7 things you need to know about Enterprise 3.0

By Ant Cousins, Director of Customer Success at ProFinda.

You may recall Enterprise 2.0 being coined as a term way back in 2006 as the use of new web 2.0 or ‘social’ tools inside the organisation. Their introduction was supposed to revolutionise the way we worked and collaborated internally. 6 years later Microsoft felt that there was so much promise in this concept they spent $1.2 billion on their acquisition of Yammer and yet, now 11 years later, we’re still mostly using email.

Gartner’s infamous prediction in 2013 that 80% of Enterprise Social projects will fail is still holding true and, from my own experience, as I walk into some of the largest professional services and financial institutions in the world, the tech landscape is a graveyard of social tools.

What’s scarier is that I still see measures of success for these social tools as sign-ins, ‘shares’ and ‘likes’ regardless of the fact that employees are just as likely to be sharing pictures of their cats than they are an innovative idea or business problem they need help with. Well, there is a better way. Web 3.0 may still be a dream, but we now have the technology to achieve Enterprise 3.0. Forrester got close to this in their Solving the collaboration paradox report of 2015 but here’s what you need to know about the evolution of Enterprise Social Networks:

  1. Engagement. With Enterprise 3.0 we can understand much more about people, the things they’re interested in and how those strengths and passions can align with the topics and work of the business. We know that Employee Engagement is raised when employees feel like they’re using all of their knowledge and experience, and now we can use algorithms to map those interests and match them to work. Enterprise 3.0 is about making the most of every single employee in exact alignment with business needs. It’s about achieving the win/win.
  2. Relevance. Anyone who read my article on why social projects fail will know that one of the key problems with social is that it relies on the right person being in the right group at the right time to see your status update. It still relies a lot on luck. Enterprise 3.0 brings the technology to ‘engineer serendipity’ between employees. We know enough about them and about the business problems they face to literally ensure they find the very best people across the whole of the business to help them with any given problem, or to match them to the right opportunity.
  3. Noise. We already have massively noisy environments to work in. From open plan offices to matrix-managed teams, to overloaded inboxes and a confusing myriad of different tools, updates, feeds, forums, messages and more. We are suffering from information overload and all the inefficiencies and bad behaviours that brings. Where Enterprise 2.0 simply increased the noise 3.0 cuts it out. We should only be seeing what we need to see and action for what we need to do and are personally interested in. That’s it. We have the technology to make this happen, we just need to turn it on.
  4. Speed. Through our primary research we have now surveyed over 4000 knowledge-based workers and the results are becoming scarily consistent. On average these workers spend between 2 and 3 hours every time they need to find someone outside of their immediate team which, with increasingly globalized and flexible organisational structures, is becoming more and more often. In a chain where any piece of work may need to pass through up to 5 or 6 people that time taken on each search plus the ‘hand-off’ time between each person can slow down customer response times to weeks or months, when it could be hours.
  5. Cost. For every year an employee is paid a salary, on average, 20 days of that salary is being wasted on those employees simply trying to find other people. This inefficiency runs into the millions for companies with over 1000 staff, but it’s in the billions for those with over 30,000 staff globally. For the most part this inefficiency has been seen as acceptable simply because a better way wasn’t available. Enterprise 3.0 makes it so. It’s about truly realising the benefits promised by Enterprise 2.0 and ‘social’ tools.
  6. Analytics. With Enterprise 3.0 we can map the real-time behaviours of employees, not just how much they’ve shared or liked, but what they’re working on, how long for, with who and most importantly, why? Over a period of months we can gain enough insight on a business to begin to predict problems and opportunities before they occur. All this information right now is lost and scattered in phone calls, email servers, SharePoint sites and personal storage. Enterprise 3.0 loves data, in all its forms. It’s about making connections, recommendations and matches between seemingly disparate data points. It’s Artificial Intelligence working on your behalf 24/7 to help you make better more evidence based decisions.
  7. Flexible working. If Enterprise 2.0 was about trying to join up employees inside an organisation, Enterprise 3.0 recognizes that more and more of an organisation’s staff are now contractors and flexible workers. With an increased use of external resource comes an assumption of increased recruitment and consulting fees. But, with Enterprise 3.0, you can leverage all the social capital of your existing employees to find the people your organisation already knows and engage the best of them to do the work, on a more flexible basis.

So, in short Enterprise 3.0 is about understanding more about your business and your people including all of what and who they know. It’s about using Artificial Intelligence to map all that knowledge and social capital and align it exactly with business needs. It’s also about using all of this activity data to start to predict the future of the business. It’s about saying no, social is not good enough, we need the next step.

About the author

Antony Cousins is the Director of Customer Success at ProFinda — connect with him at antony.cousins[at]profinda.com, LinkedIn and Twitter.