Web 2.0 Tools - Andy Blumenthal


Published on

Published in: Technology
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Web 2.0 Tools - Andy Blumenthal

  1. 1. Web 2.0 Tools Change Government CIO Collaboration Page 1 of 2Web 2.0 Tools Change Government CIOCollaborationJul 22, 2009, By Andy BlumenthalInformation technology has traditionally been about "communication" of information -- capturing it,processing it, moving it, storing it, finding it and using it. But now, with Web 2.0, we have evolved fromcommunication to "collaboration." Well, whats the difference?When we communicate, arent we collaborating (and vice versa)?When I posed this question recently to some peers at a council meeting, I received a couple of differentresponses. One person said when we communicate its one way, but when we collaborate its a two-wayconversation. Well, not really in my mind, because communication can be one-way or two-way. So thisdoesnt seem to be the differentiator.Then, I was given the anecdote that in the "olden days" when we just communicated, we would putinformation out there and ask people to provide input, but now that we have collaboration tools likewikis, other people can actually work on the document themselves.My response was -- OK, but regardless of whether you enter your own input or send me your input and Ienter it -- its still collaboration. Its nice to have the tools so that others can actually work on thedocument themselves, but its not like we werent reaching out to and collaborating with otherspreviously.To me, the real difference between communication and collaboration seems to be related to anorganizational and cultural transformation taking place -- and the technology is an enabler.Weve always communicated. But much of the communication was within our own stovepipes --particularly within our own chain of command -- to our bosses, staffs or peers primarily within the sameorganizational function. That was where most of our communication took place -- in our organizationalverticals.Now, however, we are transforming from mainly vertical communication to the horizontal collaboration.We are breaking down the stovepipes, which one of my colleagues euphemistically calls "silos ofexcellence," and we are instead working across organizational and functional boundaries -- hence, weare doing some genuine collaboration!In the process of moving from vertical to horizontal information sharing and collaboration, we areflattening our organizations. The hierarchies are less important and are shrinking, and the intra- andinter-agency sharing and collaboration are being elevated and growing.Before, we had information or "dots" that we communicated about in our verticals, but now we areconnecting the dots, by sharing and collaborating on the information horizontally, across the verticals.http://www.govtech.com/gt/articles/703985 7/22/2009
  2. 2. Web 2.0 Tools Change Government CIO Collaboration Page 2 of 2Another way to put this is that when we have two-way communication, its 1 + 1 = 2. But when wecollaborate, there is a synergy that is greater than the sum of its parts, and the equation changes to 1 + 1= 3.Of course, with Web 2.0 and social media software, we now have a vast toolkit in which tocommunicate, share, and collaborate with others. But we must remember that the tools are the enablers;the real change is happening in the transformation of our organizations and culture to abandon thenotion that information is power and information is currency -- something to be hoarded, and insteadthat information is helpful and information is collaboration -- something to be shared.Andy Blumenthal is chief technology officer at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms andExplosives. A regular speaker and published author, Blumenthal blogs at User-Centric EnterpriseArchitecture and The Total CIO. These are his personal views and do not represent those of his agency.MJSite owned by e.Republic, Inc.100 Blue Ravine Rd. Folsom, CA 95630.916-932-1300 Copyright ©1995-2008. All rights reserved.http://www.govtech.com/gt/articles/703985 7/22/2009