Many of our readers have asked us confidentially about strategies to gain Enterprise 2.0 acceptance in the corporation. While every company is different (refer to Moore’s Crossing the Chasm), there are some that more difficult than others.
As more and more companies are exploring Enterprise 2.0 technologies and methodologies, Larry wants to help people understand how to use and integrate these new tools, while ensuring they understand the challenges.
The groundwork for some of these tools has been in place for a few years, but we think corporations will finally start to embrace them enterprise-wide in 2010.
How did you get involved in CMS and Enterprise 2.0?
I was introduced to the discipline of Knowledge Management by a professor while I was in business school. The use of content management and collaboration technologies to empower knowledge workers resonated deeply with me. I worked as an intern to the Chief Knowledge Officer at Lotus during the summer between my two business school academic years and have continued to work as an industry analyst and consultant in the field over the last 12 years.
Can you share some examples of companies that have set up Enterprise 2.0 initiatives inside their organization?
There are so many enterprise social software case studies available, but here are a few of my favorites. Professional services firm CSC has 40,000 employees using the pilot version of a social portal to better connect, communicate, and collaborate with each other. Penn State University’s Outreach program created an intranet with that allows staff to find subject matter experts, publish and share documents, and collaborate in groups — all to create information and programs that serve their customers. TransUnion is using an enterprise social networking platform to brainstorm, share, and evaluate ideas that will help them improve corporate-wide IT performance while minimizing investment in new hardware and software. Pfizer has used open source wiki, blog, and social bookmarking software to increase knowledge sharing and collaboration between researchers, sales people, manufacturing employees, and executives. Red Mountain Retail Group is using wikis and mashups to manage commercial real estate development projects across three offices and hundreds of project sites.
Is there a way that you can characterize those that may be leading the initiatives inside these companies?
I have been fortunate to meet several individuals who are Enterprise 2.0 evangelists within organizations. As a group, they are an extraordinary lot! These people may be best characterized as intelligent, forward-thinking, experienced in corporate workings, politically savvy, good negotiators, determined, and persistent. They understand both business and IT, and they effectively build bridges between those two worlds within their organizations. Most of all, Enterprise 2.0 evangelists understand and firmly believe in the value of empowering workers with connections to others and to information — even if it is difficult to demonstrate that value in terms of currency-based return on investment.
What are the most common barriers to Enterprise 2.0 adoption in corporations?
Most barriers are cultural and behavioral; they have little to do with technology. They may be summed up with two words: Ignorance and fear. Ignorance of what tools are available, where and how to best use them, and how they can create business value. Fear of loss of control and power, investment of effort and money in absence of pre-defined ROI, information insecurity, increased workload, and change in general.
How do you overcome these hurdles?
The old-fashioned way. The introduction of any new technology in an organization requires the implementation of several change management tactics, including extensive conceptual education, technology training, incentivisation, and, — most of all — communication. In this regard, E2.0 is no different than any other enterprise technology set.
I also encourage organizations to use an emergent adoption model that is hybrid of viral (grassroots) and intentional (IT-led) patterns. In the emergent adoption model, IT and business people partner to ask questions and define expected use cases, business impacts, and value measurement metrics for the E2.0 technology being deployed. Once the technology has been implemented, project leaders observe how the technology is actually being used and what value that use case is creating. If there are no metrics in place to measure that value, they must be created. Emergent uses of the specific technology are then standardized in terms of well-defined use case descriptions, business impact expectations, and metrics to measure value created. Then project leaders and people using the technology must communicate their experiences — tell stories — so the technology can spread to other areas of the enterprise.
Armed with E2.0 technology, will employees have more power?
Yes and no. Yes, any given employee using social software will have more power to perform their role in the organization, because they can more easily discover and share information and knowledge that will help them to do their job. They will also have more opportunities to gain power by building their reputation amongst fellow employees, as well as with customers, partners, and other external constituents. However, the introduction of E2.0 technology is not guaranteed to alter the power of position held in the organizational hierarchy; managers will still exert substantial influence and control over the work of their direct reports.
Knocking Down Corporate Silos
What kinds of management changes are needed to cope with all this?
Ideally, middle managers would become less command and control oriented and increasingly act as coaches and mentors to employees, facilitating their interactions with one another and with the organizations’ leadership. Senior managers would work to create and maintain an organizational culture that values trust, collaboration, communication, learning, community, and transparency.
In the short term, at least, I do not expect to see those changes occur in most organizations. However, E2.0 is a way of being and operating for organizations; it is management philosophy supported by technology. Any organization that implements social software without changing management style and corporate culture will see its E2.0 initiatives fail
To be continued…..
(Cross-posted @ Seek Omega)