The Paradox of “Enterprise 2.0”

I’ve been involved with “Enterprise 2.0” for what I believe has been most of my career, but probably before it was cool to be E2.0 or even called E2.0 for that fact. What amazes me is that this market is primarily driven by vendors and industry pundits. If you have been to any of the Enterprise 2.0 Conferences, you no doubt have seen that many of the panels are filled with vendors and consultants (many of them seeking opportunities), bloggers and self-proclaimed “experts”. While I don’t doubt their knowledge, I do wonder why they are able to drive this market.

During the last conference this past November, a group of us on the 2.0 Adoption Council were interviewed for the article by Steven Baker for the article¬† Beware: Social Media Snake Oil. What was clear is that none of the my fellow council members were relying on consultants for implementing Enterprise 2.0 within their respective companies. Why? Because implementing these types of technology require a deep understanding of the behaviors, culture, politics, of your situation, not just the tools and technologies. I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me, it’s the fact that I’m living these that make me effective in the role to drive change and help shape these behaviors. It is the fact that I’m part of it that gives me credibility and success.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve learned a lot from these experts. They are really smart people, but it does make me wonder how they can drive a market that really is by the people, for the people in a large company. Granted this is changing in just the last 18 months, we’ve gone from people being interested to people actually implementing to people documenting their successes, but we still have a long way to go.