I struggle with the term Enterprise 2.0 but not the concepts. Recently I have heard multiple vendors throw out the term Enterprise 2.0 and I cringe every time that I hear that. I question if they know what they are talking about or are they just trying to sell me something.

I have been in favor of terms like “improved collaboration” for a while now but really see collaboration as a result of Enterprise 2.0 but not the label for it. The next question the business folks usually have for improved collaboration is “how are you going to do that?” and by the time that we get to integration of blogs, wikis, and portals they are completely lost. The term that I am most comfortable with lately is  “Enterprise Social Computing”.  The business folk are starting to see and understand the value of social networking but still need to better understand how it can integrate with their applications and business process to be effective.

I have seen this term a lot lately and first saw it on Dion Hinchcliffe’s Enterprise Web 2.0 blog. Here is Dion’s explanation of Social Computing:

What is social computing? It’s the use of social software within and between organizations and any interested parties such as employees, customers, and partners. Social computing, as explained here, can usher in significant large-scale shifts in where productive forces and innovation come from. Organizations will all adopt enterprise social computing tools in slightly different ways and will generally proceed from ad hoc usage, often by applying widely available consumer tools at first, to more evolved open business models.

Social tools on the Internet have different requirements than Social tools behind the firewall, however a lot of organizations are starting to open up tools and functions that allow folks outside to organization to access data and resources inside the organization. This shift from a totally insulated Intranet to a somewhat open type of Intranet is starting to emerge. MIT is a great example of this with the our OpenCourseWare Project, sharing data and resources with non-MIT students, faculty and staff.

To enable this shift, the tools used by the Enterprise need to change as organizations allow partners and customers access to real time data within the Intranet. Architecture, Authentication strategies and Identity Management will play a big role in security and deployment strategies. Organizations need to balance the security requirements of their most confidential data with the transparent needs of their employees, partners and customers. The “lock everything down model” is no longer acceptable in our 2.0 world and organizational culture will play a big role in adoption and in the transparency of these tools.

So for me, the concepts are the same, but my terminology is different.