Companies are approaching Web 2.0, or Enterprise 2.0, technologies in different ways—some embrace them entirely, while others have their heads in the sand, concerned about wasting time and energy, or diverting resources from core activities. But developing an approach to Enterprise 2.0 is critical. You just need to make sure that you’re thinking about your real goals, staying abreast of new technologies, and planning ahead.
For years Oracle has been building an ecosystem of users, customers, partners, and others, through comprehensive customer advocacy programs (see the interview with Oracle’s Jeb Dasteel to find out more), Oracle Technology Network (OTN), and hundreds of events designed to bring people together—both inside and outside of Oracle—to network and share knowledge.
One of the most interesting new efforts is Oracle Mix. Although largely populated by the same technical people who make OTN such a valued resource, Oracle Mix is rapidly becoming a place for people interested in the business aspect of technology—a particularly relevant shift now that IT departments are becoming more engaged with the overall goals of their companies, instead of just servers and software. (I hope you’ll give Oracle Mix a try—post a question, or check out postings on topics you’re interested in.)
These Enterprise 2.0 capabilities will never replace face-to-face Oracle events, user group meetings, and other types of in-person business connections, but they open up a new path to contributing to the general store of knowledge and gaining valuable insight. Oracle has put a stake in the ground and committed to Enterprise 2.0, both in our community-building efforts and with our products. We’re doing this because we think it’s a benefit to the community and an invaluable way for us to guide the future of Oracle in ways that make sense for both the company and our customers.
Think about your company—what types of people buy your products or services? How would they benefit from connecting to you and to each other? What kinds of tools are they already using, and how easy would it be to integrate your message into those areas? Or do your customers need to learn about your products, or have a desire to influence product direction enough so that they’ll come to a community you build? These are just some of the questions you need to ask; the biggest mistake you can make is to think that you can put them off indefinitely.
Margaret Terry Lindquist is editor in chief of Profit magazine.