Everyone’s talking about Web 2.0, but there’s still reluctance when it comes to using online tools such as blogs, wikis and social networking sites. Many organizations still see them as social applications, rather than learning applications.
“Learning organizations have to [move] toward 2.0 not to replace what they’re doing, but to supplement [it]. It just makes too much sense,” said Charles Coy, the director of product marketing at Cornerstone OnDemand, which recently introduced a new enterprise social networking platform. “[But] there’s [a] hesitancy, and the only way to get past that hesitancy is to stop talking about blogs and wikis and start talking about real use cases.”
Some companies are nervous about investing in Web 2.0, especially during a down economy, he said. To make the business case, organizations have to show how these tools can create organizational efficiencies.
“If you’re just going to [say] ‘I want to have a corporate wiki,’ that’s not going to work,” Coy said. “But [you] can talk about [how] we’re losing a lot of talent [because of] retiring baby boomers [and] using a community of practice [can help us] hang onto some of that organizational knowledge.”
And as this knowledge grows, it becomes an institutional tool that is always available to employees.
“You [start] to accumulate that corporate culture and knowledge in a system that becomes more and more valuable as it becomes richer and richer,” Coy said.
Additionally, Web 2.0 applications can be leveraged for collaboration.
“It’s the second level of social networking: connecting people,” Coy said. “This is what the promise is in a lot of ways — boosting communication and collaboration.
“We’ve had discussion forums and document uploads for decades, but if we can start to use these tools to connect people on the basis of their interests, their professions, what they need to know at [any] moment to do their jobs better, then that’s the real promise of boosting collaboration in a company.”
The end goal is to be able to use these applications to find people in your company who can help you do your job better.
“These tools make it easier to identify in a couple of clicks who are the 10 people in my company who have the greatest expertise on account management or on SQL Server database maintenance or whatever,” Coy said.
Will 2009 be the year when the flood gates open and learning organizations start embracing Web 2.0 tools on a large scale?
“There’s a couple of hurdles, [but] I think in 2009 we’ll see those hurdles if not cleared, at least passed for a lot of companies,” Coy said.
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