One of the issues we best not to forget, is the simple fact that social business benchmarking is by necessity, always done against a fluid and changing backdrop. The benchmark applied against a mature social business community for example, will be different to that applied to a more recently formed one. In addition, the benchmarks themselves, inevitably drawn from the aggregation of industry best-practice in terms of both data and the stories we tell about our communities will themselves change over time. Used correctly, this information when applied back to the social business projects will change them, hopefully for the better, and thus raise the bar on what we all want to achieve.
The 90–9–1 principle does not apply to social business
Equally important is the fact that while social business might be driven by the wider consumer driven social web, these are very different entities. A social network at work is very different in fundamental ways to a universally accessible consumer network. The former is by its nature private and closed, at least to some extent, one has to be an employee to access for example, the numbers are finite and their limits easily seen. For this reason alone, we must abandon the use of the 1% rule for employee based engagement measures – the 90–9–1 principle does not apply to social business.
We can see this more clearly when we look at the application of social business benchmarks that I discussed in a previous post Benchmarking the Social Business. To recap, of our finite possible community, ( i.e. the number of people who can at least in theory log into our social business platform, most often the total people in AD), 90% of these should have logged in at least once. Of these, 50% should be Active Users, having logged in and viewed content in the last 30 days. And further, of these, no less than three quarters should be what Jive call Contributing Users, that is, those generating original content in the previous 30 days. We can easily represent this in a fictional company of 100,000 employees. Some 90K of these should have logged in at least once, half of these, i.e, 45K should be Active and three-quarters of these should, at least by Jive Software’s benchmarks, be Contributing Users. That figure comes out at around a third of all users, some 33,750 employees. Taken as a whole we get this table:
Thus, rather than 1% as creators of original content, we get 33% of all employees generating new content – starting discussion threads, posting blogs, creating documents etc (though not including status updates). This correlates more closely to Pareto than the 1% rule.
Two salient points. Firstly, Active Users includes Contributing ones. This is partly because of the way Jive’s Community Manager Reports works, but it also it makes more sense that way. I will in a future post try and extrapolate this out in more detail.
The second point is more prosaic – even if it’s agreed that 1% of employees actually using these tools for primary generation of content, this is in industry terms still a very high figure. These are the sort of figures we can expect to see in a very mature social business platform, in practice it takes a lot of hard-work and time to get these sorts of results.
Ratios of engagement for Social Business Benchmarking
For this reason, I believe we need a series of benchmarks or different ratios to correlate with the maturity- if a community is a year old and has not enjoyed cross-company C-Level push it ideally needs (and this is not uncommon, particularly in politically tense terrains), we might well have a situation where only a minority have ever logged in and of these only a minority again are generating new content. Thus a freshly released platform we are more likely to see a roll-out pattern, that while more closely relates to the 1% rule, is nonetheless a signal of immaturity and the need for fuller engagement. I will explore this in more detail in future posts.
Increase employee engagement via genuine dialogue and polyphonic communication channels. Overcome Generational Shift. Discussing!
Employee Satisfaction Surveys, Polls, Feedback from Social Media Channels (% Csat), CSAT on Generation – Y + Millenials + Boomers. Timkin’s 5 I’s: Inform, Inspire, Instruct, Involve, Incent.
Using the social platform to collaborate, innovate and share
Core platform metrics, logins & actions: ‘Contributing, Participating and Active’ Users; content posting, number of discussions, blogs, wikis, documents created; documents, images, video uploaded; Groups, Communities & Spaces created. etc.
Increase level of innovation via Innovation Wikis (e.g., Cisco I-Zone), Competitions and ‘wisdom of crowds’ gathering of info activities. Listening!
Number of ideas submitted, number of successful ideas turned into pilots, number of pilots entering the market as new products. Time to market ratios.
% increase, contribution in $/£ per employee
Improve Customer Experience
Increase revenue per customer, increase engagement from the customer, social marketing, brand protection
Customer retention / satisfaction, inputs into marketing process, overall cost of marketing $/£ per $/£ sale. Brand insurance.
Connections, sociality of employees via Enterprise Social Networks, 2.0 profiles, Tagging across the Enterprise, Expert Locators, Silo Busting
Social Network Analytics, (NodeXL), Measure of Relations, Overcoming Geo/Time barriers with synchronous & asynchronous comms / collaboration = decreased travel budget. ratio of flights/meetings vs online engagement.
Social Learning, sharing of information, 2.0 Training, e-learning, EMS.
Cost of training, number of courses taken/passed, diversity of learning offerings, Customer satisfaction/CSAT Degree of ‘Knowing what we know’ better.
Sales & Turnover
Social Software as cumulative competitive Advantage. Increased Sales and Turnover + Productivity
Sales figures, sales generated per employee at employee cost (as above inc productivity).
“Semantic analysis, Big Data techniques and better tracking in general will help us to develop better insight into the who, what, when, where and why of information flow. In other words, how much of the right stuff is getting to the right place in the right context and the right time? Can we depend on it and when? Can we juice the system? Can we game it? How?” Deb Lavoy – see below
Notes and Updates
Added to this framework: core platform usage – this should always have been part. The second is Bruce Timkin’s 5 I’s of employee engagement. The third is information flows. Information flows are something I need to articulate – it’s one of those slow-burner ideas, formulated in part when I was engaged with Critical Theory and Continental Philosophy. Thanks to Deb Lavoy for Timkin and for reminding me on flows. In doing so, this could lead to a need to synergise some of the headings.
Please see Balanced Scorecard search for my ‘working out loud’ on this topic over the last few years. Next phase will bring in ‘Big Data’ and look at closing the loop in terms of employees, customers and partners for the more holistic view of the social business.
I guess I’ve always done this to some extent – this blog can be a bit of a jotter of dropping ideas into as it’s all too easy to get and then forget a good idea, or to simply work away inside a megacorp and one’s work not get seen by the outside, wider world.
For me there’s also a redemptive and liberational aspect to this. I’ve kept this to myself until now, but it’s the concept of ‘working allowed’ and actually saying what one thinks. That is after all what the power of social is all about. We can express ourselves (nothing new there of course), but also share ideas in a global, near synchronous way (or asynchronously and respond many months later), and above all to learn and develop.
Of late, I’ve been crunching some numbers. My aim is simple – how to get a better sense of what adoption figures mean and how we might begin successfully benchmarking the social intranet. The inspiration for the exercise came from a call with Gia Lyons and Claire Flanagan of Jive Software and I’d like to thank them for providing the means to apply some ratios to a social business platform roll out for internal collaboration, i.e. the social intranet.
For my example I’m going to use some of the key adoption metrics generated from Jive’s Community Manager Reports (CMR) tool. These are as follows:
Users who have viewed at least one item in the previous 30 days
Users who have commented, liked, rated/voted, edited, or created content in the previous 30 days.
Users who have created new content (blogs, wikis, threads, video etc) in the previous 30 days
Logged in users
Users who have logged in at least once since site creation
All system users, excluding disabled
Whilst these are how Jive provides core reporting, they could equally well apply to IBM Connections, SharePoint, Blue Kiwi or any other social business platform.
The Social Business Adventure of Five Fictional Companies
To bring this exercise to life, I’ve created some adoption data tables for 5 very different companies.These are fictional entities constructed for this exercise but all are in sectors that I’ve engaged with in social business projects over the last 15-20 years or so , namely, technology, education, finance, media and energy. Given this, I can apply some insight into these companies but I must state that some of the adoption rates are aspirational! The companies are as follows:
American Gasoline (AG): global oil and energy company Royal Bank of Ireland (RBI): an EU bank Silicon Valley Circuits (SVC): a leading tech company. Media Moguls (MM): a successful media company University of Chiswick (UoC): a prestigious UK university
The adoption rates for these companies are as so:
Logged in Users
As a bar chart, this looks like this:
What are we to make of these figures, how well are each doing and how do they benchmark?
Representing Social Business Adoption as a Percentage
The first thing we need to do is turn these figures into percentages. Taking the total users in the system as 100%, we get the following table:
% Logged in Users
% Total Users
Benchmark 1: How many employees are using the site?
This is based based on conversations at the Social Business Council and research conducted there earlier in the year by Susan Scrupski. The basic consensus is that we should aim for getting half of our employees at least viewing material in the site in a 30 day period – Jive’s Active Users.
As we can see here, in only one of my examples, Media Moguls, has this been achieved. This is not uncommon – I comment I hear often from other people working in driving social business adoption is that getting to 50% is very difficult. In some ways it’s a crude but pretty indicative mark – is the site being at least viewed by most the employees?
Benchmark 1: a target 50% of employees viewing content in a 30 day period.
Benchmark 2: How widely is the social business platform rolled out?
This benchmark is a simple and effective measure of how widely the social business platform has been rolled out. You might well get a situation where there’s a very lively and value-creating community but where this is an enclave with the company. Here we’re looking at the total possible universe of users and how many have ever logged in. The total universe is all those who can have access – (most likely the total in Active Directory, as below). Jive’s figure here is that 90% should have logged. When we look at our communities this is how they pan out:
On this benchmark only the Royal Bank or Ireland and Media Moguls are doing well. At American Gasoline, a third of all people in the company have never logged. Clearly there’s some wider internal communications work needed here to expand the community out and to get people using the site.
Benchmark 2: 90% of employees should have logged in to the social business platform
Benchmark 3: How active are communities?
The benchmark I’m going to apply measures how active the communities are. So far we have useful benchmarks on the very big picture but in order to get a clearer comparative overview of the companies, we need to apply some further measures. These will then allow us to start to benchmark their actual performance against each other in terms of the sites themselves.
What we’re trying to find out here is how active the people currently using the community actually are. The way this is calculated is take the total who have ever logged in as 100 and then calculate percentages of Active, Participating and Contributing Users against that. The % Jive think should be active here is 50% or more. This is important to separate out Logged in from Total System users, in that for many companies, the total number of system users are as likely as not being pulled in from Active Directory by an LDAP synch. As we saw above, the system users might not even know the site exists. What we need to know therefore is, of those who have logged in, how does their activity and thus the site, fare?
So how do our communities measure up?
The result is patchy. If 50% is the benchmark figure for Active Users, against those who have ever logged in, then we can see that only Media Moguls and the Royal Bank of Ireland have achieved that figure. Of the rest, the majority of people who have ever logged in have not returned in the last 30 days. And remember, Active users in Jive’s terminology is just those who have viewed something. If we’re looking at those generating new content or commenting on existing content then the figure is even lower.
Benchmark 3: the number of Active Users should be 50% or higher when measured against those who have ever logged in.
Benchmark 4: Is the site more than just somewhere to visit?
The final benchmark left me a bit incredulous at first as I thought it unrepresentative of a lot of the communities I’d seen. It certainly seemed a stretch goal at first. What this benchmark provides is a way of seeing if the site is being used by just a handful of people or whether it’s being used by a lot of people as a potentially useful business tool.
To provide more depth to this benchmark it might well be necessary to flesh it out by looking at what people are doing and whether the site is simply a document store or being used for effective collaboration. Nonetheless this is a useful measure – what we’re after seeing here is how much people many of the users are actually creating new materials rather than just viewing or commenting on existing documents and discussions. In my opinion it’s a very good measure of the health of the community and how embedded its use is in day to day activities by a wide group of people. Certainly, if a community met this benchmark then it would be a strong sign of successful and wide usage.
What this benchmark looks at is the number of people creating new content, Jive’s Contributing Users, against the number of Active Users. For Jive this figure should be 75%. When we look at our communities this is how they fare:
As we can see here, none of the communities meet this mark. Royal Bank of Ireland does best here with nearly two thirds of the community using it to generate new stuff. At the University of Chiswick however, only a tiny proportion of the community are creating new items.
Now it might be argued that a social intranet will follow the pattern of the consumer web with Altimeter’s 90:9:1 rule, showing a small proportion creating genuinely new content and the majority of users simply lurking. The difference here though is that we’re looking at a business tool. If the tool is successfully embedded into day to day business then why are the majority of users not using it to create new materials? Are they not making new stuff (unlikely) or are they making them and collaborating using e-mail? Either way, this is indicative of how people are using the site – is it a business tool or a lurker’s paradise?
Benchmark 4: the number of User creating new content (Contributing Users) should be 75% or higher, against the number of Active Users.
There may well be mileage in producing target ratios against the 90% we expect to have logged in or other such measures. Whilst I’m tempted to start extrapolating out more figures from my fictional companies, especially around and usage, or even providing them with working strategies to address their different challenges, I shall stop here. Maybe for future posts.
Nonetheless I do think they provide a useful way to make sense of Jive’s Community Manager Reports and to measure the success of a social business platform against industry norms. In the future it might be possible to get anonymous feeds from Jive’s CMR of the data that could then feedback into CMR about how a community was doing. In the meantime we have Excel and calculators – (and please let me know if you spot any errors in my arithmetic! ) and at least privately, how your real communities measure up against the ones here. And also, if you have your own benchmarks to share, please do let me know.
For value to be realised in that customer experience, the organisation needs to increasingly become increasingly social, where the aim is to: “Fuse the external company brand with the internal corporate culture to create a consistent customer experience at all touch points.”
As the external and internal brand become unified – creating an holistic customer experience, collaboration across the firewall, uniting the customer community, the internal employee community and the creation of new products becomes central. Transparency and expertise location is key. Both data and people need to be findable. It’s this fusion and connect, between the customer and employee that drives and informs innovation.
To achieve this:
Collaborative tools need to be integrated into day to day business activities.
Innovation needs to be structured and plannned
Leaders need to communicate the big picture (and bridge the middle manager issue)
Social data is central to informing decisions. Analytics can be used to draw together traditional and social; hard and soft information.
Risk needs managing – brand, data leakage, employee behaviour, legal, security, privacy etc need planning, not after thought: “Successful companies identify potential exposures, proactively involve the right experts and develop risk management plans.”
Change management needs to nimble and to use the same social tools it tries to promote, whilst still retaining traditional change management processes. People need to be engaged, the inertia of the middle layer needs to be overcome. Narratives and the big picture are how we know where we are going.
There was a flurry of excitement a couple of weeks ago as the IT gang downloaded SharePoint 2013 (well OK I’m in IT too I grant, but I still think like the Business). There was much merriment as the IT guys exclaimed it was ‘just like Jive’…but ‘even better!’ Well the jury is well and truly out on that one, but while Jive’s response to the 2013 release has been very well publicised, I still wonder what their response will be in terms of product and market.
First blush SP2013 looks a lot better:
It’s also clearly a lot more social in its perspective:
But aspects look very much like the old SP, which is not surprising really as these are core functions after all:
I couldn’t see anything looking like an activity stream however. The closest seemed to be workflows, which aren’t at all the same:
More to follow – apologies for the dodgy layout – put together in a hurry!
I quite like the collection of number comparisons from MIT: Social Business by the Numbers. Some amusing comparisons – such as only 3% of companies are fully networked and yet the potential gains are McKinsey’s $1.3 Trillion. I wonder who are those 3% and just how networked they really are – well OK I know who they probably are and would question how much they really are…
Best stat comparison is between CEOs and CIOs. 48% of CEOs think social media is important or somewhat important to their business, whereas only half of CIOs think the same. This actually begs a lot of questions.
1) What do the other 52% and 76% think?
2) What would the ratio be if social media was replaced by the term social business or Enterprise 2.0 (we still have that naming thing)
The latter article went over some old ground namely, does Facebook actually deliver its bang for bucks or as WPP’s* Sir Martin Sorrell put it:
“..clients, for the very first time, are starting to question the measurement issue” [on social media.] “The area is a very sexy area, and clients have gone in almost willy-nilly, because it’s fashionable to do so,” But now that such ad spending has ramped up, he said finance departments “are increasingly starting to look at the value of those investments.”
Time on this will tell. Which takes me neatly to the Forbes piece. In sum, given the pace of change, it asks if the giants of Google and Facebook be around in five years time, or will they be gone in the sense of MySpace gone?
Anyone who has read In Search of Stupidity knows that this isn’t a stupid question to ask. The Road to Hell is filmed with a Kodak.
But then, what of the Enterprise Social Market? Or put another way, which of them is currently selling the equivalent of dBase? Or perhaps more pertinently, what would a newcomer need to completely disrupt and dominate this market? If we look at the Forbes piece, the argument there is that there have been 3 generations of consumer web tech
Web 1.0 (companies founded from 1994 – 2001, including Netscape, Yahoo! (YHOO), AOL (AOL), Google (GOOG), Amazon (AMZN) and eBay (EBAY)),
Web 2.0 or Social (companies founded from 2002 – 2009, including Facebook (FB), LinkedIn (LNKD), and Groupon(GRPN)),
and now Mobile (from 2010 – present, including Instagram).
And here’s the punch line:
With each succeeding generation in tech, it seems the prior generation can’t quite wrap its head around the subtle changes that the next generation brings.
Thus there’s no ‘Web 3.0’ the web is no more and as example, Instagram simply side-stepped the web and went directly to the mobile app. Now if, and I grant it’s an if, the enterprise social world follows the wake of the consumer ‘web’ does this mean that the next generation of Enterprise 2.0/Social Business vendors should do the same and jump right into mobile and ignore the intranet? My answer is not necessarily, but I think Forbes puts the finger on the salient point, in order to win in these changing markets, new paradigms need to be invented, not old ones re-made. But while consumerland tech might be a fresh new ‘greenfield’ in which fortunes are to be made for those who reinvent it, is this the same for it’s industrial buddy, that of E2.0?
To my mind the market is still wide open, but the starting stakes are much much higher. There are no E2.0 Instagrams, though there’s plenty of wannabees. Jive Software, the leaders at least in terms of waves and magic quadrants has an IPO that is far more modest than those mouth watering offerings of Consumer. To sell in the industrial market takes clout, real clout not spelled with a K. The old caveat about no one ever losing their job for buying IBM still holds in social business – IBM’s Connections works and they have massive industrial back-up to support it.
And yet and yet, the market is still wide open. It’s wide open to those who can simultaneously re-invent the paradigm ‘E2.0’, support it, their customers (and at an industrial level) and themselves and their employees. No easy task and I’ve no idea what sums are needed here, logistically or financially. Added to that the innate conservatism of many businesses (the cause of many a downfall in itself) – the traditional intranet and Internet Explorer are not going to be replaced that quickly for example.
Or will they? Maybe the paradigm shift we’re going to see in how we work is the end of the Office, it’s structures, nineteenth century politics and its desks. Those lines of desks – in Victorian rows or postmodern chaos, are still an old paradigm.
Or maybe something very different, the black swan. My gut feels is tech around flows, streams and activities that are sticky to both the activities and where a person is. So Mobile yes, most likely, but mobile in the sense of mobile devices, mobile work flows and mobile people. What this means are flows of activities that move with the worker. Streams that can be stuck onto specific activities and that move when the work, people or flows change.
Flows, streams, exchange – liquid collaboration.
‘sticky streams’. You heard it here 1st.
* Disclaimer – I’m contracting at one of their companies, all thoughts my own.
Of late I’ve been spending far too much time than is healthy in some of the nitty gritty issues of a tactical deep dive with no less than 5 separate Jive Software installs and how they all connect with Active Directory, LDAP, synchronisation, permission structures, and the like. Added to this are topical projections on how to bridge them, create walled gardens, secure shared extranets and to connect to SharePoint, 2007 and 2010. And running along side this are mobile devices – iPhone, Blackberries, iPads and the like, integrating Outlook into the social layer and with these mobile gadgets, and synching it all with the Office suite.
Coming back up for air some thoughts come to mind.
1) The social intranet isn’t so much a social intranet, it’s an intranet that’s social. By this I mean the each of the data structures connecting to each other represent a sociality of things to which people engage at certain points.
2) An enterprise social network is aint nothing but a database with a nice GUI on top, with which people engage – they they engage with each other via the sociality of the things – Jive, AD, Outlook etc.
3) The mobile devices both fragment and unify the system
4) Microsoft holds it all together in the form of Active Directory (and that’s a lot of enterprises)
5) Rick is inherent and the only way of dealing with this is a flexible yet resolute approach
6) We live in interesting times…
All told though – what we’re creating, using, evolving and evolving with is a fluid layered and yet structured aggregation. And of course what I’m describing here is a mere technical layer, a schemata. What’s really interesting is not how this connects together, nor even how people connect together and with it. What’s really important is what they produce because of it, the physical, practical outputs it enables and engenders.
And what’s fun is this, we don’t know what that outcome might finally be…
I keep on seeing e-mails, they’re nearly always e-mails though one was a DM on a central Jive site, for a ‘space’. We need a space, can we have a space, we need some where…In all of these instances the desire is for a geography, a terrain, a sense of place. ‘My team needs somewhere to live’, they seem to say, can you make us a clearing in which we can build a site?
It reminds me somewhat of a vague memory of Martin Heidegger’s clearing in the forest where the density without needs an opening and thus an abundance of light. I think Heidegger may have been harping on about meaning. But then there was also the paths in the forest. Perhaps we call these streams, streams of activities.
And it’s these activities that are more important. Rarely do I see requests for an activity, ‘we want some activities’, ‘we want some action’, ‘we want to act’. These of course are the most important.
At the top of one of the 5 Jive sites I’m working on at the moment someone, the community manager no doubt though I haven’t checked who, has posted an announcement. This says simply: ‘This is not a document store’. This encapsulates entirely what is changing here.
There’s a shift, tectonic maybe, from working with a store of documents, to people engaging together with each other and these documents. Most people when they encounter these new forms don’t realise this, they want spaces, and sub spaces and even more subspaces. They then get so lost in the resultant labyrinth that no one bothers to find them, there is no activity.
If on the other hand, the focus is on the activity and not on the store, this simply does not happen. The need therefore is to start not with structure, architecture and taxonomy but with a structural folksonomy created by users’ actions. This of course marks the end of what to now has been known as the intranet.