Giving your employees a square peg and a round hole

A tag cloud with terms related to Web 2.
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Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions are expensive, difficult for your IT team to integrate, never do what you’d hoped them to accomplish, and ultimately are hated by your employees (I wonder if those last two have anything to do with each other).

Why are there so many problems with them? They were designed by programmers and engineers to work a certain way. Programmers think very logically following parent-child relationships with the data and the process involved in using them. Your employees don’t.

It is much like handing your employees a square peg when they are working with round holes. the square peg was very well designed and built and works great at the programmers job, where he has square holes. After much weeping and gnashing of teeth, the programmers concede and design an upgrade that allows the employees the ability to open a new program which will convert the square into a circle. But it turns out that program doesn’t work on Mac’s or Windows Vista. I could extend this metaphor forever.

The knowledge workers in your organization work in a very specific way. And that way is specific to each knowledge worker. Why would you hand each of them a tool that doesn’t work the way that any of them work? The answer, is that it’s easier for the programmers to design one tool, that works one way.

The beautiful thing about the marriage of IT and Web 2.0 is what Andrew McAfee calls Enterprise 2.0. E2.0 allows your employees the ability to work however is most effective for them. What a novel idea. Instead of handing them the square peg to be filed away in their desk (or worse) until they get a chance to convert it later, why not hand them a ball of clay and let them create the tools and processes that work best for them.

Blogs, Wiki’s, Forums, and all things RSS allow for an incredible amount of collaboration and innovation, which are ultimately more powerful, faster and more effective than the options previously available.

(They’re usually cheaper too. Bonus!)

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About Tac Anderson

Social media anthropologist. Communications strategist. Business model junkie. Chief blogger here at New Comm Biz.
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