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.