Enterprise 2.0 Featured Articles

The Social Business paradox

“How wonderful that we have met with a paradox. Now we have some hope of making progress.”
Niels Bohr

Thus spake the Danish Nobel prize winning physicist Niels Bohr. I was reminded of this quote on reading Alex Williams’ post on ReadWriteWeb The Paradox for Jive Software . The paradox he sees here is this, Jive he believes are a solutions orientated company and “Solutions oriented companies build custom configurations.”

As evidence, Williams cites Tim Bertrand over at the Drupal builders Acquia. Jive, Bertrand reckons, are playing a time-old game of building highly customised solutions, that not only cost the client a lot of money themselves, but also cost even more every time a new release is made: “Proprietary Social Business Software and Its Dirty Little Secrets” .

I don’t buy this argument as it goes completely against my own experience with Jive. They have a well developed Professional Services wing, but they’re not exactly keen on producing customisations. For sure, Jive will make customisations if requested but as they publicly stated at a Jive customer event in London last year, they do not see this as their core business. Their business they said was selling software, not to produce bespoke solutions. As this market is worth a potential $100BN a year, there might well be some mileage in this approach.

No even if a quarter of this size, this market is still pretty huge and the question remains on how customers’ needs are going to be met – is it best met with Open Source solutions such as Drupal (or my own personal favourite for small business solutions, WordPress); ‘best of breed’ vendors such as Jive; or the architecture behemoths such as IBM’s Connections or Microsoft Sharepoint?

The answer of course is ‘it depends’ and each of these solutions can and do meet customer needs to great effect. How they do this points to a bigger paradox than the one facing Jive and one that impacts all players. This paradox is this: how do you achieve standardisation and security and still provide agility and customisation?

The answer to this paradox is quite possibly revealed when we look at the pace or Social Layering model of an IT architecture. See Lee Bryant’s Social layering can help bring IT and the business together and my On Pace and Panarchy. To reiterate, this model posits a slower changing and tightly controlled IT foundational architecture – the ‘transaction layer’ and a more quickly changing and less regulated social or ‘interaction layer’.

Such a model points to the way that standardisation and customisation can coexist as happy bedfellows. The foundational transaction layer provides the economy of scale and security needed for the core business operations. The interaction layer supports the winning edge of people driven innovation and collaboration needed for the modern social business.

What strikes me is that this model is one that we can actually see mirrored in some of the vendors mentioned above. SharePoint for example provides the potentially corporation wide architecture, but can happily coexist with a social layer provided by Yammer, Newsgator and the like. Perhaps at the other end of the scale we see this at a micro level with WordPress and its legion of plugins. The most interesting model is seen with Jive however.

Jive sits in the middle – there’s a core product that does the job pretty well indeed, at least according to Gartner and Forrester. It also can connect up to SharePoint and socialise a Microsoft architecture. The really interesting aspect of Jive is coming out in the imminent release of Jive 5.

What Jive 5 promises, is a core product, a standardisation, with the ability to create customisation via bespoke applications, named not surprisingly Jive Apps. Using OpenSocial these adhere to global standards and great flexibility. They can be built in-house, bought from vendors selling them as commercial apps or built by specialist agencies as part of a social business design. I like this approach as it combines stability with agility – it solves at least potentially, the paradox of how to customise without getting locked into the endless ‘vicious’ loop Bertrand speaks about.

Next blog will feature another physicist, Einstein, when I’ll look at how to make things simpler…;-)

Enterprise 2.0 Featured Articles

On Pace and Panarchy

Featured Articles General

Increasing WordPress xml size

Just a quick post on how to increase the size of the WordPress xml file used in a restore. This is done via Tools > Import and the maximum xml size for a WordPress xml restore is around 2MB. So how to increase the maximum WordPress xml file size?

It’s quite easy but took a few goes to get it right – so here’s a cheat sheet to make it easier fo you.

1) Create a text file with your favourite simple text editor – Notepad ++ for the PC and TextWrangler for the Mac are my free favourites. Save it as php.ini

2) Add the following text:

upload_max_filesize = 20M
post_max_size = 10M

3) The 10M refers to to the maximum size you can post – make it bigger if you need to.

3) FTP the php.ini file to the root of your WordPress installation (so it sits alongside wp-config.php).

4) That’s it – the php.ini should have changed the upload WordPress XML size and it should now be increased to 10MB.

5) Here’s the SSH instructions for the php.ini

6) Import WordPress XML file as per normal

Hope it helped!

Enterprise 2.0 Featured Articles

Social Business Predictions for 2011

As it’s that time of year again, I thought it as well to make some Social Business predictions for 2011. What I’m really looking at though are not Social Business predictions as such, but more tech trends and paths rolling forward. But here goes in any event.

1) Mobile devices will increasingly play a part in how the social business operates, particularly at two of its keenest nodal points, corporate and internal comms and secondly, the .com and the intranet. Key drivers are both from the business and consumer worlds – iPhones, the Blackberry and Adriod smartphones; tablets whether Cisco Cius, Blackberry Playbook and an other, a Black Swan of a mobile device that no one has thought of yet but which will be blindingly obvious when it appears. Taken together these will stimulate and drive demand for more social business operations. The reason why being that these tools open up new ways to collaborate and communicate that can only be answered and delivered by more socially organised businesses. They also offer ways to drive productivity and to make life a little more fun.

2) The twin consumer and business drives will reap a perfect storm when it comes to creating a more holistic approach to the  social business. By this I mean the trend to ensure what used to be called ‘joined up thinking’ between here the collaboration, communication and marketing operations of the business. Companies that operate different and non-connected, even competing Social Media / Enterprise 2.0 programmes will notice the disconnect and lack of harmony between them.
There will be an increasing realisation that these activities need to be synchronised. This will create a new concept of the Brand that gets Marketing, IT and HR working together.  (OK that’s a bit far-fetched). I can still see a tech-savvy enabling comms/collaboration team approach emerging and a recognition that a chaotic approach is not going to work for much longer – all the more so for companies that have a fragmented collaboration / intranet base.

3) The traditional concept of the firewall and the intranet/extranet will come under more and more strain as the tendencies outlined above play out. The intranet will become not something that you go to, but that can come to you. Infosec and Digital Security will need to rise to that challenge – they will need to support these events and make them secure.

4) Traditional and more established CMS vendors will bolt on social tools to their offerings. IT will like this, the purchaser  will think it makes sense, the users will think it’s pants however. Never forget the users: bolt-ons rarely convince. How this will develop and pan out will be interesting – will there be competitive disadvantage or will the need get delivered by other mean….such as number 5 on my list?

5) Social Intranet Widgets will start to become interesting. We can see how these might work with Jive Apps Market. Using Open Social these should be able to integrate with other like-wise compatible devices. There’s also possibilities opening up with browser add-ons. I like the look of the Chrome add-on Layers. This aggregates social channels such as Twitter and Facebook into the one browser experience. I can see this working in the enterprise to draw a myriad types of content together.
Now these widget thangs could be independent of a specific social business platform – Jive, SharePoint 2010, Lotus Connections or whatever. The social business might be able to create a social potpourri  of widgets, a sort of drag and drop social intranet.

6) Social Business ROI will come of age. We’ve seen plenty of data coming through from IDC, Accenture, UBM, McKinsey, SocialCast and more. This is something that I’ve been increasingly drawn to over the last two years I’ve been writing this blog and it’s something I plan to focus on more in the new year.

Good luck in 2011 – fare well and prosper.

Case Study Enterprise 2.0 Featured Articles

Accenture show the ROI of Social Business

A very detailed case study from Accenture has caught my eye – it goes into great depth about their enterprise 2.0 project and shows in detail the ROI of social business potential. I won’t go into detail here about it – you can read a great overview at Gautam Ghosh’s blog post “ROI of Enterprise 2.0” and at Accenture “Collaboration 2.0 – A Game-Changing ‘Social Strategy’ That Radically Evolved Our Employee-Client Ecosystem

Hard Data Cost Savings
What struck me was this – they have hard data on reaping cost savings – 20 million minutes of company-standard monthly VoIP audio/video usage; 5,000 annual video conferencing meetings, extensive use of TelePresence. This very much reminded me of a project I formed at Cisco just after the crash where we used Video and web conferencing to save hard cash savings but found it difficult to quantify in a way that could convince the naysayer. Nice to see the technology coming through nearly ten few years after with big numbers.

Employee Satisfaction Up
Next gain Accenture report is employee satisfaction up – Enterprise 2.0 and Internal Communications are the best bed fellows and here’s the facts. Some nice quotes here too:

“I found the expert in 15 minutes versus two days.”

“Microblogging helps me connect to the experts. It doesn’t limit me … …. Everybody’s opinion counts.”

Customer Satisfaction Up
Finally Accenture talks about keeping their clients happy – what better aim can there be for a project?

Enhanced ability to staff global teams with the right skills at the right time during critical junctures in client projects.

Just Touching the Social Business Surface
These are great gains and the project sounds like a really enjoyable one to work on. I still think that it just touches the surface when it comes to both mapping out and achieving the potential of Enterprise 2.0 in creating the real ROI of social business. For an idea of what this might look like, please check out my work on the Social Business Scorecard. Accenture have mapped against basically 3 key areas, what might it look like if a company started that holistic mapping across the enterprise?

Communications Enterprise 2.0 Featured Articles

Will social media kill off the Pulse Survey?

Every year companies run out their Pulse Survey, but is time running out for the Pulse Survey. Could the same sentiment software used for social media analysis mean the death of the Pulse Survey?

Of late I’ve been looking at some sentiment software and how it might be used inside a corporation to gauge employee mood. The idea is that the same techniques used to monitor sentiment across the ‘blogosphere’ and ‘Twitterverse’  could also be used for an internal enterprise social network.

My current thinking on this is that it’s a bit of the proverbial sledgehammer. It would be far more easy to simply monitor it manually, or if needed to set up special focus groups, perhaps as Private or Secret Groups (to use Jive’s nomenclature) and ask people what they think. It might potentially be of use when a network gets to say a 100,000 people, which is the potential of the current project I’m working on, but not particularly cost effective for smaller numbers.

But then. This sort of data is priceless. Companies need to know how engaged or disgruntled their employees are. The traditional way of finding this out it the Pulse Survey. Most of us have experienced these: HR lugs these out on an annual basis and the maligned manager tries to work out who dunnit. They provide an invaluable snapshot of where a company’s most human of resources actually are at.

So could social media (social business) replace the Pulse Survey and become in effect a rolling pulse survey, an actual beat, much more of a pulse than the traditional one? My thinking on this is not. I think the Pulse Survey provides an important benchmark, some empirical figures and at least in theory, a wide spread of employees.

The ongoing social pulse type of survey would we know be particular in its audience and glean information from only those actively participating in the networks. This we know from the Forrester ladder or Altimeter’s reworking of this (well they did make the 1st ladder but obviously don’t own either the rungs or the struts, just those bits in between them), that only a minority of a network’s members actually tap on the keys and write. The rest just ‘point and click’ as a friend of mine dubs anyone who uses a GUI.

This all said though, an annual survey is as it says on the box a one-off per year event. The data needs analysing and of course it’s HR who make and answer the questions. It is by its nature both limited in scope both as temporal and in data. The work-based social network is ongoing, the beat is that of the employees. They determine both the questions and the answers. And thus, so much more richer in information and of sentiment is the organisation that uses and encourages a global social network. And short of spying (shades of the Deutsche Bahn ‘spying’ scandal), what better way is there of seeing what people think than a healthy and honest social network?

In fact I’d go further and argue that a corporation without one, HR and others, doesn’t really know what all its people thinks. Well ok, once a year do they if they run the Pulse Survey – but what far better way is there for senior management to know what people feel than an active and healthy social business network?

Updated from September.

Enterprise 2.0 Featured Articles

An experiment with #socbiz & #e20

I’ve just set up an experimental site called Basically what the site does is aggregate Tweets for hashtag content #socbiz and #e20 plus the normal variants of e2.0, enterprise 2.0 and social business. I’m going to let in run for a while and see what happens. My motives for setting it up can be seen here.

One thing I’ve learned already is just how creaky the SEO is on this site so going to load Yoast up and do some serious tweaking too.

Enterprise 2.0 Featured Articles

Impact of the snow on the Social Business

Earlier in the year I wrote about the impact of disrupted travel caused by Iceland’s volcano and the follow on impact on innovation in the enterprise. With the UK and much of Europe turned into an iceland and air travel freezing to a halt (at least here near Heathrow), with treacherous roads and the wrong snow on the railway tracks, it’s worth revisiting this and looking at how this will impact the drive to create a social business powered economy.
Here’s what I wrote back in clement April as key topics:
  • Enterprise social network and related software – online meetings, video conferencing and TelePresence used to overcome the lack of flights.
  • Work based networks connect up stranded employees -shows importance of software in crisis management
  • Work based networks connect up stranded employees – self help networks formed
  • Up to date info and help/discussion for stranded employees – shows how enterprise social networks overcomes issue of swamped out call centres and ‘your call is important to us’ situations
  • Mustering / accounting for people – networks can account for people (possible geo location additions)

To the snow we might add self help information, say #uksnow which graphically shows where the snow is falling and in what quantity and depth. Plus the miserable communications from the guys who run Heathrow, BAA – pants, guys pants and the potential for Twitter to overcome at least deal a bit better with some of their inadequacies.

But more importantly, I think this cold spell is going to spell out the advantages of being a social business now – the early and fuller adopters will win out here. As McKinsey have shown, those making the most investments and taking the strongest initiatives are showing the highest gains: The rise of the networked enterprise: Web 2.0 finds its payday. These companies are networked up – they don’t need all their teams sitting in the same offices to be productive and those both in and out the office can connect, share, exchange data, ideas, images, video etc etc just as well as they can in the office. For those companies that insist that ‘bums on seats’ means people doing work, my oh my how they will be suffering if their workforce can’t get in.

So in sum, I can see this cold weather stimulating the drive to the social business – it simply makes good business sense, what ever the weather.

Enterprise 2.0 Featured Articles

The Social Business Scorecard IV, or ROI made easy

Ok then, following on from previous posts on social media scorecard and E2.0 ROI, let’s tie them together, add some other factors and prepare the way to churn out some numbers. Here’s a progress towards a social business balanced scorecard:

Goal Social Business Activities Candidate Social Business Metrics
Employee Engagement 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
Innovation 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 Productivity Increased productivity % 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.
Social Engagement 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.
Learning 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).

How to calculate the ROI of E2.0 / Social Business projects
Social Media Balanced Scorecard III
Determining the Value of Social Business ROI: Myths, Facts, and Potentially High Returns
How To Calculate the ROI of Enterprise 2.0
Creating the Social Media Balanced Scorecard, doing the undoable….
The Balanced Scorecard For IT: Value Metrics. Forrester
Measuring Social Media ROI is a pipe dream

Enterprise 2.0 Featured Articles

Hard Boiled Social Business: a zone of engagement

A while ago on Twitter I somewhat bad-temperedly remarked that “This E 2.0 or Social Business debate is about as useful as which end of a boiled egg to crack open 1st”. My reasoning here was that for any of us actually battling as practitioners in the enterprise, a discussion on nomenclature is not exactly high on our priorities. Since then I’ve been reconsidering whether ‘social business’ is a better term to use than ‘Enterprise 2.0’ (or its shortened form as E.20).

So far I’ve reached the conclusion that E.20 still has mileage, but that social business offers a chance to both widen and deepen what we mean by the use of collaboration technologes in the enterprise and more particularly what we hope to achieve by them.

Gia Lyons at Jive recently posted a really useful article on this topic: Social Business Strategists: Social Media vs. Enterprise 2.0. Gia was responding to the Altimeter Group’s The Two Career Paths of the Corporate Social Strategist. Be Proactive or Become ‘Social Media Help Desk’ and the Corporate Social Media Strategist and the role of the Enterprise 2.0 Strategist.

I’m coming to increasingly think that it’s essential that these work in tandem, or that a new over-arching role or team is needed in the enterprise to synch both internal collaboration and communications (E2.0) and social media marketing and PR. This creates an holistic sense of the brand as something that has meaning both inside and outside the company. What this means is in part:

  • Internal Communications as articulating the brand inside the company
  • Saying internally, what the enterprise says externally to customers, media and stakeholders
  • A conversation that engages both customers and employees

Where these activities overlap creates an interface, a new zone of engagement.

I’ve tried to create a diagram of how this might look:

Social Business / E 2.0 zone of engagement
Zone of Engagement

(please don’t steal my image & if you must ‘borrow it’ do provide a clear citation of source and link…)

On the eggs

“…our histories of six thousand moons make no mention of any other regions than the two great empires of Lilliput and Blefuscu. Which two mighty powers have, as I was going to tell you, been engaged in a most obstinate war for six-and-thirty moons past. It began upon the following occasion. It is allowed on all hands, that the primitive way of breaking eggs, before we eat them, was upon the larger end; but his present majesty’s grandfather, while he was a boy, going to eat an egg, and breaking it according to the ancient practice, happened to cut one of his fingers. Whereupon the emperor his father published an edict, commanding all his subjects, upon great penalties, to break the smaller end of their eggs. The people so highly resented this law, that our histories tell us, there have been six rebellions raised on that account; wherein one emperor lost his life, and another his crown. These civil commotions were constantly fomented by the monarchs of Blefuscu; and when they were quelled, the exiles always fled for refuge to that empire. It is computed that eleven thousand persons have at several times suffered death, rather than submit to break their eggs at the smaller end. Many hundred large volumes have been published upon this controversy: but the books of the Big-endians have been long forbidden, and the whole party rendered incapable by law of holding employments. During the course of these troubles, the emperors of Blefusca did frequently expostulate by their ambassadors, accusing us of making a schism in religion, by offending against a fundamental the Blundecral (which is their Alcoran). This, however, is thought to be a mere strain upon the text; for the words are these: ‘that all true believers break their eggs at the convenient end.’
Gulliver’s Travels, Jonathon Swift