new report studying social networking on intranets, Web usability guru Jakob Nielsen asserts that despite broad awareness, real execution of Web 2.0 in the enterprise is still rare at this point.In a
We've noted Nielsen's skepticism when it comes to Web 2.0 in the past, but it's not outlandish to acknowledge that the enterprise moves slowly to adopt new technology. By doing so, the entire industry receives a sobering reminder of just what it takes to make change happen in business.
"Talk To Us Next Year"Neilsen's 168-page report includes case studies from 14 companies in 6 countries, including Sprint, Sun, Intel, IBM, and Johnson & Johnson. Several times throughout the summary, he points out that when he asked these companies about their enterprise 2.0 strategy, they told him to come back in a year.
With all the buzz about social software in the enterprise, this sounds like an anomaly to some degree... until you read that it's not an awareness issue; just about everyone is thinking about social software to some degree. But thinking and doing are two very different things. It makes perfect sense that the huge organizations he focuses on in the case studies would take 3 to 5 years to roll out a new intranet.
Breaking Down BarriersPart of what led Nielsen to the conclusions he makes is the perspective he takes on enterprise 2.0. The man is clearly in the camp that says it's a difficult transformation where organizations must "cede power" in the quest to break down communication barriers. The opposite take would be the kind of analyst or vendor who stresses how new technologies enhance existing hierarchies of communication and do little to disrupt business as usual.
In the end, Nielsen's report stresses an important reality in business technology: pilot projects and trials might be quick to create, but real change takes time.