Digital natives are taking control
Many companies are finding it difficult to ignore the digital natives within their ranks. These are employees in their 20s and 30s who grew up using many forms of digital communications and now are changing the culture of communication at the organizations where they work. The fashionable term “Enterprise 2.0” is often used to describe these changes. What does this mean for your company?
The generation that grew up with the Internet is always “on”. For them, collaboration and a constant exchange of information via Web conferences, wikis, blogs, forums, and instant messaging are as normal as picking up a telephone. So naturally they expect to take full advantage of these tools in their professional lives as well.
But this affects their employers in unexpected ways. The new generation of employees expects their companies to not only launch Web applications, but to provide greater transparency, interconnectedness, and openness overall. In short: they are leading a cultural shift. For them, a marketing department that doesn’t constantly talk to R&D is unheard of. Collaboration and an exchange of experiences among departments and even across company boundaries is the name of the game and this is where the new generation draws its enthusiasm.
However, the benefits of the Enterprise 2.0 culture go beyond just attracting and retaining young talent with the latest collaboration technologies and an open culture of communication. Embracing these changes brings genuine financial benefits. According to the Towers Watson report titled "2009/2010 Communication ROI" , in the past five years, companies that communicate efficiently have achieved 47% higher returns than companies with less effective systems of communication.
Andrew McAfee coined the term “Enterprise 2.0”. His new book “Enterprise 2.0: New Collaborative Tools for Your Organization’s Toughest Challenges” , provides a good overview of available technologies and how companies can use them effectively. He also offers advice for decision-makers on how to choose and launch the right tools. Making the right choices early can produce tangible benefits, since greater transparency and a more active exchange of information ultimately lead to shorter innovation cycles, faster product launches, and lower costs. As a result, the firm remains highly competitive and is prepared to confidently meet the challenges of the future.
The European Union has recognized these trends and is currently conducting a comprehensive study of Enterprise 2.0. The principals of the study are keeping the public up-to-date on their progress in their blog . They plan to release the first results in May 2010.