Auditors and Enterprise 2.0 technologies

[cross posted at FastForward blog]

Over a lunch conversation on Thursday with Andrew McAfee, a group of us discussed barriers and enablers for adopting Enterprise 2.0 technologies within organizations. One objection that I have often seen raised came up in this conversation as well; that blogs, wikis, and other collaboration technologies represent new risks in an era of increased scrutiny and regulation. The reasoning goes that there is already too much risk associated with tools like email and IM of inappropriate behaviors being subject to discovery and that, if anything, for sensitive issues no electronic traces should ever be created.

The primary fear appears to be that legitimate internal debate and discussion of complex problems will be taken out of context and misrepresented. I think this fear actually represents a powerful argument in favor of Enterprise 2.0 technologies as a decided improvement over today’s ad hoc environment of email, instant messaging, and scattered memos and presentations. By design, Enterprise 2.0 technologies contextualize the development and refinement of ideas as a social activity. By making the thinking and the debate visible and organized, you blunt, if not disarm, those who would try to portray the debate as something other than what it was.

One thought on “Auditors and Enterprise 2.0 technologies”

  1. I think that you are correct. I also think that anywhere effective OD principles have been used before and especially any organiozation of size where there have been years of org. dev’t initiatives, many of the leaders and managers would realize the wisdom of your statement.

    I think much of the fear comes from having seen or heard reported the general impacts / effects of the first sharp edges of a new set of instruments and a new pent-up social process.

    Those have been coming thicker and faster since the beginnings of the desktop computer in the workplace 20 years ago, culminating in the pain of implementing large ERP systems that most often did not account for the social aspects nor yield (again usually) the necessary flexibilities and ability to collaborate that are still important issues to address.

    Most adults at work are responsible people and will gladly adopt tools and processes that are easy to learn, easy tio use and allow them to concentrate on resolving problems or providing better service through pointing colleagues to information.

    What is at least as important as the tools and their characteristics is a culture that will help people move past hoarding information or reacting to problems, and IMO that is where the implementation of purposeful blogging and wiki capabilities will be very helpdul. Their implementation IMO can be of great help in creating a focused and responsive culture that will use current information and collaboration to get things done, to make service better.

    They offer the possibility of enabling open and flowing information carried and delivered by people who by and large will know how to (and will want to) act responsibly if they are treated as responsible partners in the enterprise.

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