We’re starting to see some interest in our TogetherLearn initiative and one of the main drivers seems to be cost-reduction. I came across this future-looking ZDNet article via Bertrand Duperrin and it sums up the situation nicely:
However, for business-driven internal enterprise Web 2.0 collaboration projects, I see growth. Why? Because the business will find their collaboration needs to grow in 2009, while they see IT providing them with fewer services. Collaboration needs grow as a result of layoffs, mergers, and deepening external partnerships (requiring new infrastructure to collaborate outside the firewall with trusted, external partners). And this happens while IT’s services shrink as a result of layoffs, a focus on streamlining operational costs, while not taking on new projects.
The need for online collaboration is growing as organisations make cost-cutting decisions in travel and training. The recession is just the catalyst that shows the redundancies of industrial, command and control systems in the hyperlinked economy. The need for online collaboration and the integration of work and learning will continue as long as we have the Internet.
Our value proposition for TogetherLearn is fairly simple. We set up a collaborative space outside the firewall and work with clients in their particular business context. We provide support, coaching and access to a network of resources. Clients pay for what they need and no more. The aim is to help online community managers learn and practice their role. We use open source technologies so clients can decide how and where they grow their communities, with no strings attached. Everything is transparent and senior consultants are involved in every step of the process.
Last year at this time I noticed that Big Consulting Firms are Jumping on Bandwagon 2.0. “As I’ve said before, Free-agents and natural enterprises are better. The upstart independents and small consultancies have Clayton Christensen’s disruptive Sword & Shield which the incumbents (large consultants) don’t have. With early motivation to enter this emerging field (Shield) and now with with years of experience and skills (Sword), we the “upstarts” should be able to hold our own.”
The current economic situation has just made the business case for a nimble, low overhead, web-enabled consultancy that much easier.