A follow up workshop proved to be very illuminating as we began to delve into some of the nitty gritty of the enterprise solution. I have no experience on running such projects so my observations are from the end users perspective and no doubt miss some of the complexity. However, there were two distinct work-flows to the process. The first and focus for the workshop concerned the setup of the platform solution purchased. In other words taking the product out of the box and setting it up to meet the needs of the invited stakeholders. This blurred somewhat with the issue of customisation which involved more substantial and, therefore, expensive work that would result in some new or additional functionality that didnâ€™t come out of the box.
However, more of an issue still were matters concerned with policy although not the focus for this particular workshop. It proved challenging to discuss the former â€˜technicalâ€™ requirements without getting into the â€˜how will we use thisâ€™ as they are so closely linked together. It was here that differences began to surface between those stakeholders employed by the commissioning organisation and those stakeholders who were external customers or suppliers of services on behalf of the organisation.
As in the previous workshop, I detected great tensions around issues of ownership of content particularly in terms of risk and control. We all wanted a place where discussion could be stimulating and creative, but where we would draw the line between acceptable and not acceptable content is I think going to be extremely difficult to work out. Clearly, inappropriate content that for example promotes racism or sexism should not be tolerated. However, I would argue that innovation requires risk taking and the permission to think the unthinkable. Answers to questions like who owns content (particularly in private forums) and how material is censored will impact upon the kinds of discussions and, if using more sophisticated measures, the success of the part of the project that is around networking and communications.