Open Cafe: E2.0 Implementation and Adoption

May 29, 2013 · · Posted by Jordan Frank

@JeffMerrell posed a series of questions for his Master's Program in Learning & Organizational Change. I'll offer my own experience as it pertains to each of his question areas.

Question Area: Implementation of new social technology platforms

When stepping into E2.0, there's a temptation to go enterprise wide while also wanting to meet a specific need and show success. Invariably, it's easier to define a specific need for a small group and get adoption there at the "local" level. In my own experience and with customers, the same pattern is generally evident: Shooting for instant enterprise adoption is OK for short-lived processes like an idea jam while long lasting adoption with sustained return occurs when a small group identifies a "process" need and organizes around that.

I think the sweet spot occurs when a particular group's collaboration can benefit an entire organization. Over at Athens Group, there was a need for a focused group to put together process and training information which was valuable on an on-going basis to all their consultants. I've also seen this pattern with competitive intelligence use cases.

Question Area: Adoption of new social technology (by individual users)

Jeff asks what tells you when you've hit a tipping point. For sure that's when a super-user says "my customer's stats just passed my own!" That happened recently at site of a consulting company using TeamPage for their customer requirements and project implementation tasking.

Motivating adoption is always tricky, no matter how good the tool. But organizing spaces around a space dashboard clearly identifies what's important is critical. Then folks can understand where the value is found, and how to play along.

I talk about this in Emergineering which focuses on meeting the freedom required by collaboration with a simple structure that encourages it.

As for incentives, they're questionable since motivation is better when it comes from within. See Blog2031: Problem and Process rather than Incentives for E2.0 Tools

Question Area: Formal and informal community management

We all wish communities would manage themselves. One problem with communities is they aren't necessarily directed towards a particular goal. In a sense, communities are optional. So, the key is to figure out how it can sustain itself.

One of my earliest customers was a pharmaceutical division of a Fortune 100. They pushed they had a competitive intelligence need which was a terrific basis for building communities by market area.

There were 25 individuals which were easily identified as being involved in sharing and developing competitive and market intelligence with another easily identified set of managers. We were able to setup spaces by market area. Information was posted to the market area communities rather than through individual emails. The result was a vibrant pattern of communication which not only increased efficiency, but created greater awareness across the division and even showed some instant gains as a wider set of people could validate and amplify the key intelligence, e.g. a case of a competitor working on a new drug which a scientist was able to indicate would fail based on their own internal experiments.

In this case, the community managed itself by running user group meetings on a regular basis to check their progress and improve the quality of their information gathering based on surveys and reactions of key management and sales constituents. They also wrapped their management objectives around participation.

Question Area: Measuring activity, outcomes and value in social technology platforms

Activity and value can be attacked through efficiency, adoption and any number of other metrics. They aren't always obvious, and the outcomes aren't always predictable when you get started.

At one Pharmaceutical firm, it was evident the system was providing value when usage metrics increased after roll-out and leveled out to a consistent pattern. At that point, it was clear from behavior that it was delivering value and had hardened as an organization process. See page 10 of the PDF attached to Blog119: Thierry Barsalou, IPSEN CIO, Speaks at Gilbane Conference on Content Management.

At Alcoa Fastening Systems, a Deloitte study highlights a 62% reduction in time spent on compliance activities. There's a case where compliance was converted from a chore to something that just happens along the course of getting work done!

Question Area: Knowledge sharing to learn as well as to perform

I think the term knowledge development hits the mark closer than knowledge sharing. Knowledge development happens in the course of documenting processes, policies, and FAQs. This is a Wiki type approach where you develop and refine knowledge over time. This is the case in the Athens Group study mentioned above. Some customers have even received ISO certification for their process of managing process and training documentation. Having these core information assets makes leverage easier to achieve when questions are asked and current procedures are challenged by new opportunities for improvement.