I had the opportunity to speak with and interview some of the top minds in the Enterprise 2.0 space, and although there aren’t many, what follows is a summary of best practices from those active in the field today. The best practices below should be applicable to most any company and I highly recommend that you take these to heart. Perhaps even print out a few copies to share around the office. Let’s get started.
The very first thing you need to do is decide that you want to implement Enterprise 2.0 within your organization. Once you have that part figured out, it is very easy to make E2.0 fit into one your business challenges that needs to solved. There are those who say you should first identify your business objectives and then consider E2.0 but those people are idiots and completely wrong. Remember, E2.0 first, business objectives second.
Next is the technology. When looking at various software solutions, try not to focus on the cost. So what if a vendor tells you it’s going to be $500,000 a year for a platform? Does that really matter? After all, you are getting your company to collaborate and that is priceless. You can’t put a price tag on teamwork so don’t try to. Try to select the most robust technology platform that offers the most features. The more features it has, the more your employees will want to play around with it. As mentioned above, once you select the technology platform of choice, then you can adjust it to solve whatever problem needs solving.
Now in order to make anything really work we have to consider legacy systems and processes at your company. In my expert opinion, the best way to handle this is just by throwing them out and going back to the drawing board. I get it, your company has a 25 year old process, a 15 year old intranet system, and decade old selling framework. Do me a favor, take all of that, put it in a bucket and set in on fire because it’s useless. How can anything you have from the days of old possibly be relevant in today’s world? I mean have you even heard of Twitter?
So far we covered business objectives, technology, budget and legacy systems. But how do you actually roll this puppy out? First a quick reminder: your IT department most likely lives in its own little vacuum; a little bubble with no outside connection to the real world as we know it. This means that they are going to be scared out of their minds when you propose or even mention anything about E2.0. No worries, there are ways to reassure them. First of all, security isn’t a big issue and can be easily overcome. We live in a world of transparency and trust so if you’re actually worried that somehow your information is going to leak, well then you should be fired. You won’t have to worry about employees breaking anything either because only certain employees with 50 hours of advanced training each will even have access to the system. From speaking with other experts in the field, I gather that the best way to select your pilot group of employees is to not discriminate. Make it a random selection based on last names, for example. Everyone whose last name begins with and X, Y, or Z goes first (and so on).
Finally we have to talk about adoption, and no not the Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie type of adoption. I’m talking about actually getting people to use your new collaboration platform. Quite honestly the best way to launch this thing and to get people to use it is through trial and error. There’s no point really thinking this through too much. Buy it, deploy it, give people access to it, and learn as you go. Simple. If you find that people aren’t using it, then it’s back to the drawing board. If you find that people are using it but it’s just a big time suck, then guess what, back to the drawing board again. As they say, ‘if at first you don’t succeed, try try again.” Don’t worry, over time with trial and error you will eventually figure it out. And when you do, you’ll be famous at your company for being the person that made collaboration work…then, you get to speak at all the fancy conferences.
Before you send me hate mail or leave angry comments, consider what day it is…