Sunday, 24 June 2007

Enterprise 2.0 - do we really need to label EVERYTHING?

I seem to have had a bit of a week of deciding terms and concepts serve no purpose...after condemning Tacit Knowledge to the conceptual dustbin for not being at all helpful in the search for ways to effectively share knowledge, now it appears it's the turn of Enterprise 2.0.

Trying to write academically about what Enterprise 2.0 actually is is like plaiting fog. Even if there is some consensus about the term, it's usage varies incredibly, it's confused with Web 2.0, social software, Enterprise Web 2.0, it's just a mess.

James Dellow (yes, James again...) has noticed this in his amusingly titled You're all completely wrong. In relation to the recent Enterprise 2.0 Conference, he quotes Jevon MacDonald .

"This conference has made it painfully clear that the term Enterprise 2.0 has no discernible value at all. The label simply means everything and nothing all at once. It has become a something that people want to add to their recipes."

What is Enterprise 2.0? on the Blog also acknowledges that Enterpise 2.0 is a nebulous concept...

“Enterprise 2.0″ has a simple definition: The application of Web 2.0 technologies to the enterprise. But there are almost as many different meanings for “Web 2.0″ as there are mashups, making “Enterprise 2.0″ an equally nebulous concept.

Do we actually need to label everything in this way? We didn't start labelling everything when other technologies were adopted. There was no Printing 2.0 or Multimedia 2.0, why Enterprise 2.0. Enterprise has been changing ever since the first entrepreneur sold the first wheel to an innovative stoneage man, so why now this obsession with giving everything a label?

I know it gives us a shared language, but do we really need one to discuss technologies which support collaborative working? Surely it's not hard with the language we already have?

I guess I'm just frustrated - with every term I use in my dissertation, like Web 2.0, or social software or Enterprise Web 2.0, I have to spend hours trying to find a definition that explains what it is, and that's not easy!

I'm off make dinner with our microwave - I guess that would be Cooking 2.0?

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