We’re right in the middle of finding companies interested in being part of our research. We’ve got some very strong candidates that we think will make for some interesting case studies: more of that anon. Right now, I want to share a couple of thoughts that have occurred to me in relation to the conversations we’ve had so far.
People want to talk
The people running these projects want to talk to someone about them: they’ve been working hard trying to make the companies they work for more effective and efficient through, for example, better knowledge sharing, increased situational awareness or a more human workplace. They know they’re doing good work and they want this to be recognised, both internally and externally.
Do big companies make more use of enterprise 2.0 than small ones?
We’re trying to recruit 4 SMEs and 4 large companies but most of the companies we’ve spoken to so far are above the SME bracket in terms of size and revenue. There are a few reasons I can think of for why this might be:
- Sampling bias: We’ve publicised our research on this blog and on the Headshift blog and we’ve been talking to our friends and contacts about who they know who could be interested. Perhaps big companies are over-represented, in relation the whole set of enterprise 2.0 users, among the people who we’re connected to via these channels.
- Big companies want to talk more: Maybe big companies aren’t over-represented, but they are more interested in or have more time to get involved in this sort of research than SMEs do.
- Big companies use enterprise 2.0 more: enterprise 2.0 tools, platforms and services enable human connections over a larger scale. If you work in a small company, it’s easy to talk to the people you work with. You can bump into them in the corridor or the kitchen and chat to them in the pub after work. Perhaps as a company grows in size, these sorts of face-to-face connections don’t scale and the value to the business of using enterprise 2.0 increases.
I have no idea which of these, if any, is the correct explanation and I’m not sure whether we’ll answer this question during the course of the project. Interesting to ponder though.
As I said earlier, these are just feelings based on a small number of conversations and may be wide of the mark. If you have any views, please share them in the comments.
As I’ve just said over on the Headshift blog, we think that enterprise 2.0 has the potential to make companies more agile and competitive: it’s changing the way that people in organisations work by giving them simple software tools that support the informal processes that are part of any healthy organisation. This change and its concomitant potential for humanising the enterprise are two important reasons why we’re so interested in being part of this research.
Headshift’s contribution to the research is twofold. Firstly, we’ll be undertaking some research into what companies are using enterprise 2.0 for, both at a broad level to produce a typology of use cases and a more specific level to produce a set of 8 case studies. The case studies will be in-depth accounts of how individual companies are using enterprise 2.0 tools: what business need they’re meeting; what technology is being used; what problems have been faced and dealt with; the costs associated with the project and what the outcomes have been for the organisation.
Secondly, we’ll be investigating the legal aspects of cloud-based enterprise 2.0 use: the legal barriers or uncertainties that prevent companies from taking full advantage of the technologies available, the common contractual relationships that exist between suppliers of cloud-based enterprise 2.0 tools and their customers and whether there are common contractual considerations that are likely to impede the adoption of enterprise 2.0 software.
Right now, we’re in the process of putting together a long list of case study candidates. To make this research as comprehensive as possible, we want to cast our nets wide and talk to people we’ve never met and who are using enterprise 2.0 tools in ways we haven’t come across before.
If you’re interested in being part of the case study research – raising the profile, internally and externally, of what you’re doing – or you know someone else who is, talk to us in the comments or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you.