Not too long ago I felt obliged to skewer a McKinsey report on this domain. A bit later, a Gartner study came tantalisingly close to being seriously relevant. And now, the “big” consultancy that seemed closer to the concept (they did write pioneer reports on KM) produces this. Or produced it late last year, to be exact. At first look, it is a bit sad, in a verguenza ajena sort of way (that’s a Spanish concept I’ve found no good translation for).
KPMG’s Enterprise 2.0 Fad or Future? piece (thanks to Vicente for the pointer) aims to be “thought leadership” and ends up as a very competent sales brochure for the non-initiated (or the just-baptised, at most). It touches every base but does a careless job in every one… except – and that is important – in selling the business relevance of the “concept”, where it does a lightweight but effective job. And attaching KPMG to the bandwagon of the “new” fad is no irrelevance either: thanks to industry conceferences, trade magazines and this kind of backing, “Enterprise 2.0” is becoming the hold-all name for the application of social computing and knowledge management tools and methodologies to the enterprise, a name that high management can identify. We wanted a new brand, well… here it is, and they would like to own it.
As the sharp people at Headshift commented already, the bluntness and lack of thoroughness of the approach may give heart to smaller, boutique consultancies and independent operators. But let’s not be overly optimistic. That brochure is aimed at the top decision-makers, where it is a surprising breath of clarity and sense across the dense fog. Below that level (and below the KPMG partner that signs the brochure) there are competent consultants and down-to-earth people who know their stuff… or will eventually learn it when the brochure lands them a project. I confess to enjoying it when I knock the stuffing out of an offer from one of the “big names”, driving them off a customer :-) but it’s like battling Microsoft: they have superior access to the management, and that makes reality-based competition a bit of an uphill slog. Keeps one on his toes.
Ah well. Marketing is a skill, and one’s bound to respect it. And hopefully learn: the last piece of “thought leadership” I wrote for my employer (I do moonlight a bit :-D) was a thick white paper about business process outsourcing that needed a lot of help as a sales tool. The fact that it was written to order is no excuse.