There are, obviously, many risks along with the benefits of implementing Enterprise 2.0 into your company. Understanding the potential benefits and risks that are relevant to your particular organisation is, according to Ross Dawson (2009), critical to being able to engage in the cycle of value creation. These can vary substantially depending on what type of company it is and its structure. In order to combat this, initiatives must be designed that will draw out the greatest potential benefits and that will fully address the potential risks and concerns that may arise.
Key potential benefits from implementing Enterprise 2.0 include:
* productivity and efficiency
* staff management
* knowledge sharing
* enhanced reputation
Key potential risks from implementing Enterprise 2.0 include:
* security issues
* loss of control
* impact on reputation
* information reliablity
* productivity impact.
Obviously there are counterpoints and responses to each of these potential risks and concerns that will alleviate their impact on the company overall. Ross (2009) also makes a compelling argument as to the risks a company runs by not implementing Enterprise 2.0. Such risks include:
* unauthorised use of web tools which could lead to IT security risks and a lack of integration with existing systems
* fragmentation of information, where information is inaccessible by the rest of the company
* increasing difficulty in attracting and retaining talented staff
* reduced competitiveness.
Clearly the risks a company runs by not implementing Enterprise 2.0 into their daily operations are much higher than the potential risks they may face in adopting this technology.
According to Jacob Morgan (2010), VistaPrint is a company that chose to implement Enterprise 2.0 into their daily operations. An online supplier of printed and promotional material as well as marketing services, VistaPrint is one of the fastest growing printing companies in North America. As an online company, Enterprise 2.0 and the technologies and applications it encompasses play a vital role in the success of VistaPrint. They currently focus on two things: an enterprise wiki and an internal ideation platform powered by Inutit. Jacob Morgan (2010) believes it is important to note that VistaPrint, as a company that has always valued idea sharing, wasn’t looking looking for Enterprise 2.0 solutions. Their goal was to collect ideas from everyone in the company and to let them flow in a natural, non-bureaucratic way. Web 2.0 just happened to be the solution for what they were looking for. The first step to this process was figuring out what they needed and then find the technology to support it. three key requirements were identified as crucial to making this a success:
1. A frictionless system that employees will want to adopt
2. A robust tool that will solve real business problems and can be integrated into existing work processes
3. A shift in company behavior to increase employee adoption.
The end result was Mediawiki, the same platform that runs Wikipedia and that allows for plug-ins which enable integration points into other platforms and tools. Given the structure of VistaPrint and its status as an online company, this kind of wiki was the best fit for the job and appears to have been very successful in providing its employees with a place to collaborate and share information and ideas.
The implementation of Mediawiki had two key impacts on the way that VistaPrint was operated. The first was the creation of a full-time innovation management position, which, Jacob Morgan (2010) believes, was “used to make employees aware of the successes that occurred as a result of collaborative idea sharing and to generate excitement around the ideation program”. Obviously the benefits of this new full time position will be that the reputation of VistaPrint in that particular sector will be enhanced, and new talented individuals will be drawn towards the company. The creation of the wiki could have resulted in unreliable information, but with proper training and guidance, VistaPrint were able to avoid this problem.
The second was the creation of a creation of a knowledge management group. Basically it was designed to address various inputs, including people, process, training, and adoption, and to help keep VistaPrint’s Enterprise 2.0 moving in the right direction. Obviously the management of staff was one other benefit that VistaPrint enjoyed from their Enterprise 2.0 implementation. Their productivity and efficiency improved overall, and knowledge was shared amongst staff members. Of course, this ran the risk of impacting negatively on the product VistaPrint provides its customers, but with proper training and effective use of communication skills, this issue was also avoided.