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on 14 June 2010
In my private life I have long been entranced by the potential of the collaborative internet (225 reviews in, this shouldn't come as a big surprise) and have, as a result being trying my darndest to evangelise its benefits in my professional life - no small challenge, involving as it does a bunch of lawyers inhabiting the more cobwebbed crannies in the infrastructure of a bank. To that end I've set up wikis, libraries, discussion forums and sharepoint sites all, for the most part, to no avail. Old habits die hard in any circumstance, but amongst moribund lawyers they live on like zombies.

In recent times I have taken to trying to understand, or at any rate deduce, whether it is simply a challenge to the design of our particular distributed system or whether it is more a problem of the psychological configuration of the communal working environment, or some unholy, un-dead combination of the two, which renders barren my efforts. Given my current place of toil is basically one gigantic supercomputer, part human, part machine and therefore, you would think, ripe for the benefits enterprise collaboration can bring - it is frustrating to say the least to discover how immune it appears to be to those very charms.

In my studies I have consulted learned (and excellent) theoretical volumes like Lawrence Lessig's Code: Version 2.0 and Yochai Benkler's The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom, and populist ones like Chris Anderson's The Long Tail and Don Tapscott's Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything, and all tell me, with varying degrees of erudition and insight, that the new world order is at hand.

Except, for all my efforts and enthusiasm, it isn't. Of the 585 articles in our wiki, I have personally authored, in their entirety, about 550 of them. I can't persuade anyone to use a discussion board but me (discussing things with myself palls after a while) and while SharePoint has been taken up with some gusto, it has invariably been done so stupidly, without thought for the collaborative opportunities it offers. Everyone sets up their own SharePoint sites, protects it like a fiefdom, and ignores all others.

I have been looking for the book that explains these challenges of the new world order and which explains how this entropy can be fought. Andrew Mcafee's Enterprise 2.0 might just be that book.

Mcafee is a believer, and a convert from a position of scepticism but, unlike (for example) Chris Anderson, he is not so starry eyed that he can't apprehend the challenges presented. Mcafee takes us through four case studies (all thrillingly on point for me!) of business executives trying, and struggling, to collaborate using existing tools. Mcafee maps these efforts (namely technological solutions) to his own sociological analysis which differentiates groups in terms of the strengths of existing ties between the individuals purporting to connect: there are strong bonds (as between direct colleagues in geographically centralised team, weaker bonds (as between fellow employees of a wider organisation) and right out at the limit, no particular bonds at all - the Wikipedia example. Different types of emergent social software platforms (ESSPs) work better for different types of community bond. Mcafee also deals with the "long haul" challenges, which acknowledges that, particularly where there is an "endowment" collaboration system to overcome (email being the most obvious), or where collaborative opportunity is "above the flow" rather than in it (i.e., collaboration is a voluntary action completed after the "compulsory" work is done), the change in behaviour will take a long time, so stick with it (encouraging stuff for this lone wiki collaborator!)

Ultimately Mcafee doesn't have the answers - nor should we expect him to - but his analysis is thoughtful, credible (as opposed to the more frequent "credulous") and optimistic - Enterprise 2.0 needs evangelists and "prime movers" who are engaged and prepared to stick with it - meaning that this is well recommended as a volume for those wanting a practical view of the enterprise benefits of social networking and Web 2.0.

Olly Buxton
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on 8 January 2010
Really enjoyed this concise overview of how businesses are utilising E2.0 to enable employees to get goals achieved using real world examples. The book is not about diving deep into technology, but rather about how these types of web2.0 technologies can aid businesses as well as covering the challenges faced by organisations evaluating or implementing such technologies. Andrew takes you on a journey with E2.0 touching many aspects of the benefits that Enterprise 2.0 can bring to businesses.

Coming from a technology background and having implemented, supported and sold collaborative capabilities over the past 12 years I am always looking for content that will aid me challenge my customers views of the new fads in the IT world and how to look for unique business opportunities to drive adoption and participation of E2.0 platforms.

I think this book really captures the essence of Andrew's blog and hopefully will provide the opportunity for him to deliver a follow-on work that provides a more detailed insight into the progression of E2.0 and of course E3.0, or whatever term is coined to label the next wave of collaboration capabilities.

One final comment relates to the term social, I like Andrew's idea of avoiding this term in some circumstances as in reality this is about collaboration and this has been a perfectly good term to describe the capabilities.
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on 17 May 2010
Andrew McAfee, a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, coined the term "Enterprise 2.0" to refer to the organizational use of wikis, blogs and social networks that are modeled after Web 2.0 sites, such as Facebook and Wikipedia. His thoughtful, insightful report details the remarkable innovations and benefits that Enterprise 2.0 enables. He explains how companies can exploit advanced Web technologies to become marketplace winners. Conversely, he warns that those who don't adapt to new technologies will fall behind. getAbstract recommends his well-informed book to executives, strategic planners and information technology leaders. It offers practical, advanced tools for remaining competitive.
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on 31 January 2010
I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in web 2.0 and how the associated technologies are utilised in the corporate world (and not just MNC's, even small businesses can take valuable learning away from this) I work in a FTSE 100 in a technology capacity and I could relate to the book on two levels. 1) How do we use web 2.0 in the enterprise to collaborate and communiate better internally with each other and 2) How do we use the same things to work better with our customers and provide better customer service to them. You can derive your own lessons from the book but I would say Mcafee touches nicely on both angles. Mcafee is a true expert in the field and coined the term "Enterprise 2.0" and there is a growing volume of literature on the topic. But for me, this is the place to start. Some excellent case studies of how companies have implemented successful web 2.0 strategies. You don't need to be an expert in anything to pick up this book. It is devoid of lingo, acroynyms and other annoying things which can cloud topics such as this. If you don't know what Twitter, Facbook, Wikis and collaborative tools are all about then have a read of this and you soon will!
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on 8 May 2014
It did not fully meet my expectations. I was expecting it to deal with the dos and donts of Enterprise 2.0 and roadmaps of its implementation in different environments.

However, it is interesting reading.
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on 24 August 2011
Professor McAfee's highly recommendable book is packed with relevant examples of how organizations from multifarious sectors have been able to reinvent themselves thanks to the Social Web (Web 2.0) through the application of Wikipedia-style open-source, collaborative models of information exchange across employees regardless of hierarchies.

Truly useful and visionary for anyone and everyone concerned with the future of managament and the future of organizations in these uncertain times.
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on 23 December 2011
This book is very well written and presents a very positive perspective on the transformation of enterprises business that happened with the use of Web 2.0 technologies.
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