Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Freedom of Information

The need for cultural change in association with the successful introduction of enterprise2.0 tools cannot be underestimated. One of the biggest is the need to move the organisation to one which embraces freedom of information rather than the unfortunately more common 'knowledge is power' and the 'need to know' attitudes are prevalent. This is readily illustrated if we consider the difference between a wiki and a classic content management system. In the case of the content management sytem we all have had the following experience:

You received an email with a link to an folder inside the content management system. When you clicked on the link surprise, surprise you are told you don't have permission to access this area. Ok so we all have this issue, one quick email off to the sender and when they come into work you will have access. You moved onto your next email and there is a link to a SharePoint site, click through and again you are told no permission, right repeat above process. A third email and …….. Ok you get the picture.

Why does this situation occur? Because we assume that all information should be restricted to only those who need to have access. We have set the default permissions on our content management systems and SharePoint instances to closed, no public access. We create silos of information that you can’t access, you cannot search and so you don’t know what’s in them. They are lost and any knowledge held with in them is wasted.

Let’s consider a wiki, ignoring the differences in user interface, at its heart it is just another content management system. But our starting point is to set the system up as open, everyone has access to everything. What a difference this simple change makes. Nothing is hidden, nothing is lost. You can search everything. Knowledge is captured and available to be reused by whoever finds it useful.

So if an open system encourages sharing and a closed one promotes silos why not encourage an open culture? Why not set all permissions on all content management systems to open? Only where it is business critical should they be changed to closed. If we are to realise the vision of a enterprise2.0 enabled organisation then we need to make this cultural change.

No comments: