magnitude cannot be the corporate world. It is thus hardly surpri- estimated. The large-scale arrival of Genera- sing to see that strategic consultants are tion Y3 from 2012 onwards, and the end of often also organisational consultants. The the baby-boomers4 era in 2020 also consti- organisational changes we will face will be tute data that should be taken into account in much more significant than in previous years. strategic vision. The term BU (business unit), coined in the 1980s by McKinsey & Cy, marked a major The strategic plan: a beta-plan5 change in the field of business management. In order to take account of these unpredictable It involved changing a business into a number 3 The term “Generation Y” indicates people born between the late 1970s and the mid-1990s. 4 Baby boomers are those born immediately after the Second World War. 5 The beta test is the second test period for a computer product prior to its publication. By extension, the term “beta” indicates a process during a test period. 16
  18. 18. Executive Committees must set an example by being the primary business community. A business capable of doing that will have a great competitive advantage that will help it to become a community company by reproducing throughout its ranks everything that is done at the highest level. of small entities, entities that were required process, but it will be feasible tomorrow as to have the same flexibility as an SME. The social media are providing solutions within benefits of this new approach were particu- this domain. We are beginning to identify lea- larly well suited to the needs of the time. Now ders who have good ideas, and we know how the need is to reinvent the concept of the Bu- to evaluate them. For example, if you go to a siness Unit. Is it a community? Is it a group forum, it won’t take you long to recognise the of communities? Is it a new method for ma- two or three individuals who stand out from naging belonging to different networks? What the other three thousand participants. They will be the implications of these concepts for will be the ones who are interested in wor- individuals and the organisations to which king together with other employees to draw they belong? All these questions have been up the strategy. asked, and are as yet unanswered. Alongside that, a new form of management still has to The Executive Committee: the primary be invented. Our organisation into silos will business community evolve. There will be fewer silos, and their na- The strategic director is a fast-vanishing ture will change. Management will then need species in the corporate world. Until two to be reinvented to adapt to this new organi- years ago, I was the chairman of Afplane, sational structure. These are the challenges the French Association of Business Strate- we will face over the next ten years. gists. I fought so that all the members of the Executive Committee could join this associa- Knowing how to identify the leaders tion, whether they were financial directors or I do not believe in the intelligence of the human resources directors. For me, each masses, or in their wisdom. I do not think it member of the Executive Committee plays reasonable to believe that strategy can be an important role in drawing up and imple- drawn up on a participatory basis. On the menting strategy. The Executive Committee, contrary, one needs to be able to identify, nowadays, does not function as a commu- within a unit, those who can contribute in one nity. It is merely an ill-defined area where way or another to drawing up the strategy. people discuss ideas and results, and share This may not be feasible today, as we do not information of mutual interest. However, no have the necessary tools for this identification Executive Committee has a forum, that is, 17
  19. 19. an area for asynchronous exchanges. Many Second Life is on the wane and it makes work via videoconferences and telemeetings, sense to abandon this option and leave the but hardly any have an interactive work plat- island. form. This is an absurd situation, given that, in a world where we need to work together, On the other hand, it makes sense to see Executive Committees must set an example certain social networks inside or outside the by being the primary business community. business as real options, once again in or- A business capable of doing that will have a der to observe what’s going on. I believe in great competitive advantage that will help it particular that it is important to be on Twit- to become a community business by repro- ter, a network that is currently a real option. ducing throughout its ranks everything that is Twitter will have only one lifetime; one day it done at the highest level. Cisco clearly under- will decline and be replaced with something stood this, and the results were soon seen in else, but right now it embodies the advent the business’s performance. of microblogging. By exercising this option, we see how it works, what mistakes other Identifying the real options people make, and what applications are The “beta” concept which we saw for the possible when this type of network reaches strategic plan must have two dimensions. maturity. The first dimension makes the business agile, pushing it to build flexibility and always The leaders’ new fields be on the alert. This allows the business to A leader asks a whole series of recurring see what needs to be changed and make the questions: “Can I be a good leader without change even if it seems These being in the field? Can I remain a leader for radical. The second networks will have long if I’m in the field too much?” A new field dimension introduces an impact on the of expression, the blog, has now appeared. the concept of the “real corporate world, If I’m leading a company in the retail sector, an impact that option”. A real option is will translate into I have to be out there in the shops; but if I something you do on a major changes in spend too much time with store managers, I pilot basis (hence the no- both strategy and can no longer attend to the management of tion of “option”), and that management. my business. The same applies to the new can at any time be acted virtual territories. A manager who spends on, not acted on, or rejected. This means it too much time on his blog inevitably ne- is possible to go ahead with initiatives that glects the management side. So is a blog have not been fully validated, and whose life- necessary? A manager must be present in span depends on how useful they turn out to all fields: internally, on the markets and with be in helping the company achieve its goals. clients, partners, suppliers and financial, It’s up to senior management to identify the political and institutional players. To do this, real options that are available and that can be he must choose the form best suited to his deployed. For example, over the past three abilities and the business’s needs. Today he years it was very important for companies to can choose between physical and virtual take out real options on Second Life. It was presence. He has to define the form of his important to have an ‘island’ to understand presence in the field, and ensure he strikes who was visiting the site, what was going the right balance between time spent in the on there, how it all worked and what kind of field and time spent on management and virtual interactions were taking place. Today, other activities. This issue is not new, but the 18
  20. 20. arrival of social networks has made it more quality and productivity. Everything pressing. that is said today Alongside this collective can become training there will be col- virtual… This The virtual world arrives within the real lective coaching. Groups will have a world of individuals will form profound Everything that is said today can become change on our and receive outside help relations with virtual, and what is said in the virtual world from a forum, in which the real world. remains virtual. In other words, what you do professionals can answer in the real world already exists in the virtual their questions. In parallel, world. This will lead to a profound change in e-learning will continue to develop, in parti- our relations with the real world. Businesses cular by expanding its scope. must now adapt their communication to the virtual world. This adaptation will result in Finally, and this perhaps is the greatest greater transparency and put a stop to all innovation, we will see training courses forms of hypocrisy and stonewalling. It is which mix synchronous and asynchronous no longer possible to lie, as the trap is set e-learning, combined with training in the instantly, and the harm done causes loss of classroom. Today, it’s obvious that if an trust. This question of truth and transparency employee wishes to undertake training, is naturally raised for Executive Committees, he starts by searching the Internet to see but it now also applies to all employees be- what is available (asynchronous search of cause of the virtual footprints they leave on presentation documents) and then opts for professional or private networks. Such a training in the classroom or on WebEx6. change requires expert internal management Businesses must take this new aspect into and a major change in the behaviour of indi- account in their training plans and find the viduals. The approach is identical to the one companies that can give them what they used in traditional communication. Things need. just move faster and run deeper. Training: a new challenge for A new approach to training management Many of our standard practices in the field LBasic training will continue to use traditio- of training will need changing. Firstly be- nal methods, but will rely more and more on cause we will increasingly be making use of the responsibility and commitment of mana- collective training or collective coaching. gers. In Japan, this type of training has been Collective training allows individuals in a around for many years. Every morning, ma- same group to help each other with simple nagers provide their teams with ten minutes problems, such as developing a macro in of training. Managers play a real part in pas- Excel, or with more complex issues, such sing on enhanced information and messages. as responding to a client in a specific si- Everybody can access information, but there tuation. It is one of the revolutions in the is nothing like interaction with management, collaborative world, as this method saves preferably in person, to enhance these mes- time, avoids unnecessary expense (espe- sages. This is a real opportunity for mana- cially travel costs) and improves teamwork gement: to go back to the front line and 6 is a professional site that makes it possible to organise online meetings or conferences that are interactive, simple and secure. 19
  21. 21. This question of truth and transparency is raised… for all employees because of the virtual footprints they leave on private or professional networks. rediscover a form of legitimacy that has been three objectives are not mutually exclusive, lost in recent decades. but they must be placed in order of priority or there will be too much to handle at once. To do that, however, they need to be trained. Next, the company must look for places There is a real black hole and lack of trai- where pilot projects or real options can be ning in this area, especially within Executive put in place. This means you can see whether Committees. In an Executive Committee, things are working and analyse reactions. Fi- cross-field work is simply not done unless nally, there is a need to determine what the the Chairman says so. A recent article in the business can rely on internally. Organisations Wall Street Journal explained that top ma- always contain teams that have already de- nagement in America rarely published their veloped collaborative working methods. By profiles on professional social networks, and using what already exists, these methods sometimes their profiles were even missing can be expanded right across the business. from internal directories. Much groundwork These are the benefits for organisations therefore needs to be done with manage- wishing to acquire a competitive advantage ment committees, requiring know-how that by becoming a community company before not every training company has acquired. their competitors do. However, this is where we need to start if we wish to develop this new method of colla- borative working. The community company: where do I begin? When a company tackles the challenge of be- coming a community company, it must start by understanding what it wants to do, and to do that, set priorities in terms of objectives. Depending on whether it wants to involve it- self more in productivity, innovation or com- mitment, the process will be different. The 20
  22. 22. 21
  23. 23. Towards the 2.0 business and e-transformation Michel Germain Deputy Director of Arctus and Associate Lecturer with Celsa Michel Germain specialises in the management of Web systems. For the past ten years, he has worked as a consultant in the field of ICT (Internet, Intranet, Extranet), providing scoping, project support, evaluations, organisational assessments and change management programmes. Previously, he held operations management positions in the field of communication with international companies (Elf Aquitaine, CCF, etc.). A PhD and a university lecturer associated with Celsa (Université Paris-Sorbonne), he has written Management of New Technology and e-Transformation and Conducting an Intranet Project, published by Economica. He is the founder of the Intranet Commission, which investigates the deployment of new technologies in the corporate world. 22
  24. 24. As long ago as 1937 Karl Ludwig Von Berta- A quick look at our environment reveals that lanffy, author of the General Theory System, it has been invaded by communication tools. drew a distinction between open and closed Mobile phones, games consoles, laptop com- systems. Later on, he explained that every puters, PDAs, smart-phones, BlackBerries, system is subject to two equal and oppo- etc. A growing number of everyday items site tensions. On one hand, homeostasis is communicate with the Internet. the tendency to remain stationary, which is essential for stability of complex systems. Internet stages and business On the other hand, there is the capacity for To understand how Internet has infiltrated the transformation and the desire for change. corporate world, we need to distinguish the principal stages in its development. This is These two characteristics are what busi- not an exhaustive list, but basically there are nesses are experiencing because of new tech- three stages. nologies, especially when “we are in a time of systemic uncertainty”, as explained by Élie Co- 1/ The reality of Web 1.0 hen, Economics Lecturer at Sciences Po. Just Although it is now behind us, Web 1.0 initially over 40 years ago, Marshall McLuhan remin- took the form of production of static Internet ded us that “the present is invisible”. For that sites. These sites allowed both individuals reason, each innovation of any importance and businesses to begin communicating on produces, within the central nervous system, the Web by publishing textual information in a self-protective anaesthesia that causes us addition to their other printed publications. to forget that “the media are extensions of human faculties (physical or psychological)... This first step was necessary for cultural The extension of any sense alters the way in acclimatisation. By extension, it helped bu- which we think and act, and the way in which sinesses to develop, internally and in many we perceive the world”. different forms, Intranet applications geared towards their employees or Extranet appli- The sole aim of this preamble is to raise the cations aimed at working with suppliers or question of each person’s level of under- service providers. The range subsequently standing of ongoing changes in both life and broadened to include different services with business. Do we necessarily have to wait increasing levels of interaction. This led to the (perhaps until it’s too late) to see the effect building of e-business that was organised B of the major developments that we are wit- to E (employee-related), B to C (client-connec- nessing? What will be the most significant de- ted), B to B (related to other businesses and velopments in the near future, at a time when suppliers), and finally B to A or B to G (to the information and communication technology authorities and government). (ICT) already forms an integral part of the world around us? 23
  25. 25. With regard to the Intranet in particular, this Profiling, by means of a suitable administra- first generation was built up progressively, tion system, involves determining the profes- first by adding information and communica- sional and hierarchical profile of individuals in tion functions and then by adding participa- order to determine the information they need tion and knowledge-management functions. and the applications they may access when On the one hand, the concept of collabora- carrying out their duties. The benefits of this tion involves computerisation of everyday option are readily apparent: the person in processes (leave applications, expenses, re- question benefits from high-quality informa- servations, work requests, etc.) defined as tion, which is in smaller quantities and thus workflows. On the other hand, it is expressed easier to digest; and the business knows for through Business Units, management or de- sure what each person is accessing. partments setting up workspaces through the GroupWare approach. At the same time, Personalisation complements the previous the Intranet most frequently evolves from a functions by allowing employees to look at centralised tool into a decentralised system a range of optional contents and choose in which each entity participates in building those that suit them and answer their needs. up a central knowledge resource. It could be said that a well-adapted and tar- geted service has replaced a generic and The original self-service system of acces- everyday range of services. sing information, which on occasions led to “infobesity” because insufficient thought This overall process forms part of a new went into how to structure knowledge, has approach in businesses, where a cross-field now given way to the question of how new approach is superimposed onto the tradi- technology contributes to the efficiency of tional vertical structure. Here, concepts of the business as a whole. Originally a “cost “communities of interest” and “communities centre”, the Intranet becomes a “profit of practice” have increasing importance. centre” when indicators are set up to define the return that it provides in terms of pro- To gain a better understanding of the nature ductivity and overall performance. of the Social Web, it seems important to spe- cify its different dimensions. The Social Web 2/ The seven dimensions of Web 2.0 combines the multiplying effects of social The second form of the web is known as “Web networks and social signals, the “rich media”, 2.0” or “Social Web”. It differs from the first geomanagement, graphic interfaces, noma- form in that it involves the users themselves dism, composite applications and dynamic in- in the production of content through technical terfaces, concepts that we will develop later. devices that are becoming simpler and sim- pler (such as blogs or wikis). It also differs 3/ Social networks and social signals because it has many interaction mechanisms. The significant progress made by social The value of content is indissociable from the networks is an expression of the formalisation discussions or reactions that it gives rise to. of Web communities and the willingness of Internet surfers to come together according In business, Intranet 2.0 exploits the various to their interests. It confirms the central place functions and features of the social web. The of individuals within the networks. Various earlier information service has been replaced forms of social networking include the PSN with a “profiled” and “personalised” Internet. (professional social network) such as LinkedIn 24
  26. 26. Any business is at worst a social network that does not realise it, and at best a working organisation that has only sketchy knowledge of the system of connections between the individuals that make it up. and Viadeo, the FOAF (Friend of a Friend) or Internet users receive through RSS links. These relational networks with co-opting such as allow users to “tag” information that they find Friendster, Meetic or Netfriends, share sites useful, revealing their interests in the process. (YouTube, Dailymotion) and socialising sites (Facebook, MySpace, Flickr). Recently there And in business… has been an expansion in thematic networks Any business is at worst a social network that (for senior citizens, such as SagaZone, for does not realise it, and at best a working or- children, such as Club Penguin, and for stu- ganisation that has only sketchy knowledge dents, such as Studigg), as well as confessio- of the system of connections between the nal (religious) networks. This diversity reflects individuals that make it up. The first mate- the way Web communities are structured. rial expression of this is found in the internal An individual may belong to several different directory and organisation chart. Updating networks at once, and this reveals his/her dis- these raises recurring issues in terms of tinct tastes and personality traits. what parameters to use to identify indivi- duals (private, family, professional, geogra- The concept of “social signals” also plays a phical, etc.), what changes have occurred, key role. It is based on exploiting the tracea- and how much is known about changes in bility inherent in the use of the Internet. The individual . At the same time, the internal di- combined total of tracks left by an Internet rectory becomes a central application for the user can define his profile and interests. Web- networked company, because of the process credibility mechanisms draw on these multiple of webification. The meta-directory makes it tracks to determine the preferences of surfers possible to precisely determine rights mana- with regard to specific content. In particular, gement and overall administration: who can social signals lead to the concept of “Folkso- access what information, how and to what nomy”, in other words, the identification of the extent? precise vocabulary adopted by web users du- ring their searches to deduce its correlation In a 2.0 business approach, updating infor- with the taxonomy of keywords used to orga- mation in the directory and the related orga- nise site content. This dimension of the So- nisation chart, is now carried out on a decen- cial Web also takes account of the alerts that tralised basis by the individuals themselves 25
  27. 27. and no longer on a centralised basis by a forums, workspaces or updates to the Intra- specific management team. net provide a quantifiable indication of their level of participation in network systems, and The employees themselves are the most hea- therefore their contribution to the business. vily involved in updating, in that they are the Instead of making the mistake of doing a primary beneficiaries; they are the most ac- purely “volumetric” (and thus meaningless) curate source of information, especially when assessment of what people produce, it is it relates to personal situations. Getting the possible, through more subtle analysis, to individual to do the updating is a significant measure the real contribution made by em- managerial change. Each individual becomes ployees. responsible for his or her own “internal” mar- keting. They may even be asked to expand This area in particular gives human resources upon so-called “essential” and “compulsory” managers new food for thought on methods information with more personal information for evaluating contributions. In more deve- on their skills, previous professional expe- loped forms, the fact that Intranet adminis- rience, software skills, countries visited, lan- tration methods are moving towards decen- guages spoken, etc. tralised contributions makes it possible to quantify contributions. Again, the procedure The increased gathering of data accessible allows new evaluation parameters to be defi- through the directory is transforming it into ned according to the objectives set for each a mine of information and skills within the bu- person. siness. The HR department could be the first to benefit from this, refining its HR planning Rich media methods and promoting internal mobility, The term rich media refers to the increasing etc. On another level, the process makes it use of animated images on the Internet as easier for employees to identify skills them- well as simple text. In addition to the strength selves. In addition, this directory makes it ea- of its visual and emotional impact, video be- sier to create and manage internal expertise comes interactive (as will television in the networks. near future). Video podcasts are multiplying on Intranet and Internet sites because they In business, social signals are the reverse of are easy to produce using digital cameras the systematic traceability that results from and mobile phones or “smart phones”. The the use of information and communication spread of rich media on the Internet has technologies. This risk of institutionalised been made possible by increasing authorised “policing” is certainly open to criticism. There bandwidths, due to the spread of fibre optics is also an aspect of self-regulation and gover- in particular but also due to the bandwidths nance, which is likely to make both initiators of Web-enabled mobile phones. Specifically, and contributors more careful about what producing images is clearly becoming easier they do. and quicker than writing and publishing text. On another level, the concept of traceability Similarly, the 3D universe is testimony to can also be used positively, while still res- the progress made by virtual worlds. The pecting the individual, to support the ma- combination of video games and Web 2.0 nagerial dynamic of the business. In fact, has given rise to the “metaverse”, or meta- contributions by an employee to blogs, universe. This results from the convergence 26
  28. 28. of visual representations of reality and their and circulate messages from senior manage- appearance in virtual space. In varying pro- ment, report on strategic or tactical events, portions, the metaverse combines notions of or simply to diversify the way information is identity (self-representation) and interactivity presented. on the one hand, and graphic interfaces and The growth and dynamic relational networks on the other Other less easily iden- complexity of the mass of documents hand. tifiable aspects might are giving rise to also be mentioned. new ways of repre- There are already several different types of For instance creating senting information virtual universes: generalised universes, such a podcast or internal and exploring knowledge. as Second Life, There, HiPiHi and Kaneva; video means that the those with restricted access, such as World manager interviewed, of Warcraft; or private universes, such as whatever his/her level, is directly involved in the virtual worlds of Intel Software College, formulating the message. This means he/she Michelin, Qwak or Vastpark. These universes takes responsibility for that message, which offer significant benefits for e-learning by of- shortens the decision-making circuit com- fering a wide variety of possible simulations, pared to a text drafted by others and then case studies and group work scenarios. subjected to repeated proofreading until final approval is given. And in business... For about ten years now, businesses have Geolocation and geomanagement been making increasing use of graphic and Geomanagement is another dimension of In- dynamic data (pictures, sounds, videos, ternet applications. Based on geographical etc.). Where documentary resources used traceability, it uses the functions of the Inter- to involve just texts and figures, they now in- net and of GPS either separately or together. clude an increasing variety of media. Some cameras now include geographical details when a photo is taken, making it pos- But this is not all. The traditional predomi- sible to automatically sort photos according nance of the written word is being progressi- to location and date taken. Sophisticated vely eroded because of its limitations in terms software packages such as Geoloc provide of production time (drafting), especially as an Internet site owner with detailed mapping validation and publication procedures are still of his/her surfers and show what other sites based on traditional hierarchical and often they move on to after theirs. Sites such as time-consuming processes. Now, small-scale Google Earth or Visual Earth give detailed audio-visual productions (video podcasts, access to photographic coverage of the etc.) are creating a paradigm shift. This does entire world. Over time, they are becoming not mean that pictures will automatically enriched with a wealth of detailed information replace text, but that they will increasingly on each point presented, much to the benefit complement each other. Pictures have emo- of GIS (geographical information systems). tional impact; text has the thoroughness and neutrality that commentary requires. This ex- And in business... plains the increased use of video or sound in Geolocation opens up a whole range of pos- business (business Web TV, internal Web ra- sibilities for businesses. Fleet-management dio, internal televised magazines, audio and functions allow real-time monitoring of fleets video podcasts, etc.) to illustrate, back up of cars, vans or lorries, supervision and 27
  29. 29. Web 3.0 will underscore two essential concepts, namely government (shared rules regarding the use of networked technologies) and interoperability (the capacity of applica- tions to connect and exchange with others without the need for complex handling processes). optimisation of trips or deliveries, anticipa- searching for. Also it obviously entails prior work tion of problem areas, vehicle safety, and an on the structuring and organisation of data. accurate knowledge of where employees are located in the field. Analysis of the geographi- The most significant examples of this trend cal data obtained allows an overall strategic are the advent of cartographic search en- vision to be drawn up, client visits to be opti- gines such as Kartoo or Grokker. Search mised, trips by medical visitors or sales reps results are shown in graphic form to make to be made more efficient, itineraries to be it easier to find what you’re looking for. Ad- calculated, etc. ditionally, the increased use of conceptual and heuristic maps helps present complex Above all, the combination of mobile te- objects graphically, making it easier to lephony, mobile computing and the resulting understand realities and move within their permanent contact with staff in the field, fa- boundaries. These representations are also cilitates interaction and increases efficiency. becoming wholly separate formalisation They will thus provide increased understan- methods, for example for hypertext construc- ding of work that has been done. Additionally, tion using tools such as Mind Map. Finally, geomarketing supports this by providing in- tools such as Miner 3D make it possible to depth knowledge of the areas where initia- create 2D or 3D graphics to represent finan- tives have been carried out. cial data, data mining, etc. Graphic interfaces And in business… The growth and complexity of the mass of Graphic interfaces offer new possibilities for documents accessible via the Internet are portraying knowledge. This is the case, for leading to new ways of representing informa- example, with the use of dynamic mapping tion and exploring knowledge. They involve processes as Intranet access interfaces. Em- replacing traditional homepages (with their ployees can travel freely within the tree struc- sometimes excessive number of hyperlinks) ture available to them to obtain the precise in- with dynamic mapping. This allows surfers formation that they are looking for. The main to navigate within the information on offer benefit of this type of application is that it to access the specific elements they are forces users to think carefully about the envi- 28
  30. 30. ronment of their queries, and this can some- in map mode on your mobile phone. It also times help them come up with other useful helps you find the most convenient drop-off choices. point for your bike. In the fields of brainstorming, benchmarking Advances made in electronics, miniaturisa- and creativity, heuristic maps facilitate the tion and increased bandwidth have made the production and organisation of ideas. Here, mobile phone into a kind of Swiss Army knife the right and left halves of the brain are ac- that in its most advanced form combines a tually used simultaneously, while in traditional telephone, a video-conferencing facility, a idea-production methods, the left (reasoning) camera, an MP3 player, a video player, an side of the brain is stimulated more than the FM radio, a diary, an address book, an e-mail right (emotional and imaginative) side. and instant messaging service, SMS and MMS, and audio and video podcast mana- On a completely different point, this cartogra- gement. With all these features, the mobile phic mode has the advantage of making com- phone is helping narrow the “digital divide” by plexity easier to understand and accessible reducing the cost of accessing the Internet to a large number of people from various and increasing access to the information and fields. Thus, cartographic modelling of the knowledge available. Above all, it makes it information architecture of an Intranet allows possible to work in any situation. the same document to show: • The tree structure (information system). And in business… • Details of contributors and approval givers The ease of remaining in contact and contac- (contribution system). ting any employee anywhere means that • Who is responsible for each item of content nomadism is on the increase. Employees of (validation system). Bouygues Telecom have access to a number • The metadata required for each item of of applications and functions on their compa- content (knowledge-management system). ny’s Intranet from their mobile phones as well This type of map can thus be read in a num- as from their computers. They can thus send ber of ways and facilitates understanding of leave applications or check a client’s request the system as a whole. while out of the office. Mobility and nomadism This shift towards nomadism supports the The acronym ATAWAD (Any Time, AnyWhere, spread of the fundamental trend towards the Any Device) has found its full application with Web as a global operating system. This trend the expansion of nomad tools such as lap- sees applications available on a computer top computers and especially web-enabled (text editing, spreadsheet, etc.) being mo- mobile phones. As a means of accessing the ved onto servers accessible online, making Internet, the computer is being replaced by a the Internet into a global system. It is now range of devices that can communicate with possible to work online, for example using each other, and the “embedded” Internet. Google Apps, eliminating the need to install, update and develop applications. In the same For example, Vélib (the Paris self-service bike way, the economic model is changing radical- rental scheme) becomes ten times easier to ly as we no longer purchase software (which use when you can view the nearest stations is a fixed asset) but a right of use, in a form and the number of bikes available at any time similar to a hire arrangement. 29
  31. 31. Composite applications concept of the “ex- 2.0 e-learning These applications involve the creation of panded business”). It is based on three postulates: new services (software) by combining diffe- now becomes possible learning is person- rent functions and services accessible on the to link various applica- centred, learning Internet without the need for new develop- tions within the same is ’immersive’, ment. A significant example of this kind of site interface and open up learning is ‘connective’. is Housingmaps. This American real-estate the information system. company has combined Excel spreadsheets This means internal ap- with lists of apartments for rent or sale with plications and those of suppliers and clients the Google Maps application. This combina- can interact. tion results in a dynamic map of the United States showing property for sale or rent in Dynamic interfaces areas where it has a presence. Zooming in on The evolution of interfaces, the embedded the city of your choice gives you the precise power of processors in various applications locations of houses and apartments, and ac- (computers and nomadic tools), and the ap- cess to photos of the property in question. pearance of new languages such as Ajax, herald the development of new presentation Other similar applications exist in hospitals, tools that allow the user to take control of allowing them to track the spread of an epi- their environment by organising the arrange- demic across an area. These uses, known ment and presentation of information on their as “mashups” or “web application hybrids”, own computer. NetVibes is an example of this show the cumulative power of Internet appli- new generation. Users accessing the site are cations and the open field they offer for crea- initially invited to specify their interests accor- tivity, in a wide variety of business or leisure ding to identified groups. The application of- applications. fers them distinct themes, and they can then organise the content groups to get the pre- And in business… sentation arrangement that best suits their The main benefit of bringing together different needs. This development mirrors the way the services accessible through a tailor-made Web is moving from a “broadcast” approach interface is that it meets the distinct needs (the same for all) towards a “nanocast” ap- of several groups of users. This process re- proach in the context of the Social Web, in duces integration work and helps increase which each user develops his own universe. effectiveness. Above all, this approach is flexible as it separates the service provided And in business… from the different technologies that make it The gradual introduction of these applica- up. It leads the company to set up, progres- tions into the field of the Intranet encourages sively and easily, an SOA (service-oriented employees to use it by allowing them to orga- application) architecture. It also benefits from nise and configure their working environment the shift of the market towards the increased themselves. Combined with a dynamic inter- use of applications in SaaS (Software as a face, the process of profiling and personali- Service) hosted mode, most of which offer sation helps to configure a virtual office as this integration function. close as possible to users’ needs, but above all, it helps to involve users and give them a Changes are also afoot in the business’s sense of responsibility. Additionally, the ad- relationship with clients and suppliers (the ministrators responsible for the information 30