5 Key IT Issues for Successful Enterprise 2.0 Implementations

by Jim Berkowitz on March 16, 2009

Here’s an excellent article by Kate Carruthers about what IT must consider before implementing Enterprise 2.0 applications, 5 Key IT Issues for Successful Enterprise 2.0 Implementations.

What I find interesting is that the 5 issues discussed below are critical for any CRM implementation as well.  Unfortunately, over the years many organizations have tried to implement CRM without considering these issues, (and have had problems), even though the importance of addressing these things has been talked about for years.  I don’t expect that Enterprise 2.0 will be any different. Unless of course, executive management “steps up to the plate” and makes sure that each of these issues are addressed before any implementation. Personally, I’m not holding my breath.  I anticipate that many organizations will charge ahead with Enterprise 2.0 because “we have to keep up with the competition,” or because “our customer base expects this from us,” without addressing the issues discussed below.  I expect a lot of Enterprise 2.0 failures; especially at larger organizations where IT is still operating under outdated rules:

From the outside looking in, it is easy to think that implementing Enterprise 2.0 will be clear sailing for IT departments — after all, once outside solutions are brought in that foster collaboration (wikis, blogs, etc.) and re-usability (mashups), it would be logical to assume that IT is off the hook for a lot of ‘heavy lifting’ that has historically been at the heart of how they spend their time.

However there remain a number of issues that if left unresolved can lead to problems.

Clarity of purpose – It is essential that Enterprise 2.0 projects have a very clear business purpose that is jointly understood by both the business and IT folks. Without clarity of purpose decision making can become a challenge.

Enterprise architecture – Without a well defined enterprise architecture and some knowledgeable people it is going to be hard to make technical trade-off decisions. Also key are technically literate people who also understand the business architecture and can assess technical decisions in that light.

Operational tempo – Perhaps the biggest change that is starting to hit IT departments is the change in operational tempo. Previously we worked on timescales of months and years to deliver business value through technology. Now with web and Enterprise 2.0 tools we are being asked to deliver in change cycles of hours and days. This requires a completely different mindset and operational capability. It also calls for sound stage containment so as not to risk core systems to innovation.

ROI & success metrics – Without demonstrable value IT departments will struggle for funding. This means getting better at designing metrics in at the start of projects and seeing that measurement is implemented. Also ROI can be difficult to define with regards to some web 2.0 type of applications – this needs to be very clear to management early on.

Strategic vision & alignment – Unless the Enterprise 2.0 technology direction is aligned to the overall strategic vision there are real risks of unhappy outcomes. This links back to clarity of vision above, but is also about broader organizational alignment. It is likely that Enterprise 2.0 implementations will have change management implications, they may also effect job design and even organization charts. It is important to consider these broader issues as part of an Enterprise 2.0 initiative.

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