Early on in the discussion of strategy, there was a thread about security, ownership and dissemination about sensitive information (and discussions) using our proposed platform.
I took a risky (but important) position of No Private Spaces.
Here's why I think that's an important decision, and why I made it.
Our Corporate DNA
... was basically established back in the 1980s and 1990s. Lots of New England tech companies failed (Wang, Prime, DEC, et. al.) and many of these people ended up at EMC.
Now, during the formation of EMC, Dick Egan et. al. shaped that raw material and added considerable value, so I would be remiss in saying that EMC's corporate DNA was not unique in many regards.
But information sharing wasn't one of our key corporate tenets. We thought we had unique IP. Even letting people know what we were thinking about was considered an important corporate secret.
Everything was on a need-to-know basis. And, strangely, the behavior was reinforcing, because once you were "in the loop", you didn't want to buck the system that had given you privileged access to information.
Fast Forward Twenty Years
EMC acquires dozens of companies. EMC establishes clear leadership in most of its chosen markets. It all gets wonderfully diverse and complicated and ... well, it's a very different game, isn't it?
Hint: in any company that has 35,000+ employees, they're all going to be working on different aspects of The Problem -- and they're going to need to work with others that aren't in their group, aren't they?
The new business challenges aren't at the product / BU level -- it's getting people to work together cross-functionally.
The DNA that made us successful is now getting in the way of our most fundamental business problem -- acting like one company, rather than an aggregation of many.
Joe Tucci and the exec management even sent a clear message -- "ONE EMC" -- just to reinforce the problem and the need to solve it.
Now, there wasn't a whole lot of meat on that particular bone in terms of specific details and actions, but that's understandable. And it was interesting to see how various people interpreted that particular mantra to serve their parochial needs -- but that's a story for another time, isn't it?
We had a quick discussion in our community about what to call this platform. Clearly, it needed a name.
I offered the suggestion that -- whatever we called it -- it ought to reflect a Big Honkin' Corporate Priority.
Someone (I think it was Len Devanna) came up with EMC ONE -- a clear derivative of the "ONE EMC" corporate priority.
I think we intend it to mean EMC One Network of Employees or some such thing, but the interpretation of acronym is far less important than the message the name sends -- this is all about working together in very different (and concrete) ways.
And Ground Rules
Since the company has lots of ways of sharing confidential and private information (physical doc distribution, email, eRooms, private file shares, etc.) I felt we didn't need yet another way to do this.
On a more practical note, there's an enormous administrative burden in simply administering permissions and access rights, which -- of course -- changes each and every day (or hour!).
One example is eRooms at EMC. I am a member of perhaps over a hundred. And, routinely, when I click on one of them, it asks me to log on, which I do, and then sends me a message that I Am Not Authorized To See This Content.
Sometimes, I follow through with the administrator to get myself added. Mostly, I just blow it off and move on. And I think I'm not the only one.
The frustrating part is that there's stuff in all of these eRooms that everyone should see. There are no deep, dark secrets that can't be shared with other EMC employees. So why the heavy-handed security?
We want people to be curious and nose around. We're marketing to "lurkers", remember?
We want people to get comfortable having open discussions about real problems and collaborative outcomes -- that's the behavior. And it won't happen in a walled garden.
So, from day one, we've got a simple rule: no private spaces. Period.
If you feel you can't share what you're working on with other employees of EMC corporation, this is not the tool for you. Go do your own thing. There are lots of other options to meet your need.
If you want to point to a doc that's under some sort of secure control on another system or repository, that's fine -- go ahead.
Everything else will be fully visible (althought not editable) by anyone behind the firewall who might happen along.
We'll see how that one goes ... !!!