>Blogs and Enterprise Architecture

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Well this is interesting to write: a blog about blogging 😉

Blogs are becoming a great new tool for enterprise communications and an alternate to clogging up already full email boxes.

CIO Magazine, 15 January 2008, states that “enterprise users can get lost in storms of ‘reply-all’ e-mails while trying to manage projects. Blogs offer a better way.”

The group president of systems and technology for Bell Canada says that “email, used by itself just doesn’t cut it anymore for project management and interoffice communication.”

What’s the interest level and use of blogs?

Forester Research reports that “54% of IT decision makers expressed interest in blogs. Of companies that had piloted or implemented blogs, nearly two-thirds (63%) said they used them for internal communications. Fifty percent said they used blogs for internal knowledge management—and these companies are leading the way of the future.”

A software social consultant says that “traditional enterprise solutions were designed to keep IT happy. They’ve not usually designed with any thought to the user, like a blog is.” What a nice user-centric EA concept, design technical solutions that meet user requirements; let business drive technology, rather than doing technology for technology’s sake.

Why do people resist blogs?

“People are hung up on this concept of the blog as a diary and as an external marketing medium,” rather than understanding its criticality as a tool for communications and knowledge management.

How can you advance the use of blogs in your organization?

  1. Calming the troops─if people are nervous about blogs, consider avoiding the term blog and call it an ideaboard or some other non-technical and non-threatening name.
  2. Security and compliance—build the blog behind the corporate firewall and “establish rules of engagement,” so that proper social and legal etiquette is not violated and passive-aggressive behavior or “web rage” is mitigated.
  3. Start small—“blogs catch on virally, when you need to introduce the idea to the right test group, which will evangelize the idea to the rest of the enterprise.”
  4. Tagging—have people “tag their posts with keywords that will help later with search and discovery needs.”

From an EA perspective, blogs are not a substitute for email; we need email (some of us desperately, like a morning cup of joe), but blogs are a great complementary tool for participatory communications that involve discussion type interaction by more than two users or for capturing enterprise knowledge and making it available for discovery. Also, blogs are a tool that gives a voice to people, who may otherwise remain part of the silent masses; people feel freer to express themselves in blogs, and through freedom of expression comes advancement of ideas, greater buy-in, and better enterprise decision-making.

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