Social Media in the enterprise – best practice #2

Posted: August 30th, 2007 | Author: | Filed under: Archive, Social Media, Systematic Viewpoints | View Comments

I’ve heard that email spam got it’s nickname based on the physical behavior of its namesake processed meat product. Apparently you take a large quantity, throw it against a wall and see what sticks…I’ve lived in rural America, sometimes this is what passes for fun.

Unfortunately the scatter-shot approach is sometimes used in early stages of emerging technology deployments. Blogs, Wikis and IM have been no exception. You’ll see skunkworks driven by a well-meaning enthusiast pushing a technology out and justifying it by essentially declaring that ‘if we deploy it, they will come’. More often than not, very few people come. Resources are wasted, management finds out and the entire effort gets a bad name. When the subject is raised again, the resistance is high.

If you’re thinking of deploying a form of social media, it must have a defined value proposition, be aligned to a business process and demonstrably improve or enhance that process: eliminating friction, reducing errors, capturing undocumented data or knowledge and making it easily findable…you get the point.

If you crave a Sharepoint or other collaboration instance, find a project that is broadly distributed. Chances are high that too much of the process and communications is happening between a small number of participants via email and attachments. The rest of the team wonders what’s happening and the lack of visibility leads to a lack of engagement.

Show how document sharing and simple versioning reduces the problem of multiple unsynchronized documents driving people to actions based on the wrong version. Show how a discussion forum can help a person in a regional office stay aligned with a corporate framework, and how a person the the corporate office can learn who does what in the regions, and how they’ve needed to modify that framework to work better in their business environment. In short, show how these tools help people work more efficiently.

Best Practice #2: Show direct business value by aligning social computing to real-world work.

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