(Reflections on Marc Stone’s presentation ‘Overview of Enterprise Social’ on #SPC2012.)
Stop referring to the success of Facebook and Twitter
Speakers almost always refer to the success of Social media like Facebook and Twitter as a reason to adopt social media in the Enterprise. THEY SHOULD STOP DOING THAT, because it scares the hell out of management. When people think of Facebook and Twitter, they primarily think about the content that is produced in those media, and that content is mostly private, uncontrollable, and of very low value; therefore, for them, Social Media means ‘low value’ and ‘risk’ for the enterprise and should be banned.
It is time to focus on the mechanism of media like Facebook and Twitter (without mentioning them), and to point out the huge potential value for the Enterprise.
It’s not all ‘Bottom-up’
The success of social media is, amongst others, due to the bottom-up way of making things happen. But in an Enterprise content, this may not be the correct way to do things. Consider the frustration most organizations experienced after their first SharePoint implementation: throwing a technology at the users without decent guidance on how to use it (and I don’t mean just training), results in frustration. The same is true if you open up social media technology for the organization without giving proper structure and guidance on how to use it in the context of the organization’s business processes (and yes, I know that using ‘structure and guidance’ in the same sentence with ‘social media’ is like cursing).
It is time to start making clear to management how much guidance and control they should put into their Social Enterprise, and how much bottom-up activity they should be prepared to allow. (E.g.: tagging should be partially organized by setting up taxonomies, that can then evolve based on input of the community.)
Social is core not optional
Implementing social media in the Enterprise is only feasible and acceptable if it replaces other mechanisms and technologies. It is not an additional way of working, it replaces aspects of the current way of working and it changes the current way of working fundamentally. (An interesting exercise in this context: imagine working without –internal- e-mails. In fact, what is the difference between your e-mail inbox and your task list? Don’t we all use e-mail mainly as a task list?)
It is time to picture ‘a day in the life of’ an employee in the organization before and after replacing the old way of working with the new one. Make it as clear as possible to management what the benefits are and how the risks can be controlled. Show the Business Case of implementing the new media.