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What's fueling the energy industry's embracement of collaboration and Enterprise 2.0?

FUEL FOR THOUGHT: What's driving energy to collaborate?
Jacob Morgan posted an article on his blog on Monday about how the oil and gas industry is embracing collaboration enterprise-wide. He cites Shell's efforts as a recent example, which you can read more about in case study from Microsoft.

In his post, Jacob writes, "Companies with a global reach and presence need a way to get everyone on the same page; to effectively operate as a single entity instead of as a fragmented organization. You can’t manage 150,000 employees with multiple managers and email as a source of communication."

As I wrote in the comments, there’s no doubt the oil and gas industry's initiatives to improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions are dependent upon collective innovation. It's encouraging to see Shell adopting a more unified approach to collaboration.

I also thought Jacob's perceptions reflect similar needs we see from our customers in this space. We’re seeing a couple drivers fueling the need for more effective collaboration and knowledge management solutions.

One, employees need to be able to collaborate more closely and rapidly on internal energy research and development. And two, the growing number of partnerships between governments and industry, and between knowledge producers and knowledge consumers, are bringing disparate organizations and teams together that must now collaborate on enterprise content.

This is naturally engendering what we call “knowledge communities” focused on critical issues. And like most business objectives and processes, technology will play a key supporting role. Enterprises need a tight integration between business and IT to achieve their business goals of collaboration.

More importantly, they also need a collaborative organizational culture. Collaboration is not just a business process, nor is it just a set of technologies. It’s also a cultural mindset created by management and pushed out through the organization.

I think instilling a culture of collaboration enterprise-wide is really what will reduce the “lag time” that Jacob cites from Hutch Carpenter in his post. That’s what will help companies “cross the chasm,” to use Geoffrey Moore’s words, and move into mainstream adoption of collaboration and Enterprise 2.0.

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