Perspectives on Connected Innovation and Collaboration

Don Smith’s Sabbatical Insights

Enterprise Social Media Tips

with 3 comments

Recently, I had a conversation with an leading industry analyst on the emerging Enterprise Social Media space, sometimes referred to as Enterprise 2.0 (E2.0). I felt like I came away with a few nuggets, some new, and others worth reinforcing. The conversation was centered around the analyst’s perspective on successful implementations of Enterprise Social Media within leading organizations.

Me: What are some common traits among “best in class” users of Enterprise Social Media?

A: The #1 requirement for success is Senior Management commitment, even if mandate and draconian tactics are required. Senior leaders must commit to E 2.0. For example, a Senior leaders could insist on not reading project related emails in favor of project wikis. Also, it’s critical to make Legal a team partner and stakeholder in the process, as early as possible.

Me: What are some success factors for Enterprise Social Media?

A: The execution must be well targeted and well thought out. Don’t look at the entire enterprise as a whole. Do focus in on the parts of the organization that stand to benefit the most from social media. Run smaller experiments at first and show the tool’s tangible business value to employees. Focus on groups of employees that have collaboration problems today.

Me: How do you define tangible business value?

A: Enterprise social media is about allowing people to get their jobs done faster. Employee’s time is precious, so demonstrating clear business value to participants is essential for adoption. For example, consider converting project based emails into wikis. Wikis free up information for all reviewers and users.  Managers could have clear and real time visibility of a project’s status via a wiki as opposed to hunting down emails.

Me: How hard is it to get employees to change habit – from email to wiki?

A: (citing a Harvard study) People overestimate their personal impact of change by 3x. They also underestimate the potential value of change by 3. Combined, that’s a 9x factor to overcome. Email muscle memory is the enemy of Enterprise Social Media. Advocates of Enterprise Social Media must demonstrate, very tangibly, the benefits of using these tools over old methods. Again, small experiments can help build the case.

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Written by Donald Smith

April 29, 2009 at 10:13 am

3 Responses

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  1. I find it interesting that buyin from Senior Management is a key success factor for EVERYTHING. Do you think they actually get this? Sometimes I don’t think they realize how important this is………

    Noelle

    April 29, 2009 at 10:29 am

    • The key here is to not just write the check, but fundamentally commit to new methods. It’s the kind of broad based change that we have seen only a handful of times. Safety and Wellness come to mind.

      Enterprise social media required that level of commitment.

      Donald Smith

      April 29, 2009 at 10:38 am

  2. Use of this approach is a culture change. Culture change is only achievable if driven from the top

    jim kirkwood

    April 29, 2009 at 5:46 pm


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