Monday 29 December 2008

Enterprise 2.0 Starting Points

I have been discussing the introduction of web 2.0 tools into a global organisation with a contact recently and a few familiar points arose relating to the introduction of these tools / way of working. So to help address them, I have broken these points down into some headings:

Understanding - There is no point in implementing web 2.0 tools for the sake of it. You must understand both your target audience internally and how these tools can improve how you do what you do. Here you must look at how collaboration is different in the new way of working compared to how it is currently being achieved. From basic principles it is about connecting people through their knowledge and expertise by providing the environment (real & virtual) which encourages them to share information as part of their daily operation. This famous "Meet Charlie" deck gives a nice introduction to the potential of what can be done:

Support / Sponsorship - Once you fully understand what web 2.0 is about ("I get it!"), you now need to get your organisation on board. There are 2 elements to this:
  1. Senior Management - The initiative needs to be supported top-down by senior management in the organisation (across all divisions / geographies). This is required from the beginning, and will work in a lead-by-example method e.g. Executive Blogs. The sales pitch to this group needs to echo their needs from existing programmes. Avoiding redundant effort, avoiding repeated mistakes, taking advantage of existing expertise, making individuals more effective, making teams more effective.
  2. Grass Roots - The initiative needs to be driven laterally by communities of practice at grass roots level. Employees need to be encouraged to participate and rewarded for contributing. The model is suited to achieving a critical mass of users to ensure trust and sustained engagement for ongoing success.
Education - Web 2.0 is new to many, so it is important to convert these people by demonstrating a clear benefit to them from using the tools. Removing the technical jargon for business users can help to speed their introduction to web 2.0. I am a big fan of the CommonCraft show which has taught us to focus on plain english explanations of technical tools / concepts for business users. An example of how they simplify these concepts is RSS in plain english:

Starting Points - I believe that the best starting points for the introduction of web 2.0 tools are those which have high visibility, are cross divisional / geographically dispersed and can have a quick turn-around for early results. Operations & Technology is always a good area for testing the waters in this domain. The tasks and roles in O&T divisions are suited to adopting tools like instant messaging, wikis for documenting practices / ideas, RSS feeds for monitoring systems etc. Prove the value here and the other areas of your organisation will follow.

Growth - You need champions and evangelists to drive adoption and early growth for a successful beginning for your web 2.0 initiative. It is so important to fuel the flame of enthusiasm early on by demonstrating functionality, mentoring and supporting your user community. I had posted in the past about the characteristics of a wiki champion, but they are applicable to all web 2.0 adoption really:
  • Be a Clear Communicator
  • Be a Coach
  • Be Patient
  • Be Enthusiastic
  • Be Engaging
  • Have Fun!

Measurement - This is a real grey area, as the metrics could be different for each organisation depending on the goals of your initiative. There are however some emerging examples of what organisations are measuring when it comes to examining trends and ROI for web 2.0 programmes. Things like # of unique users, # of unique contributions etc. This slide deck shows some of the metrics that Accenture use for their knowledge management initiatives:

This is by no means an extensive coverage of this topic, however I would encourage those interested in Web 2.0 or enterprise 2.0 to use the tools online to discover more e.g. YouTube, SlideShare, RSS Readers / Blogs, LinkedIn etc.