Deloitte and Sampson: Focus on process, the "why" not the "what", for social software
I found a common thread on process centric adoption in the Deloitte Center for the Edge's Social Software for Business Performance report and Michael Sampson's User Adoption Strategies book.
The Deloitte study focuses heavily on a Traction TeamPage deployment at Alcoa where the study highlights a 61% reduction in hours spent on compliance activities in IT project management.
In their analysis, Deloitte says meaningful performance improvement is achievable:
The experiences of Alcoa and OSIsoft prove that social software can achieve meaningful improvements.
How did they succeed where so many others did not? Both Alcoa and OSIsoft employed a simple tactic: they avoided focusing on adoption. Rather, they identified specific operational pain points in the business that social software could address. By focusing on something tangible, broadly relevant and widely acknowledged as a problem, they overcame initial skepticism.
Sampson's book is another great reference point on adoption.
A first wave person is attracted to the "what" of the new collaboration technology, but may struggle to articulate the "why" -- the future oriented picture -- to other people. They may "get it" implicitly, but struggle to put it into words. A second wave person gets the "why" (if it's conveyed in terms of their work), but will need help with the "what. " (Page 30)
Later on, Sampson uses my quote to lead off Chapter 9 - Making it Real:
The deployments I have seen succeed the fastest and become the most enduring are those that are built under the backdrop of a defined work process that is better conducted wiki or blog-style than in email, Notes, SharePoint or whatever the alternative.
Patterns emerge within these deployments that change their nature and branch into new uses of the technology -- but leveraging the core process (or processes) is vital to gaining high participation and sustained user attention.
When you focus on the "why," people stop looking at the platform as a "blog" or "social" system but rather as a work-process system.