Saturday, August 15, 2009

Fused with IT

network I've been wanting to post this for some time, but was hesitant to do it. I didn't want it to be 'yet another post on 'Obama and social media'. I hope it isn't, you may be the judge.

Much has been written about how president Obama used social media to connect with (potential) voters. For instance:

  • The Global Human Capital Journal: "Social Media is its O/S (Operating system)." This report drills down to the underlying concepts of Obama's campaign, how this fits with the Web 2.0 tools that his team and voters used and what businesses can learn from this.
  • Infonomics had a comparable piece but also stressed the content management side of the campaign.
  • Wired has a slightly different and more critical approach: "Obama's campaign was never a bottom-up endeavor. The incoming president didn't crowdsource his view on the Iraq war or use Digg to determine how to allocate campaign dollars. He ran one of the most tightly controlled, top-down campaigns in modern history...". The big question this article asked is: Will Obama keep on using Web 2.0 concepts and tools.
  • Don Tapscott in his book Grown up digital stresses that Obama's campaign showed he understands the Net Gen and meets their norms (freedom, customization, scrutiny, etc.).

Obama's use of Web 2.0 and more importantly, they way he used the underlying concepts/philosophy of Web 2.0 is truly remarkable. And lots has rightly so been written about it.

But I'm wondering if this is all there is to be said. I'm triggered to think about this because of a remark made by Tim O'Reilly's some time ago. And he - together with John Battelle - repeated this in their great report 'Web Squared'. This is what got me thinking:

Infused with IT

Relating to this remark they point to the Obama campaign. But also to WalMart. It's about "the real-time enterprise". Not 'just' about using blogs and wiki's.

But what does this mean? Doesn't this mean that the Obama campaign was much more than web 2.0 concepts and tools? Of course they were new and used effectively. But to use them effectively blogs, wiki's, etc. are not enough. Yes, it was also about culture. Wasn't it even more so about the underlying ICT? The Obama campaign and real-time enterprises in general like Walmart are 'infused with IT'. I'd really like to learn more about what this means. Does it relate to what I've been writing about? That structured and unstructured information need to be managed under one architecture? That unstructured information is easily collected and generated by web 2.0 tools (sensors), for instance, and is subsequently piped into more formal systems, like product data management and enterprise resource tools? It would be really nice to see an overview of all the IT Obama used, not 'just' the new media tools.

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