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Open Text on Enterprise 2.0

1995-6 I was VP of strategic marketing at Open Text, right when it went from search engines to intranet collaboration software. I’m at a CIO ass’n meeting in Waterloo, Ontario, where Open Text’s exec chair, and my old boss (and current friend), Tom Jenkins is giving a talk on Enterprise 2.0. Also, last year I did a paid consulting day at Open Text. So, I am biased in just about every way a person can be biased, from sentimental memories to the possibility of future consulting. With that in mind, here goes:

Tom begins by pointing to the Obama campaign. “2.0 is here,” he says, pointing at Obama’s “community blogs” page. Politicians are breaking out of the confines of the media. But, of course, not just politicians, he says.

Web 2.0 really points to two facts: We have bandwidth and an enormous volume of users. (Web 2.0 was always with us in some ways, says Tom, as I nod vigorously.) In 2.0, everyone gets to talk and everyone gets to listen.

He points to the dangers of a 2.0 world. E.g., a Canadian passport control person blogged about the secret marks on passports. The blog site had been intended to increase productivity, but because it was a public site, a secret was blown. Nevertheless, says Tom, “You can’t bury your head in the sand. In the long term, you’ll be at a competitive disadvantage with companies that do embrace these productivity tools.” Not to mention, you won’t be able to hire and keep under-30s (Tom says).

Tom calls Web 1.5 what happened around 2000. Also around then, the lawyers started getting nervous.

Tom contrasts Web 1.0 and Web 2.0: from inform to engage, from few authors to many, from few contributors to many. In Web 2.0, treats the Web as a platform with “desktop-level bandwidth” (or so).

Tom places metadata at the center of content management [and literally points to me in the audience <blush>]


“Social networking is shaping the minds of our employees,” his slide says. Yahoo, Google, etc., are “pre-training our employees.”

We’re starting to map the business processes to the social and human processes, Tom says. This requires getting past technology lock-ins.

Some random facts from Tom:
We have produced 32 M books in our history. That’s about 600 TeraBytes
100,000 films cumulative history= 20TB
4M songs cumulative history = 8TB
300TB of email per year.
100TB Web pages = 100

Alp Hug from Open Text takes up the talk, to explain how to take advantage of 2.0 technology in the organization while avoiding the dangers, which — what a shock! — happens to map to Open Text’s software and services. [It’s good to see Open Text embracing this social software stuff.] [Tags: ]

6 Responses to “Open Text on Enterprise 2.0”

  1. “Tom begins by pointing to the Obama campaign.”

    And let me point to my column:

    “Great internet campaigns don’t guarantee success in politics”

    The above seems a perfect example of the technique that I was outlining – evangelists point to the one winner, talk- it up, strongly imply their snake-oil is the recipe for success – ignoring all the other people who drank the Kool-Aid and crashed and burned (e.g. John Edwards).

    “everyone gets to talk and everyone gets to listen”

    Like all animals are equals but some are more equal than others.

  2. Seth, Tom didn’t point to Obama as a winner. He didn’t make any claim about the importance of the Web to Obama’s success so far. All he did was what I said: Used it as an example that Web 2.0 stuff is getting used in lots of places. What you claim this is a “perfect example” of is entirely your conjecture about what Tom said, and your conjecture is wrong.

  3. You mean he pointed to unimportant aspect of Obama’s campaign, one which has no contribution to his success? Well, you said it, not me! :-)
    [That’s a joke! It wasn’t a serious assertion of what you said, it was meant as humor!]

    Note two words I used in my comment: “strongly imply“. I would indeed assert there’s an implication. That can’t be proven, as a logical matter.

    But he sure didn’t say “Web 2.0 is here” – pointing to the defunct John Edwards campaign. Or “Web 2.0 is here” – pointing to the RuPaul lunatic fringe. And coupled with “Politicians are breaking out of the confines of the media.” – another aspect I discuss at length in my column – I don’t think such an implication is ungrounded in the text. Plus “In the long term, you’ll be at a competitive disadvantage with companies that do embrace these productivity tools”. That sure sounds in context like an IMPLICATION that Obama had a competitive advantage, even if the exact words “Obama had a competitive advantage” are nowhere to be found.

  4. Seth, Tom in fact said parenthetically, “I’m using the Obama campaign because I know David Weinberger is in the room and he’s an Obama supporter.” It was his way of making a friendly gesture to me.

    Tom does indeed think that social sw is important to corporations, but you are tying together two sentences separated by the entire length of his talk. His point really was exactly as I reported it: The fact that social sw is showing up in US presidential campaigns is evidence that “web 2.0 is here.”

    You are arguing against a strawperson of your own devising.

  5. Well, how can we distinguish between an unacknowledged implication, and a straw argument? That’s the deep problem.

    I”ll point out you were also a John Edwards supporter, and didn’t you have a closer association with that campaign in terms of tech policy than you do with Obama, and the campaign was much more “Web 2.0″ emphasized? (bluntly, we’re going around the point that of course he wants to point to a success instead of a failure).

    For the purposes of discussion, I’m working from your blog post, which granted, is not a transcription. However, even you noted “… to explain how to take advantage of 2.0 technology in the organization while avoiding the dangers, which — what a shock! — happens to map to Open Text’s software and services”. So that sentiment doesn’t seem to be my invention.

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