6 Best Practices for Enterprise 2.0 Implementations

In the February installment of Oracle’s Enterprise 2.0 Newsletter I had an opportunity to share a series of tips around addressing business issues, management costs and deployment strategies for the latest generation Enterprise 2.0 technologies.

The following post was originally published Nov 9th 2010 within an Oracle WebCenter Newsletter and a copy is available on Oracle’s WebCenter Blog.

“We asked John Brunswick, a leading industry expert on portal and Enterprise 2.0 technologies, to share his thoughts on Enterprise 2.0 implementation best practices.

Here are six best practices for successful Enterprise 2.0 implementation that Brunswick shared with us:

1. Embrace Configuration-Based Development

“As with any development activity, you must factor in post-development, like code maintenance and ongoing stakeholder ownership. Fortunately, you can achieve tremendous cost savings by leveraging configurable components provided by enterprise services for content, collaboration, and key application components.

These components enable light customization based on parameters and can be used within a portal of an external Website, increasing speed and agility in solution development. These efficiencies are due to the maturity of fundamental portal, content, and collaboration services, combined with new interoperability standards like WSRP2, JSR286, and REST.”

2. Filter Projects Using Strict Business Buy-In

“Due to the low technical cost of provisioning most E2.0 services like blogs, wikis, and tagging, there are often less stringent justifications around their use. However, you must consider the need to manage user-generated content, which itself can involve cost and complexity. So as with traditional IT projects, it’s critical that you clearly establish the business value of any E2.0 technology you adopt.”

3. Think Solutions, Not Raw Materials

“Commercial Websites like Google, Wikipedia, Amazon.com, and Orbitz have given users a deeper understanding about the kinds of services the Web can offer. As a result, members of your organization may “self-subscribe” to similar E2.0 services for their internal business solutions. For example, instead of asking for the ability to share news and updates with colleagues and business partners, they will specifically ask for an ‘RSS’ feed, even though that may not be the best solution as you consider the kind of content presented, its lifecycle, and how it will be consumed.”

4. Services–A Single Source for Infrastructure

“Just as corporate LDAP directory services represent a central store of user information, E2.0 services can be maintained and provisioned in a similar fashion. Mature, enterprise-caliber content, collaboration, and portal technologies should offer the ability to provide multi-site support, as well as REST or other standards-based interfaces for consuming and interacting with them.

This approach provides infrastructure cost savings, reduces information sprawl, and allows enterprise security and roles to span the systems and content. In addition, advanced features like retention policies, analytics, workflow, auditing, and archiving can provide benefits across multiple deployments.”

5. Big Audience Doesn’t Mean Big Value

“Deploying a solution to 10,000 users with limited business value is far less meaningful than providing 100 users with an outstanding solution. And since a new feature increases the amount of information and systems presented to users, it can actually have a negative impact on overall productivity as the noise-to-signal ratio rises.

When deploying next-generation collaboration tools like wikis or blogs, this is especially critical. Instead of deploying a generic corporate wiki, consider one that specifically captures tacit knowledge around particular departmental processes. In this way, employees gain self-service access to the most current, community-generated information specific to their task at hand.”

6. Relevance is Quality

“Complaints about enterprise search are common. Usually, the culprit is poorly governed content. Fortunately, there are a few technical aids that can help.

By using native processes and tools that provide and enforce retention policies, archival conditions, and metadata requirements, the overall quality of interactions with a portal, Website or collaborative environment can greatly increase. For instance, if not a single user has opened a particular document in three years, chances are that it is better to archive the item. This simple approach can easily cut down on 25 percent of all content that a user must browse through.

Similarly, if a particular section of a site relies on metadata to display items in an optimal manner, it is possible to technically mandate that items need certain attributes to become visible to end users.”

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