There are a number of events on online community management, social software and communications coming up this year. I'm glad to see the topic of community management is thriving even after decades of existence. These are the live meetings in the beginning half of the year or so; I left out the online events and webinars since they are quite numerous.
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
-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
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
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.
If you are attending Enterprise2.0 conference next week in Boston, here
are some of the events that I will be at. I may session-hop because there is just too much to see. Our BlueIQ Social software adoption
will be all around the event, and even Gina Poole, our VP will be there.
8:30am – 4:15pm, Black Belt Practitioners Workshop
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
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:
Surprisingly, I agree with Dennis
Howlett. I don’t think people should be looking for a single answer or
approach to figuring this out. What was being affirmed is that are some
cases of ROI particularly in the external or public-facing environments,
but very rare for internal enterprise 2.0 environments. However, most
examples of an approach to ROI I know are still very specific to scenarios
that cannot be easily replicated. The industry going through its period of
denial – “Don’t try to look for ROI”—but organizations still need that.
and Personally Identifying Information – I raised this last year at the
conference, and it was great that there was at least one session by Carl
Frappollo (Information Architected, Inc) that described the interviews and
study he did early this year on this subject. The focus was very
Euro-centric because of the specifics of several countries there with
intense legal scrutiny in this area.
Carl’s point about organizations along the following interest scale--‘Big
S’ security, ‘small c’ collaboration, and ‘Big C’ collaboration--certainly
described the differing views on the legal fog organizations face.
is about transforming human behaviors at work – More folks are starting to
recognize that it is not trivial to bring communities and other social
environment to life. There were numerous cases talking about adoption
including my own part of the workshop. I’ve heard several different philosophies:
fascist / ‘Hitler’ approach (as described by the speaker) of mandating
that people use these tools;
‘taking the toys away’ – removing alternatives so they have no choice but
to use social tools.
carrot principle through monetary rewards or a point system to purchase
goods – apparently some folks still have that available.
visibility principle – non-monetary rewards but peer recognition (again
surprisingly, from @dahowlett).
get beyond “adoption”’ – This was another sentiment I heard several times,
but I attribute it to short-attention span. The general statement was
‘adoption’ was last-year’s thing, and we needed a new ‘thing’. As evident
from our own experience which my excellent peer Jeanne Murray and I
described, adoption goes through many stages of evolution. Each step
people need new things, and you need new adoption tactics. The big-picture
Enterprise 2.0 doesn’t happen in a year, although you can achieve many
Social Media vs. Enterprise 2.0 – I think people are starting to agree
that working with the external audience entirely is a different context
than Enterprise 2.0. I did hear several questions to this front, so this
distinction hasn’t completely permeated yet.
tend to get weedkiller put on it” – I quote Oliver Marks (ZDNet, Sovos
Group) here. E2.0 adoption efforts without official executive support do
not tend to last long. This goes along with the next realization.
transformation teams even in large companies are small and understaffed –
I made a joke: “For a global organization of about 400,000 people, I think
the right size [for an E2.0 team] is about 7 or 8.”The reality is that most organizations
have only one person working on it if they are lucky. Frankly I think that
this is a recipe for failure because a single person, even with some
volunteer help, would find such an organization-wide transformation truly
monumental. However, this is a catch-22 / paradox: You can’t get more
staff until you can prove its value, but you need people to help you prove
and Medium Businesses have different problems than large organizations – I
heard this brought up only once, but I think it is a very important
statement in reflection of the last point. The large companies, including
our own, can afford to have experts staffed to focus on Enterprise 2.0.
SMBs with only a thousand people or so don’t have that luxury.
has to be something for everyone” – The speaker (I don’t recall who) was
making a point mostly that individuals need to feel the impact to see the
value. However, I want to elevate that the pendulum can’t swing entirely
to focus on the individual. Too much emphasis on gaining organizational
value can lead to poor adoption, but too little focus on it deemphasizes
the business reasons to support such a significant transformation project.
Maturity and Lifecycle models – This was a gaping hole. I’m of the school
of thought that there are many different archetypes for social
environments. Yet, many describe theirs as if it is the answer, or
use their single case to refute other claims. Thomas Van der Wal’s wrap-up on continuing
myths per this conference revisits the participation inequality
principle made famous, but not originated by, Jakob Nielsen—the 90% are
lurkers/readers, 9% are contributers but 1% are intense contributors.
Some activity metrics case studies in our organizations have shown that it
really depends on the goals of the communities. For example, some are
decidedly intended as only an outlet for information albeit in a more
social sphere; others focus on intense rewriting of content.
Yet, these myths persist often because the metrics systems are quite poor,
and they look at the external social media context, not internal
interaction within the organization. A great weakness is the inability to
uniquely distinguish who is participating in a community and the different
forms of participation actions beyond just reads and writes. In the
external world, with the possibility of endless different users, this
might be more of a reality, but within the boundaries of known employees
in org E2.0, the clarity of detail reshapes how we see this. There are
many other factors: affinity to the community, time within member’s
workflow to participate, recognizable value and outcomes for the member,
rhythms of activity.
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.