How to sell Enterprise 2.0

Came across a presentation by Mike Kavis on how to sell SOA. It’s a great presentation and worth registering to listen to.

I was struck by the parallels between how we try to position Enterprise 2.0 or Web 2.0 and his story around implementing SOA. His view on how they had been successful was:

  • They engaged the business in their language – profit and loss rather than technology. This key getting sponsorship for Enterprise 2.0 which is vital for successful projects. Even if we evangelists don’t like ROI, the people who sign the cheques do.
  • The business doesn’t care about governance. When implementing SOA the business wanted functionality implemented as soon as possible. Wikis and blogs are so easy to start up if an organisation is not careful they may end up relying on multiple unsupported technologies for business critical applications. IT has to get involved at some point to consolodate and standardise.
  • They now spend more time on cultural change rather than technology. Cultural change has always been the X-factor in any Enterprise 2.0 engagement.
  • My favourite quote from the presentation “it’s not about the technology, it’s about the people” would be at home in any Enterprise 2.0 presentation.

So SOA faces similar challenges around cultural adoption as does Enterprise 2.0. The irony was that they used Enterprise 2.0 tools, blogs and wikis, to overcome their cultural challenges around SOA. These tools were seen as a way to spread knowledge around how to use a new business process management system to automate what had previous been paper based workflow.

Wikis and blogs were not part of the cultural problem, they were part of the solution. It seems more and more likely that a compelling reason to use Enterprise 2.0 software, such as familiarity with a new system as in this case, or information that can help you sell more as discussed previously, is the silver bullet for adoption.

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