Enterprise 2.0: Add “Selective Openness” to the mix

December 15, 2008

Why are companies reluctant to adopting Enterpise 2.0 technologies. Evangelists see the benefits, but are they not forceful enough for enterprises? A vital requirement of the enterprise is to make certain information available to employees based on their hierarchy in their organization. However much Web 2.0 technologies try to ebb the lines of information access, enterprises need restrictions on information sharing along with ease of collaboration.

The Enterprise scenario

In my experience, convincing big companies of the benefits of Enterprise 2.0 is difficult but not impossible. Corporate cultures are still very rigid - follow strict hierarchy, people don't trust each other and there's a whole lot of politics that goes on behind closed doors. These factors make them reluctant to change. The 9X problem of email is true and so is Bernard Lunn's 80%-20% rule. It might seem as if Enterprise 2.0 technology will after all never be adopted by the enterprise itself!

The above is true, because unlike the web, the enterprise is NOT democratic. Plugging web 2.0 philosophy into the enterprise might work for lesser important tools like Twitter. But it cannot work work wonders like it does in the outside world. Though the enterprises are open to increasing participation and communication, they are reluctant to being very transparent. Opening up a financial wiki with the yearly results or the HR wiki with the salary increments, to all employees would be an impossible thought for them.

A presentation that defines Enterprise 2.0 in its true glory.

Enterprise 2.0 software - What is important

With rising competition, the pressure to deliver in short times is high and makes the difference between the deal make-or-break. The need for an easy-to-use tool to create, capture and manage knowledge and make it available to the right people at the right time is the need of the hour.

In evangelizing cyn.in to enterprises, I have learnt that the most important feature for enterprises to adopt Enterprise 2.0 tools is “Selective Openness

Permissions to access information in an enterprise are based on the employee's roles. For example, some NDAs include clauses that disallow the details of a project to be disclosed to anyone else apart from those working on the team. Scenarios where content has to be carefully disclosed, Enterprise 2.0 technologies must play a role of enabling easy (selective) sharing of information at the same time allowing re-use of pre-created information.

cyn.in - social software with Selective Openness

In cyn.in we have a 5-pronged approach to attack this problem:

  1. Main Space - A central no-permissions-required space. A free-form collaboration area where anyone can add, collaborate upon and mine the grey matter of employees to get creative ideas that drive business. Stream of activities flow smoothly with recently worked/commented upon items bubbling to the top, making popular content emergent.

  2. Spaces with permissions - This is vital to large companies with diverse teams, where spaces act as virtual extensions of the physical workspace. Content created inside the spaces is visible only to members of the space. Members inside each space can play different roles like 'reviewer', 'collaborator' or 'viewer' allocated by the 'manager' of the space.

  3. Role based security: Role-based security and permission system allows fine-grained access control on content inside cyn.in. Select users or groups can be allocated explicit permissions to edit or review a wiki page, a blog post or file, enabling security for every item (leaf level) across the system.

  4. Workflows: Ready to use flexible business workflow engine to publish select items from a space to team members or the entire organization. Four step approval workflow allows users to first get a document approved before it is made available to people in the organization.

  5. Permission inheritance: Structured spaces inherit the access right of the Space above it making it easier to work inside space.

I think Spaces in cyn.in add the very special requirement of Selective Openness for enterprises and at the same time keep the web 2.0 concepts alive with the Main Space.

I'd love to hear your opinions on the concept of “Selective Openness” in Enterprise 2.0 applications. Do reply back with your ideas.

Related links:

See sharing and permissions in spaces in the live demo: http://cyn.in/demo-site

Read more about the Spaces in cyn.in here: cyn.in/explore/features/spaces