Community and social computing
rawn 100000R0P5 Tags:  social-computing scalability population social-software blueiq e20 size 1 Comment 6,571 Visits
On returning from the recent Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston, I had time to reflect on the scaling issues that come up in social software adoption across an enterprise. In watching Gentry Underwood's excellent presentation on how they designed the social computing environment in IDEO, I tweeted to him that new issues start to pop up when you move from an enterprise social environment for 500 people to 200,000--or in IBM, nearly 400,000 people in 170 countries. This is not a bragging point, rather a one of frustration.
There certainly are other large or technological-oriented companies deploying social environments, but from my experience in hearing from others, no one has hit some of the scale issues that we have in IBM. Obviously we are talking about an enterprise's deployment rather than a social site like Facebook; they're very different issues for each.
For one, while employee profiles and directories are starting to become commonplace in other enterprises, we have had one for well over a decade in one form or another. We've already gone through the issues and practices others have found: (a) include everyone; (b) prepopulate with relevant contact, work info, projects, etc; (c) popularize it as the place to look up data; (d) integrate into or make it THE basis for contact info for other existing internal and extranet Web apps; (e) invite partners,contractors and suppliers; (f) tie to enterprise-wide LDAP and single-sign on; (g) integrate into common work processes and behaviors. In fact, the last I looked, we had nearly 600,000 profiles in our Bluepages (including employees, supplementals, contractors, bots, some partners and suppliers).
While the Bluepages system certianly popular, it is but one of several dozen commonly used social software tools, some of which in themselves have hundreds of thousands of unique users. We have thousands of smaller communities and wikis some of which have tens of thousands of members. The multiple tools comes out of our laissez-faire attitude to allow many software ideas to emerge, and through our user base test and advocate the best ideas.
The population size of this system isn't quite the issue, but I put some thought into what enterprise 2.0 deployment issues might appear with scale and came up with the following chart. I hope this can help other maturing e2.0 environments consider some of the issues they may be coming up agains
A. distribution of people across time zones
B. distribution of people across cultures / countries
C. distribution of people across physical locations
D. distribution of people across job categories or dissimilar job roles
E. projects people work on are very different in nature
F. distribution across access devices (desktops, laptops, mobile)
G. many separate (non-integrated) social tools, or different interfaces
H. many separate databases as information sources
I. many separate or isolated social instances
J. number/reach of boundary-spanners
PS: Thanks dW folks for migrating my blog over!
Lee Provoost’s post, “Adopting Enterprise 2.0 in large organisations: Fiat or Ferrari?” talks about how people can start with smaller
cars like a Fiat and eventually upgrade if need be to a Ferrari, rather than
wait decades of riding public transportation until they save enough for their
top car. I don’t see the entire negative with public transportation but when it
comes to social software, this ignores a large problem: migrating from one
social software system to another is a lot more complicated than just replacing
the tool itself.
Having seen first-hand several generations of social tools
in our company, and trying to get people to migrate from one existing
environment to a new one, it takes a bit of work to get people to switch to the
new system. A better analogy than cars may be “transportation networks”. In the
US, think about asking people to stop driving and using trains instead.
First of all, change is hard: people become used to certain features and know how to work it quickly. Unless the new social tool has the exact same features handled exactly the same, it means new learning, often new terminology, and trial and error.
Social tools also don’t always make it easy to migrate from one system to another. So you may also need to reenter your profile information, preferences, and generally reinstate what you may have already had before.
People place a lot of content and context into their social
environment, and unless that is all migrated with them too, they may see it as “loosing
their standing in that social environment.” For some this is in the form of
rankings; for others useful or valuable content that they left behind. New
social environments don’t need to start at zero but more often than not, they
are not fully compatible with the old ones or provide different tools and
require different fields; thus, migration is not a simple prospect of
Finally, a new system should probably not only perform better,
but all them to interact in better ways. This also means new features to ask
people to try out. The power of the new social tool may be in those new
features but in maintaining the status quo, many users will keep using what
they know, until enough people have adopted the new features.
These are just a few basic reasons in adoption that make it
difficult to simply “level up” to a new social system. If you run a social
software system in your enterprise, you should certainly not treat it like just buying a new car.
Just a quick note, I uploaded my "Intro to Enterprise2.0" presentation to the UofArizona MIS graduate class in "Enterprise Information Systems".
The slides talk about the general topics in this area, how this is a business and a technical issue, and describes traditional MIS focus areas impacted by Enterprise 2.0.
It is available at: http://bit.ly/al9eGs
When you consider how relationship development is at the heart of social computing and enterprise 2.0, it should be natural to consider the career and leadership development of your employees in this context. This opens up new areas of thought into what it means to influence and lead others through an entirely digital medium rather than when you have a face-to-face leader. In my Forbes article (on Apr 16), I describe it as digital eminence to differentiate from one's leadership activities and capabilities through non-virtual environments--often amusingly referred to as "in real life", IRL for short).
The best way that I have found to describe it is in terms of how do people understand, appreciate and recognize your expertise, knowledge and skills through online interactions. This could be anywhere online, even email and chat, but it becomes more visible in social computing environments. I also like to separate this idea from personal brand building. While conceptually you are actually bringing out how you are different and significant from other people--even perhaps Seth Godin's notion of a linchpin in your organization--brand building also harks of self-promotion and ego-stroking. Digital eminence emphasizes what others think of you and your abilities, which may or may not have anything to do with self-promotion.
A second danger is in trying to quantify what is essentially a qualitative assessment. We should be very careful in considering number of followers, friends in your network, or quantity of posts as an indication of one's digital eminence. When you consider eminence as how you stand out, essentially a comparison versus the aggregate group of others in the same field, it may be seen as a ranking. Similarly, such quantity metrics also reinforce this ranking and rating approach. That raises lots of ethical questions when you look at it per individual.
As I mentioned on twitter, my peer Jeanne Murray and I are presenting a session at the Enterprise2.0 conference in Boston next week that describes an overall view of how we think e2.0 has evolved in our organization. The focus here is not on the technologies themselves but on the human capabilities, interests, and mindset as it has evolved over time. It talks about what we used to think about social computing and how that as changed or evolved with each stage.
This sort of view on evolution is not something that is absolutely decisive. With a multinational organization such as ours, it does not necessarily mean that every corner of the organization is at the same level. The reality is that many locations are still at Stage 1 while others are very well into the later stages. We use the stages to describe how some groups have progressed in their thinking and approach to how they employ social computing in their work.
I don’t plan to describe the entire presentation here but I wanted to share the intention of our session and give an example of a stage. In discussing the idea, Jeanne and I formulated five stages of this evolution:
- Stage 1 – Seeing a need for social computing in business
- Stage 2 – Recognizing the business uses and value
- Stage 3 – Bringing people together into a common frame
- Stage 4 – Building better social-enabled processes
- Stage 5 – Shifting the overall perspective to a dynamic, agile mindset
For example, we entered Stage 2 when the mindset (in stage 1) progressed beyond thinking of social computing as something just for personal entertainment or for kids into recognizing the business potential. Within this stage, people have accepted there is a business need, but are still unsure about how or where it applies in specific use.
The focus in stage 2 is to articulate value and use cases. To do so, we needed to connect people’s expertise and collect stories of their successful use cases. The glories of reaching this stage is that people are starting to become more connected beyond the possibilities of their existing location and organizational position; there are open networks and freer exchange of ideas; and new social-enabled tasks are vetted simply the degree of their adoption.
However, we also saw in this stage that the number of repositories and ways of describing and sharing expertise were exploding. There were multiple options for doing tasks in social tools, and people needed guidance on which ones made most sense. Our wide diversity of tools simply increased the many streams of information, and often randomness of information and people.
Stage 2 has some people starting to connect, but a recognition that for enterprise 2.0 to be valuable to the company itself (and not just on an individual level), we need to consider how we get the larger organization to do this all together (stage 3). This next transformation requires looking beyond how individuals benefit from social computing, to how groups and org units can work as a whole with this system.
Stage 3 then picks up from trying to unite the infrastructure and tooling, as well as clarifying what to use when.
I hope to see some of you at Enterprise 2.0. Our
session is on Wednesday June 16th at 1-2pm (twitter hashtag #e2conf-34).
We will post the slides next week for others to see as well.
I’ve increased my attendance at E2.0 by 100% by going two
years in a row; okay, that was a bad metrics joke. The Enterprise2.0 conference in
Boston was the big gathering of customers, analysts, bloggers and
aficionados this year. We’re still debating how many people really attended but
I’m guessing it is around a thousand. The week began early for me starting with presenting during
the Black Belt practitioner’s workshop on Monday. I’m proud of my fellow
members of The 2.0 Adoption Council who presented the workshops all day long.
There are about 10 speakers, starting in the morning with the effervescent Jamie Pappas (EMC) speaking on
business value; the cheery Megan
Murray (Booz Allen Hamilton) on planning; and myself on adoption. The afternoon
had a several pairs of speakers: Stan Garfield (Deloitte) and Luis Suarez (IBM) on community building;
Donna Cuomo (MITRE) and Ted Hopton
(UBM) on metrics and analysis; Bryce
Williams (Eli Lilly) and Richard Rashty (Schneider Electric) on positioning
tools; and Bart Schutte (St Gobain) and Kevin Jones (NASA) on mitigating risks.
I’m also thrilled so many people stayed from 8:30am till
4:15pm. It really is a fire hose of knowledge, even when spread across so many
hours. These were real issues and scenarios that the speakers have experienced
in trying to bring Enterprise2.0 to life in their own organizations. Has E2.0 gained ground? I definitely think so. For any idea
to take hold, there needs to be stability in what it means, and increasing
adoption and expression of the notions within it. Seeing The 2.0 Adoption
Council’s rapid growth within just one year (with over 100 member large
companies) worldwide, with active practitioners is one area of social proof.
The other is the reduction of “What is it?” and more of “How do we do it?” E2.0 seems to be entrenched in the domain of the CIO and IT
organizations. That’s a shame because it really does spread across many
domains. Gautam Ghosh lamented the
lack of attendees or speakers from the HR realm in a few tweets during the
event. Yet many of the talks were certainly around employee behavior and
engagement. I have to be honest. There are many things that are still
left unanswered this year. I didn’t expect solutions but I was looking for more
thought on the following ideas: It will still take a bit of time, or if at all, we can
figure on better patterns of a maturity lifecycle, but let’s not jump to
default conclusions simply because it is easy to remember.
I’ve increased my attendance at E2.0 by 100% by going two years in a row; okay, that was a bad metrics joke. The Enterprise2.0 conference in Boston was the big gathering of customers, analysts, bloggers and aficionados this year. We’re still debating how many people really attended but I’m guessing it is around a thousand.
The week began early for me starting with presenting during the Black Belt practitioner’s workshop on Monday. I’m proud of my fellow members of The 2.0 Adoption Council who presented the workshops all day long. There are about 10 speakers, starting in the morning with the effervescent Jamie Pappas (EMC) speaking on business value; the cheery Megan Murray (Booz Allen Hamilton) on planning; and myself on adoption. The afternoon had a several pairs of speakers: Stan Garfield (Deloitte) and Luis Suarez (IBM) on community building; Donna Cuomo (MITRE) and Ted Hopton (UBM) on metrics and analysis; Bryce Williams (Eli Lilly) and Richard Rashty (Schneider Electric) on positioning tools; and Bart Schutte (St Gobain) and Kevin Jones (NASA) on mitigating risks.
I’m also thrilled so many people stayed from 8:30am till 4:15pm. It really is a fire hose of knowledge, even when spread across so many hours. These were real issues and scenarios that the speakers have experienced in trying to bring Enterprise2.0 to life in their own organizations.
Has E2.0 gained ground? I definitely think so. For any idea to take hold, there needs to be stability in what it means, and increasing adoption and expression of the notions within it. Seeing The 2.0 Adoption Council’s rapid growth within just one year (with over 100 member large companies) worldwide, with active practitioners is one area of social proof. The other is the reduction of “What is it?” and more of “How do we do it?”
E2.0 seems to be entrenched in the domain of the CIO and IT organizations. That’s a shame because it really does spread across many domains. Gautam Ghosh lamented the lack of attendees or speakers from the HR realm in a few tweets during the event. Yet many of the talks were certainly around employee behavior and engagement.
I have to be honest. There are many things that are still left unanswered this year. I didn’t expect solutions but I was looking for more thought on the following ideas:
It will still take a bit of time, or if at all, we can figure on better patterns of a maturity lifecycle, but let’s not jump to default conclusions simply because it is easy to remember.
rawn 100000R0P5 Tags:  report enterprise-2.0 economic data europe geographic eu case-study european e20 commission 2 Comments 5,625 Visits
The trio of Headshift, IDC and Tech4i2 have released their Interim report on Enterprise 2.0 in Europe. This is a fantastic piece of work in 160 pages. I had time enough go through half of it so far. It covers so many areas and compiles data on geography and economic production in countries due to e20. Thanks to @leebryant and @mikejthompson for sharing this.
Here are some of my suggestions and points:
Pg9 Table 3 - Links between participants –
For traditional enterprise aps the “peer or hierarchical” describes the structure of how people are linked overall, but for E2.0 apps, it focuses on quality of individual links.
That’s two different concepts.
Option 1: include both structure and quality in each box
- Traditional Apps – “Peer or hierarchical, if linkage with others is supported at all. Members have to accept predefined links with others in their workgroup. Strength of linkage unknown
- E20 Apps – “Web of connections. Members choose who they want to link to, and strength of connection depends on interactions
Option 2: Quality only
- Traditional Apps – Members must accept predfined links to others in workgroup, and strength of linkage unknown
Option 3: Structure only
- Traditional apps - Peer or hierarchical, if linkage with others is supported at all.
- E20 - Members choose who they want to link to, and strength of connection depends on interactions
Section 2.3 pg 10
This should also indicate sources which state that Organizational Culture and culture change is a key aspect. If you want you can link to our IBM paper on adoption which stresses that this is not just technology adoption, but actual work culture change.
I think for the Internal case, its missing: building employee loyalty, satisfaction and retention. To this take a look at Salary.com’s 2009 survey of Job satisfaction, particularly at the top reason “why people stay in a company”: “I like the people I work with”
An Internal>External or perhaps External case is keeping in touch with former employees/alumni. This is a variant on recruitment. By having an Alumni community, you may be able to rehire former employees which is much more cost-effective and faster in terms of integrating into the company. This saves time and money over hiring completely new people.
Section 2 & 3 overall
There seems to be a heavy reliance on McAfee’s research only. It’s very one sided. You should cite other sources as well. There are a whole lot of other researchers in this domain too.
Page17 Communities of Interest
A community of practice is a key component of building a “Center of Excellence” within organizations around different topics, technologies, knowledge domains and innovation directions. It identifies company-wide a select group of subject-matter-experts and organizational memory. In short developing centers of excellence within organization supports the overall innovation strategy of the company.
Pg 18 Innovation Management
IBM InnovationJam and IdeaJam system is a managed approach to ideation and discovering employees interested or committed to bringing innovative ideas to life. IBM has had various such Jams since 2001 across different populations: employees only (new product or service opportunities), employees and family (local community development, and work-life balance), and employees, customers and business partners (challenging global issues)
Pg 20 Crowdsourcing
An example is BurdaStyle by German publishing company, Hubert Burda Media. By providing a template system to allow anyone (customers) to create new clothing designs of their own. This is an example Crowdsourcing by Template; it generates new ideas that customers can sell to each other or license to the company Burda itself to produce for the mass market.
See my book “Social Networking for Business” (Wharton School Press, 2010) Chapter 4 on further details.
Pg20 Customer/Public Engagement
Use more European focused social sites. See ManyEyes and comScore data on apps per country
Pg39 4.2 The Role of Leadership
This is missing out that E2.0 allows a variety of different leadership models as microcosms within the overall organization leadership structure. I provide a variety of these models in Chapter 2 of my book.
The significance is that it creates an alternate dimension of leadership hidden underneath the official hierarchical structure of the company. These alternate models can be discovered through Social Network Analysis, or predefined for individual communities and social environments with different groupings of employees.
Pg40 Organisational size
One of the most obvious facts most people forget is that on the Internet, there is practically unlimited population that may participate in web2.0 environments. However, within an organization, there is a definite bound of all the employees involved. What this affects is the notion of the Long Tail: with a bounded employee population adoption need not be a long-tailed graph at all, since you can determine through metrics data how many people are involved, and how involved they can get. The graph changes shape significantly. On the Internet, there is an endless supply of the long-tail on ther otherhand.
Missing is a discussion on the Dunbar number limit that suggests people are able to at most recall 150 peers or friends, and a closer look at why that idea is not necessarily applicable in E20 system.
See Christopher Allen’s post on this: http://www.lifewithalacrity.com/2004/03/the_dunbar_numb.html
Pg77 Employee Privacy concerns
Another actor of the personal social networking is that the line between work and personal discussions is getting quite blurry. E.g., some people use their personal Facebook profile to post both personal content and work related content. It thus becomes harder to tell how people are working because it requires detailed context to decide if any content posted is work related or personal.
Furthermore often employees use their corporate social environment to casually discuss personal ideas, projects and activities. This is not a negative, because it creates opportunities for other employees to find commonality and like-minded peers; in other words it improves chances of building stronger employee-to-employee bonds.
Pg78 “Eat your own dog-food”
How about “Drink your own Champagne” – a more pleasant prospect.
Pg80 Does E20 matter
For 1) or perhaps 3) there are some existing evidence / studies on the impact of e20 on productivity and growth. See Wu, Lin, Aral and Brynjolfsson (MIT & IBM)
It quantifies exact value gain per employee from stronger relationships through e20.
Pg81 Maslow’s ROI Hierarchy of Enterprise 2.0 chart
I know Hutch based this on Maslow’s theory, but using that title for the chart is very incorrect because it suggests that Abraham Maslow (now dead) defined that Hierarchy.
A better name would be “ROI Hierarchy of Enterprise 2.0 based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs theory”