Not Just for Kids

By Renee Boucher Ferguson  |  Posted 2007-06-20 Print this article Print

"I think Cisco is dead on with knowledge champions," said Young. "You need people to show you [how these things work]. It is really just a matter of seeing these things in business processes that will make this thing spread. Having someone see why tools are valuable in their business context is really the way it works." Young told the story of another company, a law firm, where older employees were not interested in using a Blackberry — until they saw what it could do for them. "Now you cant pry them out of their cold dead hands," he said.
Cisco and Motorola have taken very different approaches to implementing a Web 2.0 strategy and technology.
While the telecom rivals get it — that communication among colleagues is an enabler — they have taken decidedly different approaches to getting there. While Cisco is addressing Web 2.0 throughout the company, it has taken a more ad hoc approach to letting employees start and manage blogs, wikis and other technologies. Motorola, on the other hand, built its Web 2.0 platform first, and then let employees have at it. "We didnt even tell anybody," said Redshaw. "We just built this great platform and turned it on." Redshaws suggestion for companies: if you allow things to progress at an ad hoc rate without first implementing a platform underneath to centralize technologies, youre doomed. "If you dont build a platform youve got spaghetti, and then meta spaghetti," that youll never get a handle on," said Redshaw. "Building in pockets may work out. But its very rare that someone has time to synch up systems that are under God knows whose desk. If you do roll out in pockets you miss the opportunity to keep things centralized." Young pointed out that companies also have to be aware of governance, risk and compliance issues when it comes to employees using collaboration tools. Even if a company chooses not to address Web 2.0 initiatives directly, he warned that policies should be put in place to address potential use. "Any corporate policy that does not address blogs is outdated," he said. To read about Hewlett-Packards Web 2.0 print technology strategy, click here. Young referenced two ways Web 2.0 is making its way into the enterprise—whether or not IT departments are aware of its encroaching presence: SAAS (software as a service) offerings and SharePoint. A sales manager using on-demand software from, say, can spend $20 to get her entire team up on SocialText, and IT will have no idea the wiki-type service has been implemented. At the same time vendors like Microsoft and SAP are making big headway into social networking and bringing those tools into the enterprise — whether IT likes it or not, according to Young. Motorolas Redshaw jokingly said he has developed a strategy to dissuade employees from bringing in outside social networking capabilities. "Its called IT for adults," he said. "We hunt down and kill people that bring in technology from the outside. We have one IT staff. You just cant do that." Redshaw conceded that he did get some wiki technology from the engineering team. Editors Note: Toby Redshaw is corporate vice president of IT strategy, architecture and e-business at Motorola. His title was incorrectly reported in a story June 20 on Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis about productivity and business solutions.


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