Tom Mandel asks this question on the FASTForward Blog. I think that simply using the tools does not mean Enterprise 2.0 has succeeded. Enterprise 2.0 technology is the medium by which collaboration can succeed, but technology will not succeed for technology’s sake. Knowledge Management technology was the last major effort that tried to transform collaboration and knowledge sharing, but it failed because it focused too exclusively on knowledge and not enough on how people naturally interact. By contrast, Enterprise 2.0 focuses more on people, and the tools of Enterprise 2.0 — blog, wiki, RSS, social networking, tagging — reflect that focus.
To be effective, Enterprise 2.0 tools can’t just “storm the Bastille” so to speak. They need to be used where they’re most useful, in this case it’s where and how the user prefers to receive information. This is the key to making Enterprise 2.0 have a positive impact on your work. The tools should be slave to users, not the other way around. The fundamental flaw with knowledge management has been the difficulty and rigor associated with learning the tools.
Newsletters, a 1.0 tool, are still a very effective medium to communicate. Many people prefer monthly or weekly updates about their favorite services or products, so the medium matches the need. Blogs are equally effective for a different type of audience, the kind of audience that wants current information on-demand. The two complement one another well, too.
On a related note, I don’t think you can define Enterprise 2.0 success based on return on investment. Many reasons for this: most Enterprise 2.0 tools cost pennies compared to their more expensive 1.0 brethren. Secondly, how you measure productivity from Enterprise 2.0 tools will vary considerably from one application or one knowledge worker to another. Lastly, and this may sound naive, but the rapid popularity of Enterprise 2.0 tools tells me that these applications have filled a niche that the market was craving for a long time. They have succeeded because they fill a niche that traditional Office and 1.0 applications didn’t work for. As a result, some 1.0 tools are falling by the wayside as outmoded and outdated technology. By contrast, 2.0 tools have offered immediate gratification, which is a subtle form of ROI. Blogs are a good example of an application that has offered immediate gratification to millions of people who were craving a new means of communication.
Enterprise 2.0 is a continuing experiment, too. The more these tools become enmeshed in the landscape of business, the more likely you can call them a success. Time will tell.

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