Today’s enterprises are inundated with strategic questions as they pertain to Web 2.0 tools. If some of the options make sense some of the time for some of the enterprises, do some of the tools make sense ALL of the time for some of the enterprises?

The Real Value is Trench Blogging

One of the discussions that I find particularly interesting is the applicability of blogs in the enterprise. One could argue that it provides a communication medium that is reasonably unfiltered, allowing information to be disseminated from the top down in its purest form. However, it’s not the candor from the top that usually needs to be improved upon. Communication upstream from the trenches, however, is much more filtered. In fact, it’s not uncommon to hear some executives refer to their isolation as an “Ivory Tower” of sorts. The problems that are visible on a daily basis to the workers in the trenches are gradually filtered, layer by layer, until the message that reaches the executives no longer resembles the message that was originally released. Blogging can change this.

The Commenting Candor Canary

So…is your organization ready for the blogosphere? Does your organization encourage candor in all levels of communication? If it does, then there is no reason to permit unauthenticated users to comment on entries. However, if your organization doesn’t have that kind of candor as part of the corporate culture, your employees are unlikely to want to attach their name to a public affidavit that indicates that they disagree with an executive. That means, to obtain the candor associated with the blogosphere, you need to remove accountability and permit anonymous comments. But, that also results in more moderation overhead. Finding this balance will tell you a lot about your org's real culture and the potential value that blogging can add.

Don't Jump Without a Plan

Blogs, as part of the Web 2.0 environment, provide a good medium for distribution of unfiltered communication. However, without a strategy to facilitate communication -- both upstream and downstream -- the blog will be just another medium for disseminating partial information up and down the organizational chart. And in our opinion, corporate America doesn’t need another medium for partial information. Corporate cultures awash in candor are generally more aware of the true business climate. Of course, the better you understand your business climate, the more capable the organization will be of making good strategic decisions. After all, it’s hard to define a strategy when you only have some of the facts.