McAfee’s “Empty Quarter,” mind meld, and backlash.
Posted by Susan Scrupski on November 13, 2006
I was encouraged when McAfee wrote about how his new Harvard graduates would be coming into the workforce with an “I want my
MTV Internet” attitude. This sentiment is what I’ve actually been trying to get across here and here. His latest post on the “Empty Quarter” is even closer to my personal experience researching the Computerworld story on Enterprise 2.0. (Incidentally, there is excellent commentary from Microsoft’s Alex Barnett on McAfee’s Empty Quarter post.)
But like I told Dion Hinchcliffe a while back… be prepared for the backlash. As talk of real Enterprise 2.0 starts trickling outside the echo chamber, we’re going to start seeing some real negativity. Rod Boothby and Tom Davenport were debating its merits here. And McAfee got slashdotted here for his efforts in evangelizing.
The flipside to this negativity is the positive experience I had recently while visiting an Interactive Agency, Avenue A| Razorfish (AARF). Clearly, this firm “gets it.” The company is delivering Enterprise 2.0 solutions (despite the backlash) to their Global brands. The firm also eats its dogfood. The company uses a wiki (MediaWiki) to collaborate. Interesting enough, the way to the corporate user-adoption nerve center may be through the Chief Marketing Officer, not the CIO. Better- a collaborative effort between these two executives. Even though, today, AARF is focused on building consumer brands, the firm survived the dotcom bust by building and implementing enterprise portals behind the firewall. That experience goes far to explain how AARF can converse easily with advisors, employees/clients, and knowledge workers who are expecting the same experience in the Enterprise world as they have in the consumer world. “Technology is an enabler,” said Amy Vickers, who is heading up AARF’s enterprise solutions. “There is a robust set of flexible combinations… users are more empowered to have a voice and IT manages the collaborative effort between business and technology,” she said.
This is where web 2.0 meets enterprise 2.0. What’s changed is the consumer taking control of the brand conversation, according to Vickers. But in the enterprise all users are “consumers.” Bob Lord, the East Coast President for AARF said, “IT is put on notice. No longer is it a blackbox mentality. The corporate knowledge worker is saying, ‘I can do this on Amazon, why can’t I get someone’s address?'”
As the evangelizing starts to move its way into the empty quarter, it may be coming in the front door (CMO) as well as the back (IT). It’s more about demand than supply, in other words.
Along these lines, industry leading B2Bonline has a cover story on web 2.0 today. I found this quote interesting:
Weber [Larry Weber, chairman-CEO of W2 Group] said this latest iteration of the Web makes the Internet “very emotive.”
“It’s not a channel anymore,” he said. “B-to-b marketers need to understand the profound impact this platform will have in their buying and selling, and in their relationships with customers. The job of marketers in b-to-b today is to be that of an aggregator of products, trends, issues, events and communities.”
He said marketers will need to venture beyond their own sites to other Web destinations where customers congregate. “A lot of the b-to-b companies don’t understand that they have to go out to other people’s `parties,’ ” he said. “It’s just like networking in the physical world. You have to start going out so that the community comes back to you as well.”
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