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Imagine How Social Media Can Transform Your Company Part II – Enterprise 2.0 Implementation Challenges

February 22, 2010 2 comments

This is the second part of my series on how Social Media can transform your company. In Part 1, I talked about the benefits of Enterprise 2.0 to a company. I cited three key benefits: 

  • Improved Collaboration – One of the defining principles of Enterprise 2.0 is collaboration. Groups of people and even virtual teams with members from different geographic locations and organizational levels can work together.
  • Information Discoverability – One of the key advantages of Enterprise 2.0 is knowledge sharing, retention and discoverability. Imagine how much corporate knowledge and information are held by only a handful of employees in your company.
  • Enhanced Customer Experience through Social CRM Social CRM evolved from the need to create new customer relationships through the social media channel—relationship that is built on trust. This means actively participating in social media forums.

Governance Model for Risk Mitigation

To mitigate risk the first thing that companies should establish in an Enterprise 2.0 initiative is the governance strategy. Some companies, for example, encourage its employees to participate in mainstream social media. They support employees who write blogs internally and externally; however, they have to follow a set code of conduct. A common component of these policies is the “don’t tell secrets policy”. Companies want to safeguard proprietary and confidential information. Go to Social Media Governance Database if you want to see free examples of Social Media Policies from almost 100 companies. Let me share with you one of the most interesting social media policy that I have read online—the Social Media Policy of Intel. Over time, Intel created a comprehensive set of social media policies. These guidelines are now available in over 35 languages designed to help everyone use social media in a respectful and responsible way.

Cultural Change a Serious Challenge to Enterprise 2.0 Adoption

There are existing solutions in the market (such as blogs, wikis) that can be easily installed and applied to foster collaboration.  So some might think it is easy to implement Enterprise 2.0.  If that’s what you are thinking, you are wrong. I think implementing Enterprise 2.0 has little to do with technology. The most important component is adoption and cultural change. When I say culture, I refer to the way of work, values, behavior, etc. that altogether constitute the unique style of the company. There should be a strong strategic principle that guides the organization through an incremental adoption approach to ensure chances of success. It can’t be forced. There are no shortcuts.

Support from Users is Critical 

Here is a key question: how important is top management support in Enterprise 2.0 adoption? Like any other initiative, senior management support is critical. But more than that, an Enterprise 2.0 adoption needs support from all levels of the organization. Yes you need management support; however, to be really successful, companies need to focus on the benefits of the users first and then the value creation for the company next. You can’t convince an employee to change the way he works just because it will benefit the company. You have to convince employees that this will make their job easier. This approach is important. It will fuel faster adoption from the grassroots. 

Importance of Training in the Adoption Process

I would like to end this post about Enterprise 2.0 implementation with emphasis on the importance of training. Like any other project that includes implementing technology and process, training is a critical success factor.  By just having Enterprise 2.0 tools and social media policies do not necessarily mean an organization’s employees will understand them or use them in how they perform daily work. It is the training combined with a clear social media policy that will provide a structure for employees to increase their participation. With that in place, a comfort level evolves between employee participation and management’s concerns.

Image courtesy of sniki.org.

Imagine How Social Media Can Transform Your Company

If you have been following my blog since last year, I am sure you have read about these two related topics—Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0. In the first one entitled, “New Internet Version” is All About Participation, I tried to explain Web 2.0 by comparing it to Web 1.0 or earlier version of the Internet. Web 1.0 is a general reference to the World Wide Web before the developments of advanced internet collaborative applications. The article about Enterprise 2.0 entitled, Web 2.0 + Application to Business = Enterprise 2.0, posted last October 2009 described what Enterprise 2.0 is and the challenges of adopting the model in the business setting. This post will take the discussion about Enterprise 2.0 even further.

Imagine This…

There are over 800 million users of social media sites in the Internet. Between Facebook and Twitter alone there are close to 600 million unique user accounts. Chances are you are one of them and you have several friends in your network. Now imagine this

  • Imagine having an “internal Facebook” in your company’s intranet.
  • Imagine your co-worker inviting you to become a collaborator. (similar idea as becoming friends in a common social networking sites)
  • Imagine becoming a fan of a project or initiative in your company that makes you a virtual member.
  • Imagine posting a blog about a marketing idea that creates a huge impact elsewhere in the company’s global operations because it matches the need of that country’s market segment.
  • Imagine being able to engage your customers in social networking sites and being able to provide value and gain value from that interaction. 

Are you still with me? I used to just imagine these things too. Now I have seen and read about companies adopting Enterprise 2.0 early. It is quickly becoming a reality. There are significant benefits but as well as serious adoption challenges. 

What Benefits does Enterprise 2.0 bring your company? 

Improve Collaboration – One of the defining principles of Enterprise 2.0 is collaboration. Groups of people and even virtual teams with members from different geographic locations and organizational levels can work together in a project. Enterprise 2.0 tools are designed to change the way we collaborate with our extended network. It is designed to provide less structure, simple mechanics, and allows users to lead the way. This approach requires employees to communicate, to share, to interact and to generate contents and value output. 

Information Discoverability – If collaboration did not convince you about the value of Enterprise 2.0 maybe this one will. One of the key advantages of Enterprise 2.0 is knowledge sharing, retention and discoverability. Imagine how much corporate knowledge and information are held by a few employees in your company. How much information is stored in servers and shared drives? How many manuals are printed, book-bound and stored in filing cabinets? How much information and knowledge is amassed in emails? Sharing and finding information is one of the defining characteristics of Enterprises 2.0. If information and knowledge cannot be found, it is useless. There is no value. It is best to visualize this advantage by thinking about Wikipedia. If you have your own internal Wikipedia that houses your company’s process manuals it will be easier to find up-to-date and useful information. In this case you don’t need to get your own copy of the manual; you will have access to master versions that are kept updated by the entire community of experts and users. 

Enhance Customer Experience through Social CRM – Successfully maintaining a meaningful and sustained relationship with customers has become an integral component of a company’s commercial strategy. If close to a billion users worldwide participate in social media—the chances of finding your customers in that channel is high. Social CRM evolved from the need to create new customer relationships through the social media channel—relationship that is built on trust. This means actively participating in social media forums. Enterprise 2.0 enables this connection between the managers and operators of the business and their customers.    

Enterprise 2.0 Implementation Challenges 

It will be interesting to see how the governance model will evolve as more and more companies are adopting Enterprise 2.0. When deployed Enterprise 2.0 fundamentally changes the dynamics behind how people work together as well as how they share and find information. Implementation strategy should account for the cultural change that needs to happen.

Risk management in Enterprise 2.0 is a serious challenge. The first thing adopters do during an implementation is to establish a policy for the types of information that can be disclosed. There is always risk (as in any other initiatives) but what I think is important is that managers study and understand the risk versus the reward.   

Governance, cultural change and risk management are some of the serious challenges that Enterprise 2.0 has to overcome to gain momentum. This will be discussed in more detail in my next article.

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