An Enterprise 2.0 case study from 1998

Case examples of organizations employing information technology in strategic ways that are relevant to Enterprise 2.0 can be difficult to find. I know of an example from the late 1990s that nonetheless offers relevant lessons for today.

Black and Veatch is an engineering management and design firm that builds large-scale projects such as power plants. I first learned of them as the reviewer who vetted their ultimately successful application for an Enterprise Value Award from CIO Magazine.

What makes the lessons from Black and Veatch so relevant are the careful effort to marry technology to the core knowledge work process and the investment in organizational learning over time. Instead of simply deploying off-the-shelf CAD software, Black & Veatch developed software that supported a design process that was redesigned to leverage detailed data about past projects and the current project. Further, over time, Black & Veatch’s design engineers learned to make more effective and productive use of the software, and the software itself was updated to exploit that learning. Take some time to read about their effort to “reengineer the engineering process.”

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