What is social business really about


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A Future of Collaborative Enterprise white paper

To be able to give useful, even imperfect, answers, one has first to ask the right questions.

By drawing patterns from all given interviews and making sense of gathered insights, by digging deeper into many assumptions about what collaboration means for and inside organizations, as a result from the first phase of interviews in the course of the project, we formulated some of the questions we now have to seriously ask ourselves in order to take a sustainable advantage from the technology at our disposal, and to make further steps toward a true Collaborative Enterprise.

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What is social business really about

  1. 1. What IsSocial BusinessReally About?
  2. 2. Foreword The only single thing which has to be taken things have changed. Enterprise 2.0, as term, of the questions and challenges tackled by the Trying to give answers to the wicked problems for granted in our era of uncertainty is the fact is now challenged by Social Business, an Social-Business-Enterprise-2.0 world rely on most organizations are tackling today is of that many of the mechanisms which underlay expression notably promoted by IBM, showing these remaining unchanged assumptions. But immoderate ambition, possibly way beyond business structures have to undergo deep not only a semantic shift, but a change in are we sure we are asking the right questions? the reach of the Future of Collaborative transformations in order to survive. The mass- focus from the academic world to the vendors’ Enterprise project. So, what is the point? To be production and mass-consumption logic realm, acknowledging a real business value, The aim of the Future of Collaborative able to give useful, even imperfect, answers, rooted in the XIXth industrial revolution which at least for them. Most of the concerns raised Enterprise project is to try to help one has first to ask the right questions. By prevailed most of the exchange of goods and by consultants and practitioners are no more organizations, consultants, vendors, and drawing patterns from all given interviews services since the end of WW2 is now stalled. about the right choice of tools and their anyone interested in the field, to catch a and making sense of gathered insights, by The present flavor of capitalism which rules consistency with the business world, but about glimpse of what an organization, leveraging digging deeper into many assumptions about over the rest of economical transactions (“the their adoption and the way to use them at collaboration through social software what collaboration means for and inside rest” being the lion’s share of it, as financial enterprise-wide advantage. platforms implementation as well as through organizations, as a result from the first phase transactions represent more than 93% of the organizational alignment, would look like in of interviews in the course of the project, we total economical exchanges) is breathless. In Nevertheless, many of the assumptions over the future. By interviewing experts from many formulated some of the questions we now this context, organizations must find new ways the needs of knowledge workers, over the fields, and then drafting scenarios through have to seriously ask ourselves in order to take to leverage efficiency, competitiveness and relationships between organizations, their design and future thinking methods, we aim a sustainable advantage from the technology innovation in order to thrive. partners, suppliers and customers, between at giving you insights on the sustainable at our disposal, and to make further steps organizations and the civil society, over the and actionable paths to a truly Collaborative toward a true Collaborative Enterprise. In the meantime, the internet has taken our links between our private and professional Enterprise. private life by storm, opening up new ways to lives, over the nature of work in a hyper- Thierry de Baillon access information and to connect to each connected world, haven’t been challenged June 2012 other at unprecedented speed. Learning, at all. We have made many of the social tools interacting, creating, will never be the same and services available on the public web again. Using the very same technologies compatible with enterprise’s requirements (as which are reshaping our relationships to the Ray Wang neatly described in his interview for world to transform businesses and empower the project 2, we are making them scalable, 1 Andrew McAfee’s definition of Enterprise 2.0 on his blog - May 2006 workers seems, at the very first place, a natural simple, safe, secure and sustainable), and we http://andrewmcafee.org/2006/05/enterprise_20_version_20/ move. Welcome to “the use of emergent threw them into organizations, trying then to 2 Ray Wang Enterprise class software follows five assets social software platforms within companies, make them fit into the way these organizations http://www.thefutureofcollaboration.com/2011/12/enterprise-class-software-follows-five-assets/ or between companies and their partners or operate. We monitor our customers’ voice and customers” 1. Since Professor McAfee first interact with them on the social channels they coined the term “Enterprise 2.0” in 2006, many use, without modifying our own behaviors. All2 3
  3. 3. Rethinking Technology The need for Open Software The Future is DIY Interoperability Rethinking Our Information Channels Intelligent Tools for the Future Is the Future Push or Pull?4 5
  4. 4. The Need for Open Software the intermediation of our relationships. While that the benefit of a new innovation doesn’t a strong emphasis is put on adopting these really start coming unless people start technologies in the day-to-day tasks, this adapting, not merely adopting, but they have assumes that today’s solutions, inspired from to adapt it, which means the original purpose similar services gaining huge traction on the for which it was build, that, of course people public web, are what workers need to get work are using it for that, but somebody has come done. But is this parallelism sustainable, or and found a new purpose for this, new even desirable? For Paula Thornton: innovation, using it for newer things, you are using it newer ways, right? So the adaptation “The challenge is that the environments are is still not there yet, of these technologies that different, and therefore, they typically require already exist.” a different sort of solutions, so that, there is this sort of transitional imitation that... What’s needed for the enterprise has to have go through a phase of being imitated into Adoption, even successfully driven, will be something else that works for the enterprise.” useless if we fail in providing workers with Adoption, even successfully driven, will be the right tools, which may not be what we useless if we fail in providing workers with are focusing on right now. the right tools, which may not be what we are focusing on right now. Even with the right set of tools, social software might fall This level of fast customizations of software, short from leveraging the right behaviors. both in terms of functionalities and of ways Of the 22 vendors analyzed in the 2011 as the lack of truly innovative open source “Work”, as we grasp it, not only has specific to use it, along with the support of a strong edition of Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Social breakthroughs, might well lead us to a world requirements, different from other activities, ecosystem, is something which has generally Software platforms 3, 5 (Atlassian, Acquia where “If SharePoint is the answer, what was but is also strongly dependent of the individual been associated with the Open Source Drupal, Liferay, XWiki and MindTouch) are the question?” as quite ironically says Rolf Idar who accomplish it. While we don’t mind so movement. To reach maturity, social software open source solutions. In a market dominated Isaksen. much suffering a few extra steps while using will have to find its own open community, by big commercial vendors 4 like Jive, IBM software for our personal activities, it should and to get deeper in the development, not of or NewsGator, open source contenders’ As in any technological sector, a risk of be an absolute no go when accomplishing a standard tools, but of standard languages to offering appears to be deeply rooted in wikis hegemony exists, but this could have been of business task, and these extra steps are highly develop custom tools and uses. The support and document management. To sustain minor annoyance if the implication wouldn’t personal. “Adoption” is needed at highest of OpenSocial by Jive, IBM or Atlassian, is just innovation, vendors use external growth be the lack of deep appropriation of the -conceptual- level, but for being useful for work a scratch on the surface of truly useful social acquiring specialized solutions and tools, tools by the ones they are conceived for. As purpose, social software needs to allow for software platforms. or, as Microsoft does around Sharepoint Isaksen states, “vendors expect us to work individual, as well as organizational, adaptation. 2010, build an ecosystem of independent the way they think while we should have one As Prem Kumar Aparanji explains: companies developing add-ons and focused more adaptable tool set because this is what solutions, but is this evolution favorable to the “See, the technology itself has not been 3 Magic Quadrant for Social Software in the Workplace is important for us now.” The use of social adopted enough. There are many fast movers - Gartner August 2011 development of the Collaborative Enterprise? software is nascent in many organizations, so Proprietary solutions’ dominance, as well is our understanding its role and influence in who have adopted it, but I always say this, 4 The Forrester Wave: Enterprise Social Platforms, Q3 20116 7
  5. 5. The Future is DIY developed, we consider the actor to be As tough as the challenge might be, leaving to predetermined to be dumb, to be able to the final user the responsibility and freedom do only a few certain things on the system. in the way he uses information while ensuring We assume that, and we assume that these its proper governance should be one of the actors are isolated elements. They are there primary intent of social software platforms. But only to trigger off these actions in the system enforcing ad hoc policies can only be achieved that we are building. But that is not what if the volume of data is kept manageable, actors are, right, so you have to start thinking which implies reducing redundancy and about the actor as an autonomous entity, avoiding being flooded by externally available which is able to take decisions by itself.” information without preventing access to it. Pushing social software into the DIY realm would be a bold step, but certainly the best Customization, at the personal worker’s Similarly, Paula Thornton says: and most efficient way to “solving people’s If social technology aims at empowering level, might have to go a lot farer for social problems that they currently have, giving people, it should start by allowing them to technology to keep up to its promise. “It’s not about applications. It’s about Adaptation of existing applications and discrete individual functions that maybe them tools to get their job done, not giving choose the tools and functions they want them tools that help the manager provide functions is a first step toward a deeper and we spin in the connections that... Oh, by more control”, as Brian Tullis says. Neither to use in a particular context. more radical change to make them able to get the way, we might call them applications. would it be an open path to IT anarchy, as integrated into work. These applications will Applications are dead, and until we get rid of this, instead, might provide a solution to the To achieve that, Professor Yuzuru Tanaka, from need to change state, from data manipulation things like SAP or use SAP simply as a data dilemma between freedom and regulation HokkaÏdo University, proposes a revolutionary mechanisms and interfaces, into placeholders storage mechanism and then append on top that most organizations are facing. Dr Pehong approach 5 to this problem: his Intelligent Pads for data, providing the necessary hooks for of it, all of these little micro-processes, or Chen explains how separating background allow, “using knowledge in their own context”, more discrete tools, adapted to single tasks, to micro-functions. And that we leverage SAP in data storage architecture from user-opted accessing and manipulating information by operate on top. the background, simply as the data store for manipulation functions could help enforcing combining elementary tools, “the same as all the micro-functions. Then we’ll be doing information governance: playing with Lego blocks.” Furthermore, these Harold Jarche makes an interesting analogy something good. But get rid of the damned tools don’t displace information, creating between these tools we use and the way we applications.” “So I think a lot of people mistakenly have useless clutter and redundancy, but access are now using our phones: been trying to bind the government’s policy information where it originally resides. Tanaka’s If social technology aims at empowering with the underlying mechanism and in doing Intelligent Pads might well provide a bright “A lot of people are customizing their mobile people, it should start by allowing them to so making it extremely difficult or too rigid for glimpse of what social tools will look like in the phone with apps, and there are many apps choose the tools and functions they want this kind of social phenomenon to take hold. future. that let people do single types of tasks, to use in a particular context, thus allowing Our goal here is to decouple the two, so that whether it’s a reminder, or a checklist, or them a higher level of control on the software you can still set your policy, your governance, something else. There are plenty of these environment they are using. When giving a but allowing the mechanism to be totally little tools, all in the 99 cent price range. I voice to workers, one has also to give them distributed to the users. We call that DIY, Do- think we are going to see a lot more happen the choice of the channel they prefer using to 5 Yuzuru Tanaka, Meme Media and Meme Market It-Yourself, because if everything has to go Architectures. IEEE Press - Wiley Interscience, United in this space. We will see more specific express themselves. This is exactly what Prem back to IT, it will be really, really hard to make States and Canada, 2003 small tools that will take very little to learn K Aparanji expresses: it happen.” and will just help you do one thing better, faster, or cheaper.” “When most information systems are8 9
  6. 6. Interoperability The future of the Collaborative Enterprise lies a different kind of interoperability is needed further than its organizational boundaries. in order to allow businesses to effectively Organizations belong to an ecosystem, of collaborate across their whole ecosystem, which partners, subcontractors, suppliers “You need systems that are able to cross and customers play an active role. As Ross boundaries”, in Dave Gray’s words. Dawson puts it: “I think its also true for companies, there’s “So now we are seeing this thing both the no way you can know in advance what imperative of effective collaboration within things you might need to link to, or hook up organizations to be able to work closely to, or interoperate with. You just can’t know together across locations, across different those things, and you can’t know, and you departments or divisions different aspects of certainly can’t assume that those things will the organizations. And increasingly, and this be invented, and owned by your company is the biggest shift over the last decade or so in every case. In many cases they will be and continuing is the imperative collaborating outside your company, they will be your externally. Collaborating with clients, what I partner that you need to interact with, or call knowledge-based relationships and with there might be information that’s required suppliers, with partners and indeed building from customers.” ecosystems. To achieve this, we will need to adopt a more And we’re starting to recognize more and “centrifugal” state of mind, and develop more this growth of business ecosystems standards which allow different flavors of social more essentially which are broad-based software to connect seamlessly. collaborations. So business value is created not within a single organization but across a Of course, we might see a totally different number of organizations.” scenario getting live, if one vendor could gain an overwhelming dominance over the market... Leveraging this kind of openness and But this would mean that, as we are getting This would mean that, as we are getting facilitating exchanges of knowledge across the out of the era of global industrialization, we out of the era of global industrialization, we boundaries of organizations is another reason would then dive into an era of industrialized would then dive into an era of industrialized for expecting the rise of open software and collaboration. A risk we must really stay aware new standards. What we are assisting today of for the following years. collaboration. A risk we must really stay is a centripetal move toward integration of aware of for the following years. social software with business applications, but10 11
  7. 7. Rethinking Our Information Channels “So I think, one of our analysts has studied type in questions, they would just leave a this case, that text-based asynchronous message and ask a question, and then other technology can start a relationship but people could leave a message or type the they don’t get ever further in that path. solution out. It’s just a different way in which Synchronous text, like AIM, helps much people could interact. I think that all that better. Or Twitter, or any of those things. could help change the behavioral norm.” Some synchronous audio helps going further, because you can listen the On the output side, Stowe Boyd foresees tools intonation. Synchronous video leads higher up on that scale, in terms of our ability to connect and have really fluent conversation right off the box and really establish a degree We might see the rise of new classes of of intimacy.” tools making more use of video and audio as inputs. A lot of people are not confident enough with writing to be able to express themselves beyond formal or casual communication able to convert one channel to another, and to To address and overcome these limitations, present information in the form which suits us both to leverage online relationships and to best: make social software efficient for more forms of communication, we might see the rise of “Pull that out, and condense it, compress it, new classes of tools making more use of video analyze it for me. And give it back to me in a and audio as inputs. Quoting Michael Wu: format that isn’t a human written document, but is some kind of.... infographics maybe, “Technology also could change. In the future, of everything that happened, with the big maybe instead of typing, because people like findings, and maybe some links to things to kind of listen to things, even if for myself I that seem not really helpful at first glance... sometimes prefer just reading, because I can But something completely different, not jump back and forth, while when listening, a document, but something that’s a you have to kind of listen to the whole thing, representation, like an interactive, graphical, there is this temporal element to it, you diagram, of the sort that magazines create cannot kind of scramble pieces of it, and you now to help you understand.” Most of our today’s online interactions are The words we speak or write, of course, but won’t get very much out of it that way, but in the written form. Emails, forums, activity also our gestures, the tone of our voice, the reading it, you could kind of jump back and Allowing us to use the communication channel streams and most of our collaborative tools mixture of talk and silence,... While written forth, and read what you want to read and we want, to share information as well as to require us to type and read words, impeding communication is a better medium for thinking get the solution that you want. retrieve it, is a field of research which could our communication capabilities in many and construction of meaning, synchronous, definitely help in making social software more important ways: synaesthetic communication help building So, maybe in the future, people wouldn’t social. the relationships involved in communication. Human interactions are made up of many Rachel Happe says no other thing: behavioral signals from which we make sense.12 13
  8. 8. Intelligent Tools for the Future Automation of day-to-day tasks is another and the factories are in many cases more subject which can potentially unleash the productive with fewer workers. What’s going potential of collaboration, by leveraging the to happen with the information revolution creative and meaningful part of work and allow is that a lot of that management work is workers to focus on what matters. going to not be done by people any more. So all that information that needs to be Just imagine, like Stephen Collins, that: translated from the front line up to the senior executives... Oh, a lot of management work “If we can push out the boundaries of where can be actually automated with information we imagine a calendar or a document or a systems.” messaging platform or whatever; if we push the boundaries out in terms of imagining Of course, anyone immediately thinks about what those things do, I think that’s what we the time unnecessarily spent to sort and file need to try. Try a new way of getting people email, to compile reports and build reporting to understand when their appointments are. material, to pass on and broadcast information Sure, we are tied into date and times and to higher or lower levels of the hierarchy,... but you’d have to present it on a calendar. But how we access and filter information is also imagine if it was, the way you could do it, was already changing. Tags, RSS feeds, contextual to create it on your collaboration platform and search engines, are tools many couldn’t live your phone syncs and your Gmail syncs and without anymore. But, albeit useful, these tools whatever your corporate calendar is syncs. remain essentially dumb, and new generations of intelligent agents could help us focusing on And sometime in the future your Internet the information we need. What Laura Peytavin, connected car knows that at 9:00 you’ve got quoting Eric Allman, founder and Chief an appointment. And you get into the car in Scientist of Sendmail, calls avatars: the morning at half past eight to drive to work and it says, hey you’ve got an appointment. “Virtual representations of what we have You need to take the fast lane on the freeway made during electronic meetings where we How we access and filter information is to get to your appointment. This is all would be represented by our avatar, to avoid also already changing. Tags, RSS feeds, possible. We just need to want to do it.” being obliged to move around every time, to contextual search engines, are tools be solicited all the time. This, some people But linking together the tools used everyday begin to think about it, so it would allow us to many couldn’t live without anymore. in order to streamline their efficiency is just a have a doppelgänger, to solve the problem But, albeit useful, these tools remain starting point. For Dave Gray, many tasks, even of being presently too much flooded with essentially dumb, and new generations of those that are part of managerial work, could information, therefore to be able to classify be automated: what we want to master, to focus on what intelligent agents could help us focusing we want to master, and then to have tools on the information we need. “For the last fifty years, we’ve been to more or less pilot our avatar to have it do automating a lot of manual and factory work, whatever we ask it to do.” and we’ve got robots doing a lot of that,14 15
  9. 9. Is the Future Push or Pull? Our ability to create, monitor, store and information systems, and leave to them the to machine or machine to machine becomes saying it’s not important, but we’re not very exchange huge amounts of data grows every capability to present us with the information very important and so, how we structure this good at distributing it and we’re not very day, as the performance of our systems we need, or should we instead better cultivate new world, of not just peer to peer, its almost good at managing it, which of course is the increase. But the value of data doesn’t reside the human soft skills of freely making sense machine to machine.” problem. And I think what we need to do is in its capture, in its quantity or in the speed of huge sets of informal information? In other culturally, we need to learn new versions of at which we are able to gather it. Data is words, is the future of information management Similarly, for Rolf Idar Isaksen: “We have to the bad habits so that we throw away the embedded into higher levels of meaning at “push”, converging on more and more qualified think differently how the search engine or the bad habits and develop better ones. You which creation of value can occur. From data information being served to workers by search machines have to cooperate with the and I would have this. I mean, if I read every (the content) to information (adding context intelligent systems, or is it “pull”, focusing on collaborative part of it. We just have to expect Twitter message that went past me every day, and intent), knowledge is created from making education, introducing pattern-matching and this has to be handled and it must not be I would do nothing but read Twitter messages sense of gathered information. Many challenges, other emergent skills learning in the school information overload. I must be able to get the and I still wouldn’t read them all. There’s too technological as well as organizational, exist at room? This question, and the answer that information I need when I work on this case. many. So we need to learn to pick the things every stage of the path from data to value. technology, as well as the society at large, If I just want the local information, I get local that are important to us. Not to look at email will be able to give, might shape the future of information, pertaining to my team or even my constantly, not to look at Twitter constantly, Getting from data to information will require organizations in deep way. organization within the company.” not to look at the web constantly but to only more than improved mechanisms to store, go and use those things when it’s critical. It’s manipulate and, even more importantly, to For Ray Wang, “the users have to be given Nevertheless, we don’t know what we don’t new habits to learn and it’s very, very hard.” filter it, as most now agree with Clay Shirky’s some of those capabilities to do better filtering. know, and the development of predictive statement 6 that what we suffer from isn’t Right, because we are suffering from information systems to serve knowledge workers with Rather than filtering information prior to information overload, but filter failure. According overload, and that data deluge that’s occurring information they are supposed to need could presenting it, in this case, technology will to Esteban Kolsky: is really creating... probably more addicts than prevent them from accessing what they really provide us with improved tools to allow us to necessary. We have lots of information, we have need at some particular point in time. As filter by ourselves. For Greg Lloyd: “The value of the data is at the moment that it lots of data, very little information is probably Paula Thornton, making a parallel with Google was created as a specific component within better.” He describes further what he calls predictive search engine, says: “Google’s “This has to do with the sort of focus, being a specific context with intent with a specific “Engagement Applications”: algorithms are based on ‘popularity’ (of sorts). able to turn the dials in same way that you content. And if you do that and you actually Many times in business the content you really can turn the dials with twitter... It may change capture that value, you can use that value. “So, the things, for example, on role-based need to find is the most obscure thing that no over time, it may change over projects... And you can store that value but you don’t security, that’s going to dictate what I share one else is interested in. In the enterprise you where I am paying particular attention to. need to store the data behind it. And that’s with you. And the elements in complex event actually know something about your content and Where is my vision pointed. You still have the where we’re going as we’re going to a different processing that going to determine the rules you want to intervene with the taxonomy.” peripheral vision, which is way beyond there, world where the data and the information are in our rooms, of each interaction that I’m which is a radical shift from email and other different.” going to automate over time. Right, so the soft Instead of empowering workers, the communication.” learning mechanism and predictive tools that development of technology could come with But storing data along with the context in which organize and drive correlation. So we need to the risk of impoverishing their capability to it is created would be useless without the proper put these together and then we need action innovate and to create knowledge. The alternate mechanisms to access the information we need frameworks that create offers or suggestions scenario, on the opposite, relies on the human at the time we need it, with the level of detail that tie back to our networks, tie back to other ability to learn new behaviors. For Stephen we need. Here lies an important dilemma we data, right. So it would living in that kind of Collins: 6 Clay Shirky It’s Not Information Overload. It’s Filter will have to solve in the following years: must engagement world where the engagement of, Failure - Web 2.0 Expo - New York 2008 http://blip.tv/ we leverage the automatization capabilities of you, between a person to person or person “All the information is important. I’m not web2expo/web-2-0-expo-ny-clay-shirky-shirky-com- it-s-not-information-overload-it-s-filter-failure-128369916 17
  10. 10. Reshaping Organizations A Composite and Fractal Organization The Myth of Corporate Culture Adoption? Customer Care or Collaboration? Strength and Uncertainty The Role of Management From Workspace to Lifespace Dark Siren Songs18 19
  11. 11. A Composite and Fractal Organization “The notion of autonomy, if you think about it, is communicative in both sides is what it means nonsense within the context of distributed and to break down those silos.” interconnected subsystems. Hansen, author of Collaboration 7, talks about the need for Coexistence of models isn’t damageable. disciplined company-wide collaboration. Whilst Instead, they contribute to reinforce and improve he has a specific definition of what that is, to each other. A collaborative mindset needs a do with willingness and ability to collaborate, competitive counterpart to fully deliver. As John I think the concept of disciplined autonomy Hagel explains: is interesting. Disciplined autonomy might be seen as a bit of a contradiction. There are “Actually from my view we never get all sorts of reasons why the socio-technical systems movement, which preceded lean, Ranjay Gulati explains very clearly and But can organizations really transform didn’t succeed. One of the things that socio- in most cases, the Collaborative Enterprise thoroughly how collaboration brings answers to themselves into collaborative enterprises? some of the hardest challenges organizations Most, if not all, attempts to answer this technical organisations were criticised for is a will be a composite and fractal strong focus on autonomy and then what you are facing today: questions are considering that organizations had was silos pursuing independent agendas. organization, its own structure mirroring are homogeneous. Amazingly, while trying to “What we are realizing today in companies accompany them through this transformation, So that’s why I think that the decentralised internally the relationships it maintains operating autonomy of business units and is as companies operate in more global we are still assuming an industrialized vision of networks has to co-exist with centralised co- with external stakeholders and intervening context, are looking at dynamic markets, organizations: monolithic and coherent. “We all ordination.” with them with similar rules. they are looking for more flexibility, ability understand that when the world industrialized or agility, being able to respond to market it wasn’t just about creating factories. We Michael Wu makes a somehow similar statement, performance and improvement without a shifts quickly, being able to downscale and industrialized education and agriculture and making an analogy with biological systems: combination of collaboration and competition, upscale very fast. And so when we look at a government. I mean, we industrialized our or it’s very hard to sustain that kind of dynamic turbulent market where companies whole society”, says Mary Adams. Instead, “You could think of it by looking at biology. performance improvement; that you need a are looking for more agility, it naturally leads we should take into account how complexity I mean, clearly I’m made of millions of cells, balance between the two in order to drive rapid them to this model where they are starting to and uncertainty have already brought in deep but it’s not like every single cell in my body and sustained performance improvement. look at opportunities to collaborate with others changes to existing models. Organizations is the same. I have muscle cells, I have skin One of the areas that we spend a lot of externally. operate more and more as finite ecosystems of cells, they do different thing and they organize time investigating in this context is extreme diverse, inter-connected and inter-dependent themselves into different organs or system sports where there is a relentless focus on At the same time, we’re also seeing the rise of entities, each with its internal purpose and that does different tasks. So, there is a performance improvement. These athletes the imperative for collaboration internally within culture, balancing between collaboration need for some difference –there need to be are constantly challenging themselves and the organization where silos that get created and competition according to contextual some departments, but the key is that those challenging each other to get to the next level to manage division of labor need to learn to requirements. In other words, in most cases, the departments need to communicate with each of performance. And you find very interesting work together in a more collaborative fashion. Collaborative Enterprise will be a composite and other. I think the breaking down of silo doesn’t blends between competition and collaboration” So what we see is that organizations are trying fractal organization, its own structure mirroring mean that you have to put an engineer in the to cope with uncertainty combined with the internally the relationships it maintains with marketing team–it doesn’t mean that. It means need for speed. And as you look at these two external stakeholders and intervening with them that the engineer should be aware of what kind of dwelling imperatives, you can see that with similar rules. the marketing doing and the marketing should collaboration both with other entities outside be also aware on what are the engineers are 7 Morten T. Hansen 2009. Collaboration: How Leaders as well as inside make that possible.” As Anne Marie McEwan says: doing as well. I think that awareness and being Avoid The Traps, Create Unity and Reap Big Results. Boston: Harvard Business Press20 21
  12. 12. The Myth of Corporate Culture “alignment of the organizations”: McDonald’s store, I only use that because its a global example that everyone will “The collaboration between a supplier and probably recognize. Each McDonald’s store the organization would really come in only is in essence like it’s own little company, and when the relationship itself has matured to companies that are organized in that way one extent that not just the top guys of the have actually, I think, an easier job, because two organizations are, not comfortable with as stuff gets older in one unit you can refresh each other, but also the people down below, it and you can do something completely the people who actually work, also are different, whereas if you have everything comfortable with THEIR counterparts.” that’s inter connected at a global level and everything is centrally controlled then it’s While such a kind of this cultural alignment very hard to do in a more organic kind of is at reach of teams or small departments or progressive way.” companies where close relationships between people already exist, achieving the same in large companies is a much tougher goal, as most companies are rather characterized by In a Collaborative Enterprise, internal diversity, cultural as well as structural. the coexistence of different models and Vertical silos, coexistence of hierarchy and “flat” structures, divergence in goals, size, practices will lead to diverse cultures, As Harold Jarche observes, organizational “One of the huge problems is they don’t have culture appears to be an emergent property of one culture. They have many cultures. So mindsets, practices or time frames are further enhancing internal heterogeneity. work practices: one pocket in the organization might adopt common factors. In order to successfully social very easily, yet the organization around foster internal collaboration companywide, “Culture as far as I’m concerned, it won’t, and then that little piece will be some organizations will reshape themselves to Culturally, they will rather focus on developing organizational culture, is an emerging more isolated in the rest of the organization. reduce their internal heterogeneity on one side and maintaining a global and shared vision property of all the things that people do We may have an internal organization where of the equation: structural or cultural. among all employees. At Zappos, for example, together overtime, and then culture emerges. social collaboration is working in part of “we won’t hire people even if they’re the You can’t change culture, you can change organization but not the whole organization. I Structurally, they will leverage the autonomy most amazing candidate in the world from how people do things and then a new think also that change is just harder, inside a and similarity of sub-structures, what Dave a technical standpoint, if we don’t feel their culture may come up. You can make things big audience you’re also spanning the globe, Gray calls “the podular organization”: culture fit we won’t hire them”, as explains more transparent, you can make things more and so not only you have a corporate culture, Zach Ware. democratic, and you have that.” you have the culture of the many different “Companies are always kind of refreshing locations and countries involved, and themselves and reinventing themselves It is clear that companies undergoing such a This de facto links organizational culture to different languages. So you’re just layering anyway, and I think sometimes some kind of radical redesign will effortlessly become organizational structure, meaning that, in a on complexities.” companies already are designed in a very true Collaborative Enterprises, but it is unlikely Collaborative Enterprise, the coexistence of kind of podular way, like restaurant chains that many organizations will ever be ready for different models and practices will lead to Nevertheless, proper cultural alignment for example: in a restaurant chain you such a bold move. In most cases, they will diverse cultures, further enhancing internal between involved actors is required in order already have individual kind of somewhat have to deal with their internal contradictions heterogeneity. As Rachel Happe says: to efficiently collaborate, whether internally or autonomous units, you know, you have this, and heterogeneity. externally, what Prem Kumar Aparanji calls lets say McDonald’s, and you have each22 23
  13. 13. Adoption? As many mid to large size organizations resemble “The CEO and the CFO have different cultural more a patchwork of cultures and structures responsibilities than people in different parts than homogeneous organisms, should we still of the organizations. And so, I think, when focus on “adopting” collaborative behaviors you’re talking about getting people to embrace companywide? It appears more and more clearly change, you have to first understand the that, in our context, the “one purpose - one culture that they’re going to have to try to do platform - then change management” paradigm that in; and understanding the kind of pain is an artifact from our industrial past, and doesn’t points in that culture for them, and coaching fit how companies and groups of people work. that explanation of how the change is going to help them in a way that makes sense within First, as Paula Thornton points out “there should that culture.” be no adoption driving”: “The purpose of these tools, initially, is to tap the energy that is sitting Thus, for collaboration to diffuse evenly in an there wasted, for people that are all ready who organization, the first step would necessarily be do this. And want a form where by they can do to get a shared and thorough understanding what is they need to do. The rest of the situation of how people work, communicate, share and is to integrate it into the stuff that people normally build knowledge. But this prerequisite, naturally do. I mean the bottom line is it’s get treated to achieved in an homogeneous culture or structure, much as an appendage and, it should simply be will remain a really tough challenge for most, and a mechanism whereby people can just get the will require more open, divergent, experiential work done.” frameworks and approaches than the ones currently experimented. Similarly, for Jon Husband: “I think that there are forces that are taking us towards the point A much more plausible scenario is instead about where what we are talking about generally as acknowledging and leveraging diversity, and collaboration is becoming more understood as letting collaboration diffuse unevenly across “this is just the way people do things”. But that teams, departments or communities, on both has to infuse, adapt and, I guess, erode the sides of organizational boundaries. These This prerequisite, naturally achieved in existing structures.” organizations will more and more consider an homogeneous culture or structure, will themselves as ecosystems, composed of remain a really tough challenge for most, Still, we are seeing very few real world examples interrelated sub-structures, each one owing its of Collaborative Enterprises. Part of the problem culture, collective behavior and level of autonomy, and will require more open, divergent, is to be found in the heterogeneity of cultures and the more agile being able to transform and experiential frameworks and approaches structures just discussed. Collaboration does not reshape themselves transversely with regards to than the ones currently experimented. only represent a huge organizational step away temporary goals or projects from the industrial rationale, but just as with other wicked problem 8, a common understanding of the why and how of collaboration doesn’t exist in 8 Conklin, E.J. (2005). “Wicked Problems and Social companies. As Mark Oehlert explains it: Complexity” Chapter 1 of Dialogue Mapping: Building Shared Understanding of Wicked Problems, Wiley,24 25
  14. 14. Customer Care or Collaboration? because the company doesn’t count your strategy for most companies, but it shows time as a cost that matters. So, your time the possibilities that you could literary have doesn’t matter to the company, and that’s your customers design something for you or obvious to you, and what are you going to at least rate and vet the design”, comes with do? Well you’re going to leave and go find a a big question mark: to which extend would company that you know that does a better the necessity to take care of customers’ The Collaborative Enterprise is an extended partners or with customers covers different job.” needs, beyond customer service, be linked to organization. As Michael Wu states: realities. On the customer side, maintaining collaborating with them? Wim Rampen states: close relationships is getting more and more But as important as providing an enhanced “Other people don’t know what I know, important, notably under the pressure of customer experience through online channels but making the problem explicit and visible Facebook, Twitter and other large social might be, it represents only a small part of to everybody, you have many more pairs networks, which bring personal conversations what collaboration with customers would To which extend would the necessity to of eyes to look at the problem and giving into the open. To quote Jon Husband: everybody a chance to say that, whether bring to companies. Let us remember that The take care of customers’ needs, beyond Best Service is No Service, to borrow from there’s something that I can do or I cannot “And I think, I’m generalizing, making Price and Jaffe’s book 9 title. Furthermore, customer service, be linked to do, so you essentially tackle a bigger vast generalizations here, I think that my social customer service will at some point collaborating with them? problem and you find the skill necessary to recollections through the years of growing suffer from the same problems of scale and tackle this problem faster and easier. I think up, is that when people did have their cost mitigation already encountered on other that’s one of the big, big difference.” input acknowledged, whether that’s by a channels. To further quote Dave Gray: “If I’m trying to think of new ideas then response, or letter, or phone call, or maybe it would better to have really intelligent Similarly, for Ross Dawson: some kind of credit voucher – whatever the “We need to be able to provide information customers that have gone through the same response is, they felt like they’d won a small from systems that were build from company problems themselves, even if they work on “We’re starting to recognize more and victory. That’s I think the kind of thing that convenience, to systems that are designed other industries. And that’s the advantage more this growth of business ecosystems needs to change. It needs to be seen as a for customer convenience. Because in many because almost every customer is an more essentially which are broad-based natural and necessary, as part of the service ways they’re in conflict. What’s convenient experienced customer in some field because collaborations. So business value is created feedback loop that must be maintained at all for customers is inconvenient for the they work” not within a single organization but across a times and at all costs.” company, and what’s convenient for the number of organizations.” company is inconvenient for the customers. To put it simply, some customers are qualified Customers have taken the control of these So how do you marry between those enough to be considered, and treated, as new channels, and empowering customer worlds? And of course a company that does partners. This represents a shift from most service to keep organizations up to speed with Social customer service will at some point requests for help has become an imperative. everything inconveniently and only cares today’s assumptions over marketing-driven co- about customers, probably will have trouble creation toward a true coproduction model. suffer from the same problems of scale Dave Gray observes that: making a profit.” and cost mitigation already encountered “Now, if I can shuffle you over to the front A real power of collaboration with customers on other channels. department and the front department can would reside in the co-creation of products solve your problem, why can’t I have that and services which will help in creating value conversation with the front department and for both sides. Yet, true and unbiased open Of course, operating across an ecosystem solve it, and just tell them it’s been solved? 9 Price, B., Jaffe, D. (2008) The Best Service is No innovation with customers, as described by Service: How to Liberate Your Customers from doesn’t mean that all stakeholders are Why do I have to force you to do that? Well Bob Thompson: “in my mind, it’s not a realistic Customer Service, Keep Them Happy, and Control created equal, and working with suppliers and the reason that I have to do that now is Costs. Jossey-Bass.26 27
  15. 15. Strength and Uncertainty At the other extremity of the spectrum, lots of customers if you end up with that.” organizations are already no more islands. They more and more have to collaborate with Balancing competition and collaboration suppliers, and in larger projects, competitors according to a changing context will more are also partners. As Mary Adams explains it: and more become a challenge that most companies will have to tackle. For Ross “[...]And in there, just in their piece of the Dawson: market, there are probably a hundred vendors. But in any one hospital there are “There are some actually some quite simple probably twenty of those vendors that are strategic questions that need to be asked. installed and have to work together. And you And one of those is where do we collaborate know have to have; they have to be able to and where do we compete? And I think plug into each others work, they have to be that’s, there are actually relatively few able to share data and their solution may win organizations that have thought it through one time to be this piece, but then another in such simple terms. But in fact the terms piece maybe you know, they are still in there. actually are that simple. I mean, then you I mean it’s a very complex situation. need to think through the implications of it. But that there’s a change in boundary So, I think you can’t win by cutting other between where you collaborate and where people out. You win by being better than you compete. But organizations first need to everyone and being more collaborative. recognize where are we collaborating, who I mean by sharing, by helping and so are we collaborating with, and where are the this is one of the big challenges for many areas where we’re competing. And these, companies is to understand that their your collaboration and the competition can partners are as important as their customers absolutely be with the same organizations.” in many cases; and that you have to manage those relationships. And if you get cut off The more collaborative organizations will from one of the key players in the market and become, the more adaptive they will need The more collaborative organizations will they don’t want to talk to you or you know to be in order to gain or keep competitive become, the more adaptive they will need they don’t want to partner with you, that’s advantages. Strength and uncertainty will go to be in order to gain or keep competitive much more serious than losing one or two on pair. customers, because you are going to lose advantages. Strength and uncertainty will go on pair.28 29