The Future of Enterprise Computing – and Social Computing

I wrote the other day about how highly ranked the University of Virginia’s undergrad business school is (a close second in BusinessWeek’s annual ranking), and mentioned that one reason is the creative research and programs they sponsor.

In fact, thanks to UVA’s McIntire School of Commerce, I enjoyed a great day recently exploring some of my favorite topics with leading experts.  I was an invited speaker at their one-day conference on The Future of Enterprise Computing on March 14th, presented by McIntire’s Center for the Management of Information Technology (CMIT).  It was a fascinating day….

CMIT’s director, Prof. Ryan Nelson, assembled a top-notch lineup of speakers (and threw me in for fun):

  • Andrew McAfee, Harvard Business School, the person credited with coining the term “Enterprise 2.0″
  • Paul Daugherty, Accenture’s Chief Technology Architect and Chairman of the Advisory Board of the New York-based Academy of Information Technology
  • Jeff Kelly, Director of Educational Solutions for Hinchcliffe & Company and their  Web 2.0 University
  • Lewis Shepherd, CTO at Microsoft’s Institute for Advanced Technology in Governments

Andrew has a great blog (he was famously the first Harvard Business School prof to blog, in fact), and I recall that I had a fist-pumping “Yes!” moment back in early 2007 when he mentioned in his blog our work at DIA as a positive example of “Enterprise 2.0,” citing a ComputerWorld story.  Since then, he’s become one of the best outside experts on the intelligence community’s use of Enteprise 2.0 approaches and tools, and has been developing a new HBS case study on the development and use of the IC’s Intellipedia wiki, interviewing people like my friend Chris Rasmussen.

Andrew’s presentation at UVA was really interesting, and I’d recount it but Jeff Kelly has already blogged about the conference with some insightful discussion of each presentation, including mine. I’d encourage you to read his accounts.

The only thing I’ll add is a few pointers about my presentation, Key Factors in the Future of Enterprise Computing in the Government Enterprise.

Shepherd at UVA ConferenceThe “Key Factors” of the title are Scale, Security, and Smart Systems. These are essential topics to think about from an enterprise standpoint, beyond just adopting Web 2.0 tools.

The points I’ll add here are relevant to my discussion of Intellipedia adoption and usage (the case study on slides 22-30). In particular, during my remarks I  discussed the inverse relationship depicted on slide 28: there’s been far greater usage (by pages, edits, and numbers of users) of the DNI’s Intellipedia version on the Top Secret network (JWICS), and far less usage on the “Unclassified” version… yet the latter has by definition a far vaster horizon of what could be written and included, and a much wider audience of potential users.

Thus what I refer to as a “Walled Gardens within a Walled Garden” environment with the 3 Intellipedias has not resulted in uniformly hockey-stick growth, and that speaks to the (perceived or actual) relative value of the information at the highest classification levels.  “If it’s highly classified, it’s gotta be good,” many think, and there may be implications here for other government and non-government enterprises in terms of the social dynamics of information sharing.

I may post more on this topic in future, because Microsoft Research and Live Labs are each working on related issues in understanding how and why people decide to engage in collaborative or sharing behavior within formal and informal networks, and how systems can take advantage of (or even replace) their determination to do so.

By the way, among the other benefits of the conference was meeting several of the 70 or so graduate students in UVa’s M.S. degree program in Management of Information Technology, including Troy Raines, who is also a Microsoft employee; this is quite evidently an excellent executive mid-career program with participation from some of the nation’s top companies.  I hope to remain involved with Prof. Nelson’s work in future.

(The photo of me above,with my attractive UVA necktie, is by Brian Weston.)

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2 Responses

  1. […] public links >> andrewmcafee The Future of Enterprise Computing – and Social Computing Saved by arunsimha on Sun 02-11-2008 What’s emerging? Saved by chuiyi on Sun 02-11-2008 The […]


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