The Social Network and Community Approach for Enterprise 2.0: Drivers and Barriers in Marketing

The Social Network and Community Approach for Enterprise 2.0: Drivers and Barriers in Marketing

Mariano Corso (Polytechnic of Milano, Italy), Antonella Martini (University of Pisa, Italy) and Fiorella Crespi (Polytechnic of Milano, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-168-9.ch035
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Enterprise 2.0, or E2.0, refers to a set of organisational and technological approaches steered to enable new organisational models based on open involvement, emergent collaboration, knowledge sharing, and internal/external social network development and exploitation. It aims to respond to the new features and needs of people and boosts flexibility, adaptability, and innovation. Based on evidence from 52 case studies, a survey and a co-laboratory approach conducted by the Observatory on E2.0, the chapter analyses the social enterprise approach, which is one of the emerging E2.0 models. Specifically, this chapter reports the application areas (such as social network and community and unified communication & collaboration), the barriers for sales and marketing, and finally, the managerial guidelines.
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The term Enterprise 2.0 (E2.0) derives from Web 2.0 and is often used to indicate the introduction and implementation of social software inside a company and the social and organisational changes associated with it. The term was coined by Andrew McAfee, a Professor at Harvard Business School, to refer to simple, free platforms for self-expression (“that companies can buy or build in order to make visible the practices and outputs of their knowledge workers”, McAfee, 2006a, p. 23). He soon followed up with a refined definition: Enterprise 2.0 is the use of emergent social software platforms within companies, or between companies and their partners or customers. (McAfee, 2006b).

Since then, it has been given different definitions by scholars and practitioners (Hinchcliffe, 2006). We think that E2.0 calls for a broader vision of either of the organisational and technological model evolution, which includes the design of an adaptive architecture (Service-Oriented Architecture – SOA - and Business Process Management - BPM), Web 2.0 collaboration tools and enabling platform for relationships and processes (what we have called ‘virtual workspace’ – see the next § for details).

The emerging needs (Davenport, 2005; Tapscott and Williams, 2006; AAVV, 2007) to which E2.0 tries to respond can be divided into six key dimensions (Corso et al.2008):

Open belonging: people increasingly feel (and actually are) like members of extended dynamic networks rather than single organisations: through E2.0 technologies (content management systems shared by the intranet, extranet and internet, KM tools and collaboration tools open to external players, intranet-integrated operating applications such as supply chain management systems), it is possible to supply secure and selective access to information, tools and connections that go beyond the company's boundaries, interacting in an increasingly rich and effective manner with suppliers, consultants, partners, customers and other network players.

Social networking: people increasingly need to develop and maintain that network of relations that is becoming a more and more important asset for their professional efficiency (Cross et al., 2005; Surowiecki, 2004). E2.0 tools and approaches that track down people through basic information (such as the traditional telephone book or an online presence) or by associating advanced profiles (such as competence mapping, expert search, social networks) support the development and management of relations in order to track and contact co-workers and experts inside and outside the organisation, keeping their interests, skills and role profiles updated at all times.

Knowledge networks: to prevent their knowledge and skills from being surpassed workers must be able to build their own network to have access to knowledge and information from different sources, both explicit (document management systems, business intelligence, video sharing, podcasting, Really Simple Syndication (RSS) and implicit (systems that ease interaction between experts, such as forums, mailing lists, surveys, blogs, folksonomies, wikis) (Dearstyne, 2007).

Emergent collaboration: in an increasingly fast and unpredictable competitive scenario, people need to create cooperative settings in a fast, flexible way, even outside formal organisational patterns. E2.0 enables people to do this through faster and richer opportunities for interaction that are both synchronous (chat, instant messaging, video conference) and asynchronous (diary sharing, project management, exchange and co-editing of work documents, texting) which enable them to overcome geographical and time barriers in extended organisations.

Adaptive reconfigurability: in response to the endless changes taking place in corporate policies and strategies, people need to quickly reconfigure their own processes and activities. Technologies such as SOA, BPM, mash-ups, SaaS and Rich Internet Applications (RIA) can give the companies and sometimes, the users themselves, the tools they need to redefine and adapt their processes in a dynamic, flexible and personal way that can hardly be given by any traditional technology.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Social Network & Community: it is one of the E2.0 application areas which supports in managing and creating relationships between individuals through tools promoting discussion, the exchange of ideas and involvement in networks of extended acquaintances, including those beyond company borders (blogs, forums, social network tools, expert research, advanced user profiles, etc.).

Virtual Workspace: it is an integrated working space where employees can find what they need to work, to learn, to know and to interact with others. It represents the 2nd era of the Intranet.

Enterprise 2.0: E2.0 is a set of organizational and technological approaches steered to enable new organization models, based on open involvement, emergent collaboration, knowledge sharing, internal/external social network development and exploitation.

Social Enterprise: it is one of the E2.0 models that emphasises the creation of new collaborative schemes, knowledge sharing and relationship management.

Unified Communication & Collaboration: it is one the E2.0 application areas which supports the management of each type of communication and collaboration, both within and outside the company, uniformly and independently of the media adopted to transmit contents (web, landlines, mobile, TV) through specific infrastructures and tools (audio/web/videoconferencing, instant messaging, VoIP, etc.).

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