Sunday, December 6, 2009

Interesting Enterprise 2.0 Readings - Week 49 2009




As I laid out in Intel's Enterprise Social Computing Strategy Revealed, Intel has been dabbling internally with web 2.0 since 2004. We made a concerted decision to take the momentum and learning from the grass root efforts, and drive a globally deployed framework for social computing inside Intel. It is no small task. Not only do we have to evaluate and deploy solutions, but we also have to address Governance, Security Concerns, provide quantifiable ROI, capture use cases, and tackle transition change management one person and one team at a time. Here are my reflections on 2009.

This CIO article highlights 3 enterprise microblogging case studies - two of the case studies are about large technology companies (still interesting, but not necessarily reflective of everyone's experience). However, the other example describes the experiences of St. Louis Public Radio in the US, which only employees around 33 staff.

For me this reflects my own personal rule of thumb that its not just the size of an organisation that makes enterprise social computing useful, but the structure of the organisation and how these different roles relate to each other.

"Beware Social Media Snake Oil" by Stephen Baker:
While the marketing consultants focus on buzz and engagement, their in-house colleagues are trying to use social media to change how companies operate. The goal of Enterprise 2.0, a descendant of the "knowledge management" movement in the '90s, is to reroute the information traveling through corporations, undermining rigid hierarchies.

Many argue that a fixation on hard numbers could lead companies to ignore the harder-to-quantify dividends of social media, such as trust and commitment. A Twittering employee, for example, might develop trust or goodwill among customers but have trouble putting a number on it. "There is this default assumption that return on investment is the correct measure for everything," says Susan Etlinger, senior vice-president at Horn Group, a San Francisco consultancy. "Everything needs to monetize within 12 weeks, so we can understand that we're successful. But frequently the thing they're measuring is misleading."

This can lead to confusion. The risk is that a backlash against the consultants' easy promises could reduce social media investments just as the industry takes off.

Systems and processes at companies are often not known to employees. Employees’ trust increases the more they understand how and why things are done. The philosophy behind a company’s management (compensation practices, performance management criteria, resource allocation, and project ‘green lights’) should be as clear and as consistent as possible. When practices are not clear, it leaves employees wondering what went into the decision-making process. Lack of transparency by a company’s leadership can directly impact employee effectiveness and productivity.

This type of culture comes from the top down. Communication cannot be optional. It must be built into the fabric of the company.

A few things you can do:
  • Develop a cadence of communication for your company and/or your department.
  • Be honest. Leaders love sharing good information, but sometimes the news is bad. Trust your employees to handle it.
  • Be as open as possible about company systems and processes
  • Make presentations, white papers, etc. available to employees. It is not reasonable to invite employees to every meeting on every subject, but you can make the information available.
  • Have open forums and engage in Management By Walking Around (MBWA)

View more documents from Fred Zimny.