Thursday, September 28, 2006

Software Within The Enterprise As Competition

Dion Hinchcliffe an enterprise 2.0 commentator over on ZDNet has a very good article on some of the basic principles of using or creating enterprise software under "2.0" principles. (
Some points I draw from this:
- Traditional enterprise software imposes structure on the user. Its pretty much our way or the highway. Enterprise 2.0 favours "atomisation of information and code", so that users can pick and choose such things as tags, labels, interfaces. This exposes the "fine-grain" which creates more opportunity for evolution, i.e.. this enables more fine "grained environmental-fit".
- Enterprise 2.0 enables every participant to define their own use-cases, to create, adopt and adapt their own softwares. This in turn creates an "internal market" for software and the best softwares win out, i.e. this brings the power of competition into the enterprise. The free flow of competition gives the enterprise the power of emergence.
- Enterprise 2.0 may not have the power to "act upon" its "internal environment", which in turn would not help it act upon the "external environment". Dion uses the example of Digg, which famously has a core of perhaps 1% of users that are very active diggers, who more or less define what the rest of us see ( However, the numbers are so large that this still contains the requisite variety in order to be accurate. Within the firm, that 1% of users figure, would be too small to provide an useful "emergence". In effect it would be like a focus study where one person drives the conversation off into their own parochial concerns.
I think that some of the "set it free and they will come, create, and communicate" arguments something worth speaking further about. Consider that kind of approach with recent revelations that it was some good old fashioned mass marketing that helped MySpace achieve its tipping points. For those interested in hearing Dion speak about this stuff, try this link

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