A recent discussion and I was asked 3 questions on social media at work (enterprise social software).
Is social media a communications tool?
Are Communication and Collaboration the same thing?
Does social media benefit from a network effect?
I think that these questions identify where one stands on the topic – pro or against using social media inside the firewall. Had some great feedback from the Adoption 2.0 Council on SocialCast.
Now interested in hearing your views!
n.b. And all the questions relate to social media as a work-based tool – (i.e., Enterprise 2.0 or social software – my work) and in relation to internal comms – (also my work); NOT social media marketing, or whether one should use Facebook at work and all those types of issues.
Two posts caught my particular attention over the weekend. The first was an alert in SocialCast by @jimworth about a Gartner press release on the trends for 2011. The CIOs Jim pointed out that if they are not already onboard with all that’s 2.0 they will certainly be coming onboard after this symposium. Why? Well Gartner places Social Communications & Collaboration as number 4 of their top trends for 2011:
Social Communications and Collaboration. Social media can be divided into:
(1)Social networking —social profile management products, such as MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn and Friendster as well as social networking analysis (SNA) technologies that employ algorithms to understand and utilize human relationships for the discovery of people and expertise.
(2) Social collaboration —technologies, such as wikis, blogs, instant messaging, collaborative office, and crowdsourcing.
(3)Social publishing —technologies that assist communities in pooling individual content into a usable and community accessible content repository such as YouTube and flickr.
(4) Social feedback – gaining feedback and opinion from the community on specific items as witnessed on YouTube, flickr, Digg, Del.icio.us, and Amazon. Gartner predicts that by 2016, social technologies will be integrated with most business applications. Companies should bring together their social CRM, internal communications and collaboration, and public social site initiatives into a coordinated strategy.
To this I would add a 5th, but more of this later. The second post that caught my eye was from Dion Hinchcliffe: Making Enterprise Applications Social: Looking at the Intranet and OpenSocial. Here Dion takes up the implication of Open Social on the Intranet. This is something I wrote about a while back, Open Social and the Enterprise Intranet but Dion takes the concept further and consolidates in superb form and links it to the Enterprise App Store:
1) As the Cloud & SAAS becomes the dominant technology meme it will include the intranet inevitably (the Jive instance I’m currently working on is hosted)
2) The components of the intranet can be widgetized’ – see Dion’s Social External Applications Store and the HTML 5 link above.
3) These cloud based widgets connect via Open Social.
4) Common function paradigms are made as x widget connects with y to create z result – social bundles.
What I can see from this is that we begin to have collections of intranet functional widgets, possibly from different vendors, all socially enabled and connecting, bundled around particular business processes. It should in theory then become possible to both standardise these processes and to enable them to perform core business processes. The model I’m drawing from here, albeit hazily, is commercial commodity exchange, currency conversion and the like. These can be standardised into processes.
The ‘pure’ business process can be automated – it can run without people, without the social. Yet, it is socially transparent – anyone with the right authority (and this is a political / comercial decision) can in this model, see the transactions. More complex processes, those requiring more people input could be standardised and a business process created and modelled – I’m thinking of the sort of analysis that DMAIC entails. The task then becomes one of identifying the process and rebuilding. The build would be made of clusters of social business applications forming processes: social business processing.
We then have a 5th element for Gartner’s division of Social Communication and Collaboration: Social Business Processing: social technologies joined together, connecting with OpenSocial to perform specific and open business processes in a social and transparent way, often, though not exclusively using cloud platforms.
One outcome of this worth noting is that the traditional intranet would become much more a working tool and would cease to be a simple repository or channel of information. The phrase you can find it on the intranet would be replaced by you can build it on the intranet.
MG MGF 1.8 Freestyle Special Edition 01/51 metallic black with full black leather, only 19,500 miles fsh and all MOTs immaculate vehicle with only 1 owner from new. Alloy wheels, abs, pas, remote alarm/central locking, electric windows, electric mirrors radio/cd player, must be seen. 12 month MOT.
There’s been a great discussion recently amongst The 2.0 Adoption Council crew on what we’re trying to achieve and the role of traditional corporate and internal comms. What more than a few members have experienced in one form or another is resistance from their Comms colleagues. This has got me thinking as to what the core reasons might be and how a reconciliation of interests might be possible.
My own background is in part Comms based & so I can empathise with where the Comms teams are coming from. With this in mind it might be helpful to step back and look at where the Comms guys are coming from (and particularly internal comms, my own area). And where better than to turn to than Melcrum. I had a mail today promoting their Melcrum Black Belt Course which asked:
When planning your communication activities, which is more true?
A: I focus on delivering outputs.
B: I focus on achieving outcomes.
Was the completion of your last communication project:
A: An end in itself?
B: A means to an end?
When you gauge the success of a communication initiative, do you measure:
A: Levels of awareness and satisfaction with the channels used?
B: Attitudes, behaviours and whether business objectives were achieved?
In many of these instances I would answer both A & B, and I would also say we need to look at more than this, but let’s not jump ahead. If we look at the questions we can see that there is a tangible and controlled exercise taking place here: clearly defined aims, objectives, possible outcomes and measurable media and objectives are all part of The Plan. The Comms person is trying to achieve something and it’s specific and of course it’s timely measurable and all those SMART things.
There’s a message to be communicated, one I’d argue that should be tied into the strategic objectives of the business, and one that needs to be measured. Then along comes Jonny 2.0 come-lately and upsets that whole apple cart. Or at least that’s how it seems to the Comms person. The Comms person often thinks in terms of Signal Noise Ratio metaphors, their message is the Signal and anything in its way is Noise. Thus adding uncontrolled conversation, feedback and the whole social shabang is to add uncertainty, unpredictability and chaos. Absolute Heresy! Or at least this is how it can seem to the Comms person.
For the 2.0 Evangelist, the Comms person becomes seen as a roadblock, they just don’t get it and they block the roll out of social software in the business. An impasse develops, people can fall out, even change jobs…(& the most traditionally ‘connected’ usually win in such instances, at least in the short term).
There is a way forward here though. I think it entails each party looking at where the other is coming from. From an E 2.0 perspective I think we need to recognise that the Comms person has a job to do, a highly legitimate one and that in no small way their job is to produce a managed and measured message. They need to achieve both the Outputs and Outcomes and to be shown to do so. So from a 2.0 perspective we need to play by their rules.
But, for this to work the Comms person needs to also recognise where the 2.0 person is coming from. That dialogue and conversation are not a threat, but are aspects of the message that can help achieve the aims and objectives and often in more productive or unthought of ways. This is where Melcum’s Black Belts can become true masters of the art, by both managing the message and facilitating the conversation. As E 2.0 practitioners and evangelists, our job is to help achieve this.
It’s these sorts of ideas that are leading me to think of a new way of defining this holistic and social approach to communications and dialogue. Maybe we’re all becoming Social Business Communicators or IC 2.0 people. Or maybe I’m just a heretic!
It produces a small smile as we realise that just a short while ago, this was how it used to be. Getting information was time-consuming, slow and expensive. It took physical trips to the library, hand written or mechanically typed letters to get information and lots of lots of patience. We (of a certain age) look back with some sense of incredulity, yes it did used to be like that.
I wonder how long it will take for the current paradigm of business interaction, i.e.s the e-mail, the hefty attachment and the video-less phone will look so clunky, primitive and just so old-fashioned. Given the rate of technological acceleration coupled with business’ inevitable tendency to move forward with caution, I’d say 5 years. And by that I’m talking about the sense of looking back and the kindred nostalgia generated by the hand-written memo, the literal carbon copy, or the carefully scribbled overhead projection sheet made from acetate and felt pens…
Bit of a jotting pad post really this one. I noticed a Gartner report I’d completely missed (and a few of my peers in the Adoption 2.0 Council had too, I think Gartner are missing a trick here. Of note is this:
By 2010, more than 50 % of large scale companies will be using lifestreams and microblogs internaly.
By 2014, more than 20 % of all business communication is conducted primaly through social media.
Within the next three years, 70 % of all internal social media initiatives run by IT departments will fail.
Of note the last point. Yes, but. If a project is run only by IT then it will not have much of a chance of success. But the but is, it’s a truism that successful Enterprise 2.0 is itself a collaborative entity, it entails teamwork and collaboration between IT, Comms, often Marketing and HR and always in the final analysis, the senior management. Culture is key. Technology is secondary.
Two posts by Dion Hinchcliffe especially caught my eye. He’s been talking about the social intranet and change, introducing the concept of the Social Business Unit (SBU). Drawing on data from Gartner and CMS wire Dion charts the evolutionary forms of the intranet and how these might coalesce and cohere in the formation of the SBU.
And yes, I can see both the evolutionary path and both the formation of the SBU as being integral, integrated, and yet. Can’t quite put my finger on it but it’s different in Europe and more so in the UK. Maybe it’s a different attitude to all things social both as marketing and as production / distribution but I feel the both the road and the journey are different this side of the pond.
Dion also mentions the McAfee and Purdue University report on the dangers of all things 2.0. Except that this one isn’t, well it isn’t about Enterprise 2.0. I’m starting to believe that using the 2.0 suffix for web 2.0 more productive alter ego was a big mistake. There’s such a tendency to conflate the too and use the risks of web 2.0 to tar the endeavours of Enterprise 2.0. No more did this come across than in a recent CMSWire piece that used all the worries of Web 2.0 to sell solutions on Information Rights Management (IRM) / Enterprise Digital Rights Management (EDRM).
But what of the real world? Rightly, Dion points out that none of us in the Adoption 2.0 Council can seen show-stopping issues when it comes to Enterprise 2.0 and security. That’s not to say that they’re not issues, it’s just that they’re different ones. I’ll cover this off in a future post as it’s something I’ve spent quite some time going over with a fine-toothed comb these last 12 months or so.