Sunday, December 7, 2008

Enterprise Social Interaction

The social enterprise is not just an off-shoot of the Social Graph on the web (Facebook, LinkedIn, twitter, etc.) but something that has been real and delivering value within many organizations for some time.  It was labeled collaboration, knowledge management, or not labeled at all.

Certainly new forms of technology, especially through web services, wiki’s, instant messaging, and presence have helped push awareness and adoption forward.  Adoption and value realization of enterprise social interaction tools lags behind the consumer marketplace.  Lots of talk in the trade press abounds regarding how the technology that people encounter outside of work is expected to be in place within the organizational firewall.  What needs to be considered is how these new technologies can be applied to add value in the enterprise context.  It is not and can not be an “if we build it they will come” approach to implementing enterprise social interaction tools.

Enterprises need to clearly articulate a strategy.  A strategy that builds upon and supports the organizations goals and objectives.  To often things turn into what I term a series of unfortunate projects (approaching enterprise social interaction as a series of discrete projects) instead of creating a road map that helps achieve strategic objectives in a series of planned events.

I have put together these bulleted thoughts on the value proposition around enterprise social interaction.

  • Connectedness

    • Provides participatory interaction vs. passive delivery

      • Example: use Wiki’s to develop Detailed Business Requirements

      • Reduce project cycle times through less face-to-face meetings and more meaningful interaction

      • Enhance project value through full documentation and change management of requirements “documents”

      • Provide a concise view of how the requirements evolved over time

    • Communication becomes Conversation

      • All employees can participate in information creation and consumption based on role and interests

      • Requires an open environment where people and systems work together

      • leverage each person's tacit knowledge

      • Not just about putting technology in place, but letting conversations and interactions take place organically without management intervention

    • Communities of Interest

      • If allowed, will form without top-down hand holding

      • Provide added value by allowing diverse view points to be heard and applied

    • Interactive Management Communication

      • Leadership communication should be parallel not serial

      • Example: CEO communication through blog instead of email or a static web page (moderated of course as some people can be rather boorish)

      • Generational expectations to work, communication and collaboration must be adequately addressed

  • Connective Fabric

    • Tools need to provide a connective fabric that connects people and ideas together not just processes

    • Organizations need to learn from and leverage the enterprise social graph

      • Understand how social interaction capabilities can accelerate innovation and drive knowledge worker productivity

    • Individual knowledge is not power, it is obsolescence.  The collective knowledge of the organization is power and creates a competitive advantage

      • There is no such thing as sustainable competitive advantage; there is only a race to create new sources of temporary advantage.  The challenge is to string together a series of temporary advantages into advantages over time. (1)

    • Stale Content/Rigid User Experiences

      • Top down, centralized activities reduce value and limit innovation

      • Balance needs to exist between security and usability

  • What this means for organizational hierarchy

    • A workplace transition from command and control to people focused and community-centric approaches that ties people, ideas, content, processes and systems together

    • >Empowerment

      • Employees are empowered to create and publish information that is easily disseminated throughout the organization

      • Value bubbles up to those that need it just in time

      • People need to be free to add value at will without compromising their role within the organization

      • Break down cultural barriers that limit innovation

    • Process Improvement becomes more closely aligned with value than with rigid industrial age notions of productivity

    • Tools used are based on flexibility/the ability to enable connectedness vs. a command and control approach

(1) Eric Beinhocker – The origin of wealth

[amtap book:isbn=1422121038]


  1. RT @badhoy KM News™ » Blog Archive » Enterprise Social Interaction

  2. RT @badhoy KM News™ » Blog Archive » Enterprise Social Interaction


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