The dissertationWhy can't a blog be an enterprise initiative ? What if all your employees where blogging to the world in your enterprise blog, instead of doing it in public spaces ? Who should do it? Is Enterprise Blogging a good step ?
Returning to the youth shareIn my youth, everybody was having a diary. In Christmas, someone was sponsoring that small book, where we were writing our day to day thoughts and projects. Well, I must confess I never had a diary (sorry guys…..no secrets are going to be revealed on a book showing up at Amazon!), but, as a reader of this article, you’re reading my virtual “diary”, and that maybe be similar to becoming to my youth and get one of those books.
Web logs took the web. Every tech geek has got one, and now the whole thing is becoming a wave. Even politicians are getting one, trying to show they’re on the new hi-techs and blogging their politic thoughts. With this, the information chain available is changing. In the past, a company was perfectly controlling the information available outside it, about internal developments, future plans and partially confidential information. In the present, the employees exchange mail, blog some code, publish thoughts and plans, and all the internal enterprise knowledge is becoming exposed. Social engineering, for example, can be started with google. If you want to know something about someone, just type his name on google. If you even don’t know someone from a company, just go to a service like LinkedIn and type the company. A name will appear. The quantity of information indexed on the web, is definitely exposing enterprise information that earlier was protected by low tech. If you want to know what tech does your competitor uses, just get a head hunter and ask him to send resumes of your competitor's employees.
The information consumer metamorphosisInformation consumers are also changing. In the past, to get information about a subject, we had newspapers, public libraries, press releases and so on. Now, we’re just using a search engine - everything is becoming an information repository. Having this level of information is changing the user behaviours. We’re starting to not read anymore newspapers. We’re not seeing the night TV news report anymore, since we can just subscribe a RSS news feed. We do not need any more public libraries, since we can have something like wikipedia. This is definitely changing the consumer demands as well as the customer information level. In the past, we all took attention to marketing “firewalled” reports and press releases, but now we’ll search the insider report by reading the employee web log.
Although, some web log information must be sanitized. Once web logs are getting universal and almost demanded, some individuals tend to blog just to say what they eat for lunch or where did they go on the weekend. But also on the opposite side, a lot write about their technical perspectives, solutions, publish general white papers for problems, or disseminate about an idea.
But definitely, your enterprise is being exposed by the web and your own employees. And you’re doing nothing about it – and maybe worst is that you can’t do anything about it. Well, you can close your company’s web connection, and publish disclaimers and confidential clauses in all your employees’ contracts, but even like that you’re still exposed. Nowadays, every home has a broadband connection, and everybody knows what a browser is. Your 6 year old children has better knowledge about e-mail, than a 50 year old mature adult about a phone that was invented more than a hundred years ago. When the US army was exposed by pictures taken by their own soldiers, a problem bigger than expected was emerging. How to control the military information exchanged between soldiers and their family by phone or e-mail? How to control the photos taken by digital cameras that every day are becoming smaller and smaller?
All these facts are leading to an out of control exposure. But is it really an exposure? As I said before, the information consumer demands are getting bigger and bigger. He does not care about its software supplier corporate website, where he sees a nice and appellative box, or a nice powerpoint presentation, showing great animations and product comparisons, or a pdf file showing never ending stories from the satisfied customers that maybe don’t even exist. The customer wants to know who develops his product, what is the technicians background and the technical trust that they can gave us. The customer wants to get involved with the development process. He wants to post in the software company public forums, and share experiences. So, the question again: Is it really an exposure? No. It’s a new opportunity to become closer to your customer. It’s a new opportunity to become accredited by the market. And enterprise blogging can change your relationship with it.
But truth is...I’m sure most of CEO won’t agree with this concept. The fact of someone publishes a stupid idea on a corporate space, can ruin his fame. We’ll.. and he’s right! But if his company is hiring someone that can do it, the problem is worst, no? In my opinion, the problem starts earlier. Maybe he as hired his employees and resources thinking on the budget and not on their positive contribution to the success of his company. Probably he has dozen of hands instead millions of neurones. Or maybe he still think that he can control all the organization. Does he control every conversation that his employees have with his customers? No. And he also can’t record it for further evaluation, right? Does he control the beer in the saturday night bar, where his employee reveals the project he is doing since two months ago, and that will change the company’s future? Does he evaluate in runtime the public opinion about his own employee? The answers to all the questions is NO. But he can do it with blogging. Why can’t a web log be evaluated by its quality? Writing a good and interesting web log is harder that it looks. It takes time, energy and effort. The employee has to be proactive to do it. It has to document himself for not running the risk of publishing something wrong. The employee stays exposed to the public opinion about its own work. So, as a CEO, you may evaluate your employees, record their opinions, and make your company more transparent to your customers. Better than all this, is that the employee will feel that is part of the company, having power and responsability about his own opinions, and this is very good to motivation. So, you're winning an evaluation tool, a closer and transparent relationship with the customer, and a motivated worker!
Be aware: transparent companies are winning to your old, confidential and infallible business processes. Smaller and much exposed companies may be running you out of your confidential business. Get ready, and share your company with the public.
Future posts will dissertate the organization of an enterprise web log. How to create it, who posts, when to post and what to post. Hope you're becoming interested in the subject ;)