I recently finished a call with a company that chose a competitor over my company’s solution in order to solicit their feedback. I try to proactively reach out to clients and prospective clients when we don’t earn their business.
In this case, we did very well but ultimately lost on a couple of factors. Yet what most interested me was not so much the reason why we lost, but the difficulty she had in selling the concept of Social Business internally. Now I’ve long advocated the removal of “social” from business in any discussion with upper management, but she really brought it home for us.
According to her, the early discussions around bringing a Social Business tool into the corporation was met with fierce resistance from the C-Suite. In fact, the CIO is already chaffed from all of the Facebook usage around the organization. The rest of the executive team is weary of employee blogging and commenting. It doesn’t fit their command and control center mentality.
So how was she able to bring an Enterprise 2.0 tool into the company? By turning off all of the social features and beach heading the solution in one division. She believes it will catch on and the executives will see the benefit of the solution and request full functionality.
Interestingly, she believes the company will be at a competitive disadvantage in the near future if it doesn’t offer a Web 2.0 work experience for new employees (especially the younger generation). She expects lower retention and difficulties in hiring if the solution is not rolled out entirely and retained as the company intranet.
Her struggles with bringing Enterprise 2.0 philosophy and tools into her company are not unlike most of the stories we continue to hear. Yet slowly but surely, corporate champions are finding innovative ways of breaching the corporate fire wall to introduce E2.0 support columns in anticipation of adding the foundation later. They build success story after success story after initial launch. They focus on the people using the solution and use the boost from their early achievements to create momentum.
Questions: Do you have a similar situation? What has your experience been?
(Cross-posted @ Seek Omega)