According to Forrester research, organizations will increase their spending on enterprise social collaboration software at a compound annual growth rate of 61% through 2016. Forrester estimates enterprise social software will become a $6.4 billion market in 2016. This is based on their assumption that a new generation of social enterprise apps is, and will be, delivering on business needs. If this is the trend today and more so in the near future, how do you the plan to integrate social media to your work streams?
There are many integration points and it all depends on the needs of the business. Those needs can be classified into two types: (1) mass engagements: involvement of wider audience with open-ended boundaries; and (2) internal and external collaboration: engagement of specific audience, with defined boundaries.
In this article, we will focus on improving collaboration as integration points.
Collaboration through social tools usually entails the implementation of a collaborative decision management solution that encourages change in the way businesses collaborate to facilitate innovations. Saying that, two critical factors emerge:
(1) change in culture, ie, the way employees in a company collaborate, and
(2) the need to select and adopt an effective, collaborative-type tool
Companies that use collaboration as an integration point to adopting social tools face the following challenges:
(a) How do we get beyond e-mail, traditional meetings, conference calling, etc, to these new social platforms that include an industrial-strength social network?
(b) How do we change the way we work?
(c) How do we integrate social tools in our enterprise work stream?
(d) How do we become more innovative as a company because of it?
The answer is not Facebook nor Twitter – not for this type of business need. There are, however, applications for these purposes available in the market. They are referred to as collaborative decision management applications that provide functionalities like wikis, blogs, project management, community building, idea creation, etc.
Implementing a social tool for collaboration is just the first step, or I should say, the easy step. To get employees to use it collectively enough to change the way they collaborate is the much bigger challenge. Adoption of social tools in the workplace setting requires more than compliance and a management mandate. It is about culture transformation from within and for all employees, from top to bottom.
So, what’s the point?
Today, if an employee has an idea, he or she goes to their boss to discuss it, or goes to the board to present it as a proposal, or sends an idea narrative by email. Consider the alternative of posting ideas as wikis, and letting everyone else read, comment and even change them.An effective approach is a grassroots adoption through structured learning experiences, involving adoption champions from different levels of the organization. The communication and implementation of the grassroots approach must be focused on the benefits to the users first, and promotion of the value creation for the company next.
It’s easier to convince employees to change the way they work if they understand that this will make their job easier.
Social media adoption in the workplace is harder than your traditional ERP implementation, here is why
Just about everyone is very familiar with social media nowadays. People using it are increasing by the millions. It was the same with books and television decades ago. Today, in a very short time, social media has become an intrinsic part of our daily life.
With that thought, will adopting social tools (that we are familiar with) in the workplace— be easier considering the people’s familiarity with social media?
The answer is no. Enterprise application of social media has been a serious challenge for those who have tried. Many companies have tried and failed. It is nothing like implementing (for example) an ERP system where you define the roles, processes, guidelines and then ask employees to follow. In this ERP system scenario, your focus is actions, compliance and results. If you have strong executive support, you will make it happen.
Adoption of social tools in the workplace setting requires more than compliance and a management mandate. It is about culture transformation from within and for everyone– nothing less. For example, today if an employee has an idea, he goes to his boss to discuss an idea or goes to the board to present it as a proposal, or send an idea narrative by email. Now, consider the alternative of posting ideas as wiki and letting everyone else read, comment and even change them.
The point is, social media adoption or enterprise 2.0 implementation is not easy because it is about changing how people interact, collaborate and work. It is about changing the organizational culture. It is nothing that can be mandated (otherwise, all you get is shallow compliance). For you to have a meaningful transformation that is sustainable you have to work at the level of people’s experiences to influence their beliefs and behaviors. Only then can you have them change how they act and work. Experiences foster beliefs, and if you have enough of those to change the mindset of your employees you will slowly see adoption happen.
My advice is grassroots adoption through structured learning experiences. The communication and implementation of the grassroots approach must be focused on the benefits to the users first and then promotion of the value creation for the company next. It is easier to convince employees to change the way they work if they understand that this will make their job easier. This approach is important. It will fuel slow but self-reinforcing transformation.
Photo courtesy of Ponsuwan
On my article about Social Shared Services, I examined the possibilities of adopting social media practices and social collaboration toolsets as part of the shared services offering and communication channel. The “social media adoption model” I referred to does not apply only to shared services organizations but also to any other services organizations looking to harness social media.
If you read my article on Social Shared Services, I cited “external collaborative research” as one of the six components of the social shared services model. It refers to the interaction of organization’s members with peers in other companies through “social” media and collaborative channels. This interaction results in collaborative research, benchmarking, enriched studies and shared best practices. This artcle aims to give a concrete example of how organizations can participate in forums and collaborate with external parties.
Peeriosity, an Example and Success Story
There are existing platforms in the internet that allows “social” or collaborative engagement using advanced Web 2.0 toolsets. Take for example, the website Peeriosity. It is already used by many shared services organizations and companies worldwide. Peeriosity uses innovative platforms to enable collaborative communities and facilitates the sharing of experiences and best practices. This type of collaboration brings together a broad number of individuals with different areas and levels of expertise. When collaborating with peers, you want a wide selection of qualified individuals to work with. This platform allows organizations to engage peers beyond their internal ecosystem and to participate in forums, webcasts and research. Each research area includes live webcasts featuring leading experts and recognized peers on key topics. Participants can actively ask questions and share their perspectives and experiences.
The tool in Peeriosity that I best like is iPolling. If you have an idea or a problem in your office environment, you typically look for co-workers within the company to discuss it. It is the same with iPolling except that you can confer not only with your co-workers but also your peers in other companies. With iPolling you can create your own poll in just a few minutes. Peeriosity then professional reviews it and distributes it to peers who have the most interest and experience in your specific topic. Poll results include a summary chart and the underlying detailed results. I think it’s a great way to get feedback from your peers about topics you care about and engage them in direct poll discussion and comments.
Benefits of Peer Networking and Collaboration:
Here are some benefits that I see for companies participating in cross-company and cross industry collaboration:
- Organizations can construct and enrich innovative ideas by leveraging the diverse and expansive expertise of the collaborative network.
- Attain benefits of scale through effective collaboration with peers across geographies and across industries concerning a topic of interest.
- Drive continuous learning in the organization by allowing its members to participate in webcasts and online forums.
- Maximize collaborative research efficiencies and reduce consulting costs.
- Drive employee engagement and performance by optimizing flow of good ideas.
Interaction with an “extended” peer network can have a profound impact on creating a learning organization that can adapt, collaborate and innovate. I view new collaborative platforms like Peeriosity and other similar services online as an extension to collaborative channels already available to you. This is the same type of engagement you would experience when attending annual industry conventons and personally meet professionals in the same industry or practice. I personally don’t believe these types of platforms are possible replacements for traditional conventions, forums and training programs but instead, it allows you to continue the same level of meaningful interaction with your peers long after the event.
I will leave you with the following questions: Is it time for your organization to adopt social networking practices and tools? How can you build a more collaborative and innovative organization? How can you promote patterns of collaborations that will allow your organization to become more efficient, innovative and engaging?
Image courtesy of www.peeriosity.com
Imagine How Social Media Can Transform Your Company Part II – Enterprise 2.0 Implementation Challenges
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.
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.
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.
In the world of Information Technology, many buzz words and phrases are created everyday. It’s hard to keep up. It’s not only because too many of these words are thrown at us everyday but also because their definitions often change rapidly. One of these phrases is Web 2.0 – which I talked about in my previous article. Now, let me throw you another one of those technology buzz words – Enterprise 2.0.
The term Enterprise 2.0 was coined in the spring of 2006 by Andrew McAfee. As an Associate Professor of Harvard Business School, he studies the ways that IT affects businesses. His research efforts are focused on investigating how IT changes the way companies perform, organize themselves and compete. Andrew McAfee defines Enterprise 2.0 as the use of emergent social software platforms within companies, or between companies and their partners or customers. It is quite simply the application of many of the Web 2.0 ideas to the enterprise.
AIIM, a non-profit organization that provides education and research, takes this further. According to AIIM, Enterprise 2.0 is a system of web-based technologies that provide rapid and agile collaboration, information sharing, emergence and integration capabilities in the extended enterprise.
Enterprise 2.0 Adoption
Until now, many firms have yet to recognize the potential advantages Web 2.0 could bring to the business. Traditional command and control management is directly opposed to the distributed and collaborative style advocated in Enterprise 2.0 and there are always a set of rules that discourage change. For this reason, adoption of Enterprise 2.0 tools is happening from the bottom up. Enterprise 2.0 is being brought up gradually by ordinary users. It is uncommon to see adoptions and initiatives – such as establishing a corporate-wide blog or wiki – spearheaded by top management. More often, blogs are started by individuals and small groups in one department as an independent initiative. In some cases, these blogs, social media sites and microblogs succeed and evolve as key components of the corporate internal and external communications arsenal.
Few companies right now are pioneering the use of Web 2.0 platform. One of then them is Sun Microsystems. Sun uses Open Source and Enterprise Social Software to build a YouTube-style portal for social learning. They have implemented a learning environment called Sun Learning Exchange (SLX) to provide training programs to employees and contractors in more than 50 countries. The entire solution was built for $60,000. One week after launch, there were more than 3000 unique visitors and hundreds of unique content were uploaded. The viral rollout strategy proved to be a success and allowed Sun to create more value with less investment in training.
In my article last month, I talked about how Universal Studios used Web 2.0 platform to announce the opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter project. They invited seven avid Harry Potter fans to a top secret webcast and informed them about the plans for the new theme park. By word of mouth, these seven people told thousands through emails, internet forums and blogs. Eventually, mainstream media picked up the buzz and wrote about it in magazines, news, and TV reports. In a few days, the news reached millions of people. Universal was able to reach its global audience by first reaching out to a select group of fans through the Internet. They were able to save thousands and perhaps millions in advertising costs.
Enterprise 2.0 Challenges
It is understandable that in spite of the current momentum, Enterprise 2.0 is experiencing strong resistance from business managers. I think the challenge is two-pronged: cultural and structural. There will always be cultural challenges when you are trying to make people work, collaborate and organize in a different way. Companies are so used to the traditional management and coordination style that it’s hard to imagine a quick transition. On the other hand, the Enterprise 2.0 model and its supporting structure also need to strengthen. Experts argue that it’s hard to implement something that has no commonly accepted business model and runs in an immature services landscape. Application management, support, security, ownership and identity are also common challenges being confronted by early implementers.
To be continued…
We already discussed about Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 in two separate articles. We’ve laid out the groundwork. In my next post, we will further explore these topics and talk about how to incorporate cutting-edge Web 2.0 services within the enterprise networks, create internal social networks, blogs, wikis and manage Enterprise 2.0 security and compliance.
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