New terms or new trends?

The twitter buzz yesterday was about two posts by Stowe Boyd and Randal (Rand) Leeb-du Toit advocating Social Business as terms for Enterprise 2.0, along with the launches of new consulting services.

Names have value. Sector names are powerful totems in the consulting business. As a recovering industry analyst, I remember well the desire to name trends, and to have your name associated with the trend. And when innovation happens, it helps to be able to call it something. At Socialtext, we pioneered the adaptation of internet tools for collaboration and communication for business use, well before there were names for things. It was a lot harder to explain what we were doing before someone coined Enterprise 2.0.

In this case, the proposed change from “Enterprise 2.0” to “Social Business” is a lot less interesting than the trend the advocates are describing. Boyd and DuToit’s posts both describe a shift from an early market phase, when early adopters experiment with bringing web 2.0 tools and techniques to the organization, to a more mature phase, in which people have a more sophisticated understanding about evolving their organizations to take advantage of the tools, and the tools are deeply adapted to be suitable for organizational use.

So, switch terms? Shrug. Think more deeply and act more powerfully to adapt organizations and tools? A good thing to talk about and to do.

One thought on “New terms or new trends?”

  1. I’d like to insert a word in your last sentence (if I may be so bold!)… “A good thing to talk about and HARD to do.” As we’re pulling together some research survey questions on the state of early adoption, I commented this morning to my colleague that Enterprise 2.0 is not an event, it’s a process, and it’s never “over.”

    I think most of us who’ve been comfortable with the e20 meme have always seen it as a journey– where a vanishing point in the distance points to a desired state of being for the enterprise. How far away that is and long it will take to get there for each company is unique. I can safely say among the companies I know who are engaged in that pursuit today– not one acknowledges they’re there yet.

    So, to introduce a wholesale repackaging/repositioning of the term is counter-productive today. We’ve always talked about a radical change in the organization that impacts all operational and cultural facets of a business or organization when we talk about e20 transformation. Unless something radically new is being introduced into the equation, I’m not convinced it’s time to shift gears and confuse or complicate a market that is experiencing early successes.

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