Notes from the Leaders in London conference held last December included an interesting quote from Larry Bassidy, former CEO at Honeywell:

“Ask a CEO what kind of culture they have and they will describe the kind of culture they want, as if it exists, instead of describing what is really going on”

A similar phrase could be applied to a lot of IT projects. The explosion of Web 2.0 activities in the consumer world are beginning to infiltrate the enterprise world. Indeed, the phrase Enterprise 2.0 is becoming a popular buzz word. But I’m not convinced those who say they want Enterprise 2.0 really do want Enterprise 2.0.

For example, a lot of projects these days include statements such as “we want a user-centred design”, “we want to focus on user experience”, “we want to encourage collaboration and knowledge sharing”, “people are our most important asset”… But when you start delving into what is actually required, the following statements start to crop up: “users must store their documents on the intranet”, “we want to apply consistent standards and formats”, “we want to ensure best practices are captured and re-used”… Hmmm, not much emphasis on putting the user at the centre when it comes down to the nitty-gritty.

I’m not saying any of these requirements are wrong (tempting thought though…) But there is little point starting with a claim that you want one type of system – one that helps people work together and get stuff done – when the requirements suggest you want a very different type of system – one that manages and monitors what people do.

Just a thought, whilst SharePoint is bathing in the mud pit…

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