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Strategic Principles for Enterprise 2.0 Implementation


Posted by on December 21, 2009

strategic_mgt This is the fourth post of a multi-post series covering the discussion between SOCIALtality founder and 20-year Fidelity-enterprise veteran, Wendy Troupe and myself.  The topics of our discussions were around Social Media, the emerging Enterprise 2.0 movement and the issues facing companies contemplating adoption.  Yesterday we addressed why enterprise 2.0 market predictions vary so greatly.  Today we are going to discuss a few strategic principles for successful incremental Enterprise 2.0 implementation.

Question 4:What strategic principals should guide that incremental integration approach to ensure the chances of success

My response:

To really see successful adoption companies need to focus on the benefits of the user first and the benefits of the company second.  You can’t approach a user and ask them to change behaviors because it benefits the company.  Companies need to approach the user and tell them how it will benefit them.  This is a bit of psychological approach but it’s important.  Employees put their needs first and company needs second so if you show them how Enterprise 2.0 can help them make their job easier then they are much more likely to listen.

You also need to focus on use cases  before deploying a platform and strategy.  So for example how is someone in the marketing department going to benefit  from Enterprise 2.0 vs someone from the product development team.  You need to develop use cases for the various departments and understand what the risks, challenges, and opportunities are for each department.  Finally, you need to understand how each department is going to measure success/failure.  I’ll go into this a bit more in a future post but the point here is that everyone is going to have different needs and you must understand what those needs are.

You need to speak in terms of “supporting” rather than “changing”.  “Change” implies that people are doing things wrong.  “Support” however, implies that you recognize value of their efforts and you want to help further those efforts.  You can’t walk into a company and say “you guys are idiots, everything you’re doing is wrong,” because that’s not going to accomplish anything.

Planning for the long-term is also essential, we’re talking over a year here.  In an organization of 30,000 people, it’s going to take time to shift habits and methodologies.  You need to have a realistic understanding of just how long integration is going to take and plan accordingly.  Finally, you need to invest time and energy into education, policies, and guidelines (aka governance).  Creating ambassador programs is key.  You want people teaching and encouraging each other to use the tools.

Wendy’s response:

I think, at the top level, there has to be clear corporate guidelines, rules of engagement and mutually agreed upon expectations.  These have to be passed down from level to level, modified and adjusted according to each levels needs.

There has to be a central support group that can be accessed at any level, by anyone – a group that is directly responsible for the education, support and advocacy of the tool.

You need to provide an enabling environment and a clear set of realistic deliverables for each level of the organization.  It’s important for management to formalize the expectations and shift key employees responsibilities to include a percentage of time devoted to enabling the integration.

To read the other posts in this series please see below:

Enterprise 2.0: Paradigm Shift or Incremental Change?

Enterprise 2.0 Tools vs Strategies

Why do Enterprise 2.0 Market Predictions Vary so Greatly?

  • http://www.ppcsoft.com/blog Atle Iversen

    Interesting !

    “Make their job easier” – this is the key !

    Use the KISS principle, start small, implement as many quick wins as possible while keeping an eye on the big picture. And think *longer* than long-term – the world is changing quickly, and so are the tools.

    My 2 cents:
    http://www.ppcsoft.com/blog/km-3.asp

    • http://www.thefutureorganization.com jacobmorgan

      Good 'ol KISS, I haven't heard anyone talk about that in quite some time. It's definitely the right idea though. Thanks for the comment!

  • http://twitter.com/fbaud fbaud

    Jacob, I think you have it in the wrong order: Enterprise 2.0 should benefit companies first. And this is what has been missing so far. If you benefit companies, they can find ways to incentivize their employees to use the tools, be it by setting objectives: This what happened for ERP and CRM systems. If you only benefit employees, there won't be any resources allocated, management will fight the use: This is not an ideal situation.

    I think Enterprise 2.0 has been sold to companies on soft value propositions so far: Innovation, please the Millenials,… It needs to find hard selling points to convince decision makers to take the move.

    • http://www.thefutureorganization.com jacobmorgan

      E2.0 should benefit companies but in order to get adoption you have to position it as a key benefit for the users first and the company second. Otherwise users won't care. Tell the users how it will help them become more productive and efficient and as a result that will benefit the company as a whole. By helping employees, you ARE helping the company as a whole, that's the point.

      • http://twitter.com/fbaud fbaud

        Jacob, I don't think your position reflects the actual internal working of current companies: Managers have access to the resources necessary to deploy a tool, then users decide to use it or not. If the tool does not simplify employees' life, then managers have to use incentives associated with objectives for the employees to actually use the tools that have been chosen. If the managers have no interest in a tool, there is very little to help employees prove that they can be more efficient using it (what Wendy clearly explained in terms of central support group, education and advocacy). The adoption question comes only after the selection one.

        • http://www.thefutureorganization.com jacobmorgan

          Advocacy programs and support groups are definitely important. I think you have the wrong approach here. You don't pick the tool first without understanding how you are going to get adoption moving. You need to understand the individual use case per department and how you are going to solve problems within each use case, i.e. marketing vs HR. You're approaching this from a very centralized point of view which I don't think is the best solution. There was an equal spit for e2.0 initiatives that came from the bottom aka the employees and from the top aka the managers, according to the 2.0 adoption council report. Just because companies have an internal way of working doesn't mean it's the right or best way. Part of what we are talking about here is changing how companies work.

          • http://twitter.com/fbaud fbaud

            Jacob, I've heard many times vendors or consultants coming explaining us how we are not working the right way. Even though we usually agree with them, they are not helping us if they do not start from a good understanding on how we work today. E2.0 is still missing good adoption stories and clear penetration plans. When vendors or consultants come, they often do not realize we will have to do the internal selling. Very general ideas like “To really see successful adoption companies need to focus on the benefits of the user first and the benefits of the company second” are just that: Ideas. And they do not help doing the selling.

          • http://www.thefutureorganization.com jacobmorgan

            I agree. The difference is how you position what it is you are doing. Of course E2.0 benefits the company as a whole and that's the framework you're starting from. But when trying to increase adoption it's the wrong approach to go your employees and say “this is how e2.0 will benefit the company,” it's much more effective to position it as “this is how e2.0 will benefit you as an employee.” I think Andrew McAfee has an example of this in his book Enterprise 2.0. You can provide all the incentives you want but if the employees don't care then you are going to have trouble. Incentives only work for so long. Of course, every company is going to be different and there is no one size fits all approach. Of course it's easy for a consultant to say you're doing things wrong, it's much harder to fix it. I certainly don't have all answers and I don't think anyone in the space does. The challenge is how consultants can work with large organization to make this change happen and to make sure adoption happens across the enterprise.

  • http://www.thefutureorganization.com jacobmorgan

    E2.0 should benefit companies but in order to get adoption you have to position it as a key benefit for the users first and the company second. Otherwise users won't care. Tell the users how it will help them become more productive and efficient and as a result that will benefit the company as a whole. By helping employees, you ARE helping the company as a whole, that's the point.

  • http://twitter.com/fbaud fbaud

    Jacob, I don't think your position reflects the actual internal working of current companies: Managers have access to the resources necessary to deploy a tool, then users decide to use it or not. If the tool does not simplify employees' life, then managers have to use incentives associated with objectives for the employees to actually use the tools that have been chosen. If the managers have no interest in a tool, there is very little to help employees prove that they can be more efficient using it (what Wendy clearly explained in terms of central support group, education and advocacy). The adoption question comes only after the selection one.

  • http://www.thefutureorganization.com jacobmorgan

    Advocacy programs and support groups are definitely important. I think you have the wrong approach here. You don't pick the tool first without understanding how you are going to get adoption moving. You need to understand the individual use case per department and how you are going to solve problems within each use case, i.e. marketing vs HR. You're approaching this from a very centralized point of view which I don't think is the best solution. There was an equal spit for e2.0 initiatives that came from the bottom aka the employees and from the top aka the managers, according to the 2.0 adoption council report. Just because companies have an internal way of working doesn't mean it's the right or best way. Part of what we are talking about here is changing how companies work.

  • http://twitter.com/fbaud fbaud

    Jacob, I've heard many times vendors or consultants coming explaining us how we are not working the right way. Even though we usually agree with them, they are not helping us if they do not start from a good understanding on how we work today. E2.0 is still missing good adoption stories and clear penetration plans. When vendors or consultants come, they often do not realize we will have to do the internal selling. Very general ideas like “To really see successful adoption companies need to focus on the benefits of the user first and the benefits of the company second” are just that: Ideas. And they do not help doing the selling.

  • http://www.thefutureorganization.com jacobmorgan

    I agree. The difference is how you position what it is you are doing. Of course E2.0 benefits the company as a whole and that's the framework you're starting from. But when trying to increase adoption it's the wrong approach to go your employees and say “this is how e2.0 will benefit the company,” it's much more effective to position it as “this is how e2.0 will benefit you as an employee.” I think Andrew McAfee has an example of this in his book Enterprise 2.0. You can provide all the incentives you want but if the employees don't care then you are going to have trouble. Incentives only work for so long. Of course, every company is going to be different and there is no one size fits all approach. Of course it's easy for a consultant to say you're doing things wrong, it's much harder to fix it. I certainly don't have all answers and I don't think anyone in the space does. The challenge is how consultants can work with large organization to make this change happen and to make sure adoption happens across the enterprise.

  • Pingback: Should ROI be the Only Driving Factor for Enterprise 2.0?

  • http://theptrojectgenesis.blogspot.com D B Myers

    Jacob, this is just an outstanding post. The absolute best way to deploy enterprise strategies is with the end result in mind.

  • meliana

    Hi Jacob. I find your blog is very interesting and helpful to me, especially in my studies now (currently talking about Enterprise 2.0). Hope to read more interesting blogging. =))