Interesting article from Steve Hodgkinson in MIS Australia this month, on what’s new in public sector IT.
He documents the ‘storms’ he sees coming in public sector IT. There are eight in total, but it is interesting to see two in particular: Collaboration and content management, and Enterprise 2.0.
The first is about providing better, more integrated tools to ‘knowledge workers’ for creating, storing and sharing information.
This is one of the key issues that knowledge management has struggled with. When a great deal of effort is spent working out what should be captured, who should be connected and what should be shared, the result is often a detailed business case proposing a highly structured KM solution. This needs substantial time and effort to engage people in using it and drive the right behaviours.
We talk about breaking down organisational silos for our employees, and yet we give them tools such as KM repositories, shared drives and email that place all their information into, guess what, silos!
The second is the opportunity of Enterprise 2.0. Enterprise 2.0 tools are very strong for a number of reasons – they are democratic, have a low or non-existent barrier to entry, are quick for the user to engage with and contribute to, can be economical to deploy even within the firewall, are very agile (can grow and change quickly) and are easily embedded in the users’ desktop, ie one click away on the corporate web.
Properly deployed and supported, they democratise information, making more of it more widely available. So they can play a key role in connecting people up and down hierarchies and across organisational teams.
So for any organisation looking to cut costs, they provide great potential. But as we’ve cautioned before, deploying them is not primarily a technology project.