What’s Most Important for Success with Enterprise 2.0?

I spoke earlier this week at the FASTForward conference in Orlando, and used the opportunity to toss out some conjectures about the factors that differentiate successful Enterprise 2.0 deployments from unsuccessful ones. These conjectures were not developed from any rigorous or comprehensive research, but instead are the inductive result of my work over the past two years to understand the use of emergent social software platforms in pursuit of business goals. I can’t claim that they’re complete, 100% correct, or ‘better’ than anyone else’s hypotheses. I present them at this point primarily to get the ideas out there, to stimulate discussion, and perhaps to provide some guidance.

I divide these conjectures into three areas: aspects of the technologies deployed, support for the deployment initiative itself, and the culture of the deploying company. I’ll expand on each of these areas and the individual conjectures in later posts. For now I just wanted to list them so that people can react.

In the lists below bold type denotes importance  —  things that are especially important to get right in order to succeed with E2.0. Italics denote difficulty —  aspects of technology, initiatives, and culture that seem to be particularly hard to get right.

More on all of this will come later. For now, take a look and let us know what you think. Are any of these just plain wrong, or badly off base? Are the lists missing anything critical? Do you agree with the assessments of difficulty and importance, or do you have very different views? Leave a comment, please, and let us know.

Enterprise 2.0 is more likely if…


  • Tools are intuitive and easy to use
  • Tools are egalitarian and freeform
  • Borders seem appropriate to users
  • At least some of the tools are explicitly social
  • The toolset is quickly standardized

Support for the Initiative

  • Incentives exist, and are soft
  • Excellent gardeners exist
  • Patient and dedicated evangelists exist
  • Energy and activity are primarily bottom-up
  • Effort has official and unofficial support from the top
  • Goals are clear and well-explained


  • People are trusted
  • Slack exists in the workweek
  • Helpfulness has been the norm
  • Top management supports lateralization
  • There are lots of young people
  • There is pent-up demand for better information sharing