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

6 types of Social Business Naysayer

The Social Business Naysayer & how to deal with them…

A slightly tongue in cheek post: 6 people types you may meet at work, a motley collection of enterprise social business naysayers…;-)

1) The Antiques Dealer

Common riposte from this social business naysayer: “‘what’s wrong with e-mail?’ thought they tend to forget that when e-mail was introduced they said the same thing about that. Not so much a late adopter as a laggard after the event. Like Hegel’s zeitgeist theycan never ever be wrong, as the always arrive after the party only to complain against the next one.

Winning tactic: Nod in agreement do nothing. Eventually they’ll catch up when there’s something newer to carp about.

2) The New Old Romantic

Commonly heard saying: “It’s just New Media all over again”‘ the New Romantic naysayer is often found in the advertising department. They twitch suspiciously about anything social on the software front and tend to listen to Bryan Ferry.

Winning Tactic: Play on their vanity and ask if they follow David Lynch on Twitter (or if Mr Lynch follows them).

3) Scotty

Frequent lament: ‘It cannae take it any more Capn’.. This person isn’t so much against social media at work, they just think it’s might break what’s already there and more worryingly, overload the heads of the employees. People they argue are already busy enough and don’t need any more stuff to contend with.

Winning tactic: agree with their concerns but point out that people are a lot cleverer than is being given credit and can work out how to manage their time. Also point out that used correctly, social software can save time and reduce the overload.

4) Private Frazer

Banshee cry: “We’re all doomed, doomed DOOMED!” Another dour Scots approach (are all television Scots this pessimistic?) , the Frazers think the worst on all occasions and are convinced that social media inside the firewall will bankrupt the company.

Winning tactic: ply with Irish whiskey and when sufficiently lubricated ask if not using social software might be even more risky and might cost far more in the long run. Point out that a pilot can be very cheap, much cheaper than traditional IT rollouts.

(For my American readers: Private James Frazer)

5) The Commandant

Frequent order: “Resistance is futile”, the Commandant runs a Command and Control culture. The idea of Enterprise 2.0 tools and people actually being able to contribute and engage in dialogue, rather than being told what to do, frightens the living daylights out of them. Communications they believe are 1-way: all else is anarchy.

Winning tactic: don’t argue whatever you do. Ask if they would like to know what people really think (not the stuff they say in the employee surveys) and who the real trouble-makers are and wait til the penny drops. Keep fingers crossed that they don’t decide the biggest trouble-maker is the person who suggested a social business plan in the 1st place.

6) The Janus Face

Common cry: “Social Media is the way forward, it’s the best thing since sliced bread”. Great? No, they say this in public but in private torment themselves with all the other 5 worries. They know they have to be seen to support enterprise 2.0 and a social business strategy and to present a positive face. In truth however they fear and loathe all that it represents and will do everything and anything to secretly block its progress. The archetypal Social Business Naysayer, but in disguise…

Winning tactic: call their bluff, preferably in a public place with decision-making consequences…

Enterprise 2.0 Featured Articles

Social Media Scorecard III

As is well known there’s a great deal of chasing for the holy grail when it comes to finding the ROI and real metrics on enterprise social network activity (by this I mainly refer to social software inside the firewall rather than social media marketing). This to my mind isn’t so much a mistake as an attempt to measure activities that are extremely difficult to pin down, quantify and evaluate in any effective way or manner.

What I think we need to work towards is a more holistic overview, one that uses an approach of a social media scorecard. As I’ve blogged before the inventor of the balanced scorecard Bob Kaplan says it can’t be done with Social Media. I’ve the temerity to disagree.

What I’ve done is take Forrester’s one for IT and reapply it to social media.  I don’t see this as at all finished. It’s a move toward a balanced scorecard for the social enterprise and I reserve all caveats about the usefulness of scorecards per se. Nevertheless, I think I’m onto something here…

Goal Social Media Activities Candidate Social 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 Customer retention / satisfaction, inputs into marketing process, overall cost of marketing $/£ per $/£ sale
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, CSAT. Degree of ‘Knowing what we know’ better.
Raw Competition Social Software as cumulative competitive Advantage Who dares wins & who doesn’t, appears in the next edition of ‘In search of Stupidity‘ 😉
Enterprise 2.0 Featured Articles

Employee Engagement = Social Engagement

Polemic number one for 2010. There can be no employee engagement without social engagement. Or put in other words, internal communications cannot continue to successfully engage employees in a modern organisation over a certain size without  social media inside the firewall.

Why so? The basic element is trust. If there the technology that enables dialogue and conversation inside an enterprise and by that I mean genuine 2 way conversation then there is no trust. And without trust there is no engagement.

Why then is there reticence about using social media inside companies from the very people who might be championing it, the internal communications teams? (& see Melcrum for some interesting data on this). Trust, or lack there of. The instinct is to stay with command and control comms, the need is a shift to a more dialogic or polyphonic conversation (for Polyphony see Bakhtin).

There’s a litmus test here. Ask the internal comms team if their middle management are good communicators & can they be relied upon to be ‘on message’. If there’s trust then these boys and girls can be engaged. There rarely is though and the perennial fear is that the message will go off piste. So what is my answer. If the central message is clear and strong enough and actually translates strategy into something that engages with what most people in the business actually do then it will get through. But is there’s not the means to discuss, debate and actually disagree with the Message, then there’s no real engagement. You may have a well informed and aligned workforce, but not an engaged one.

Enterprise 2.0 Science Theory

Why we don’t click banner ads

OrangutanMore entertaining research on the human brain, this time from University of California at San Diego. According to Roland Piquepaille writing in Emerging Tech Sexy objects stimulate our brain ones brain’s visual areas respond more to ‘valuable objects’. This starts to raise all sorts of intriguing questions as to ‘what is value’. But before we go there, let’s have a little closer reading of the experiment…

What the experimenters actually did was present the equivalent of an online game or banner – clicky the right one and earn 10 cents, click the wrong and zero. Our brains quickly learn which have more value. This learned action (which is retained even when the subject has forgotten it), can be measured with scans.

Top boffin on the project one John Serences expands:

Though it is too early to say how this relates to perception, it raises the intriguing possibility that we see things we value more clearly – much like the way the brain responds to a bright object versus a dimly lit one. It’s as if the visual system is telling you how valuable something has been to you in the past… (source)

So then, at best previous exchange value, at lowest previous reward value, will imprint on the brain. It still starts to raise is whether there’s a notional value retained in the brain, even if what Marx dubs ‘commodity fetishism’ crudely put as the tendency for ‘things’ to aggregate values and meanings purloined from their human creators/exchangers.

And then we have all those gift-exchange theories, if the gift given is a pain if it’s too valuable, does the brain work in reverse when the giver gives too valuable a gift? ‘Oh on the rotten so and so has arrived with too valuable a gift, how will we ever be able to pay back?’ see for e.g. Marcel Mauss (The Gift) and Georges Bataille (The Accursed Share). One must not forget Jean Baudrillard either, hyperreality is maybe hard-wired reality, the crazy exchange of simulacra is just our brains over-heating at so much symbolic exchange, a hyper potlatch maybe.

Let us return from such cyber heights to the mundane. Not only do humans have the abilty to fire off neurons at perceived value so do apes too, well so do orangutans. See for example the BBC’s “Orangutans learn to trade favours” where a certain “calculated reciprocity” can be seen in orangutans:

Researchers from the University of St Andrews found orangutans could learn the value of tokens and trade them, helping each other win bananas.

What’s more the reciprocity meant that if one of the apes didn’t play game then the was a clear expectation that it should – this was a clear win-win game as St Andrews’ Valerie Dufour explains:

So we have a calculation behind the giving. If you don’t give me enough, then I don’t give you either; but if you give me enough, OK, then I buy your co-operation, and I secure it by giving too.

And so to banner ads. For us here working with the internet there has to be a pay-back for an action – we click a link or banner with a perceived value / reward for that action. And as we know from experience after experience that clicking on a banner ad is a waste of time and effort, we don’t click on them. The neurons stop firing, the visual parts of our brain don’t get that turn-on.

This extends beyond banners though. It casts into question SEO itself. If a site is engineered for SEO but with no actual value then SEO starts to have no value. No matter how clever a site is engineered for value by SEO, unless it has value our brains will not get excited. Dupe us a few times and though we might forget, our brains won’t.

Micah at the Learn to Duck site spells this out: SEO is Dead. It’s dead because the cash-cow has been milked dry by spurious value. But what’s more Micah reckons, the same is happening to social media. Social media has become perceived at least, as the next great cash-cow after the demise of SEO. Micah explains that social media had value, but this value is being underminded by its own success:

The content generated by users of social media began to rank highly in search engines, because it was RELEVANT. Because it had VALUE. Because it was TIMELY. Because it was REAL. Suddenly, all the SEO experts also became Social Media Experts, as social media marketing became the hot new thing.

Once the SEO experts moved to social media, the value says Micah collapse, creating:

social networks and user generated content that is full of useless, noisy, crap.

The solution to this is simple – don’t try and trick via clever SEO tricks, or falsely leveraging social media and offering no real value. It may last for a while, but our neurons know better. Content as ever is king. Even a clever monkey orangutan knows that.

UpdateSeth Godin reckons there should be “an unlimited budget for ads that work”. Just a case of defining what works means…

Analysts Enterprise 2.0 Featured Articles

The quiet arrival of the SharePoint killer

It was with some interest that I read The Forrester Wave™: Collaboration Platforms, Q3 2009 after a link was Tweeted out yesterday. I was reading in reverse order from Gartner’s Magic Quadrant, see my Gartner Magic Quadrant; a dark horse closing up the outside fence… My main interest in Forrester’s was to see where Jive were placed. Of late I’ve been doing a lot of hands-on work with Jive and getting to know the platform in a great amount of detail.


On reading the wave report, I was struck by one small arrival – a horse of even darker hue,  that of Cisco WebEx Connect as a collaboration platform. Most people are aware of WebEx as a webinar tool and have not used Connect.  I was at Cisco when WebEx was acquired and in San Jose too and remember all the WebEx signs in the carpark. It all looked a bit puzzling, for me at least, until I found out about Connect. Connect is a superb tool and worth acquiring for that alone. It’s a SharePoint killer.

Here’s why. Connect is 2.0 in a way that SharePoint never will be. It’s modular, making it infinitely extendable and uses accessible open APIs:

  • URL commands
  • XML Request / Response interfaces with well-defined schemas
  • Web Services interfaces that support Web Services Definition Language (WSDL) with access through Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP).
  • Representational State Transfer (REST).

What this means is a rapidly deployable, file-store and  silo-busting collaboration app with the ability to slot in any number of friendly mash-ups. Twitter for Connect/ no problemo, just load it up and slot it in. Facebook, ditto, iPhone easy. What’s more it’s robustly secure, no worries about the firewall with this baby. And of course it’s backed up by a tech behemoth. This is no start-up.

Potentially, this is the Enterprise 2.0 application.

I say potentially as to be frank I was surprised to see it in the Forrester Wave (and it’s not present in Gartner’s). The product is superb but I’ve never seen it pushed out and really marketed for what it is. Go to the WebEx site (and it’s still on the WebEx domain) and Connect is listed but not featured much. It doesn’t scream out what it does. What’s more, I couldn’t find the link where I might connect up with Connect. Puzzling.

Now if you go onto the Jive site you’ll see a lot of publicity about SharePoint connectivity. All good stuff as SharePoint is almost a defacto standard in many corporations. This could change almost overnight. Here’s how and why.

Cisco, Miscrosoft and Google are in a cage fight. That fight I dubbed The Battle of the Cloud a while back. Cisco own the Network, Miscrosoft the Software and Google own the Experience. All of these 3 areas get completely mashed up in the metaphor we currently know as the cloud. And I believe, the stakes are high enough to see severe casualties amongst the 3 big players. (See also Dion Hinchcliffe’s Cloud computing and the return of the platform wars…estimate is for $42 Billion by 2012, I’m taking the argument even further).

Against this backdrop, singular products like Connect, that many don’t even realise exists, provides some wonderfully disruptive possibilities as a disruptive Enterprise 2.0 collaboration tool. Given this, what I’d do if I was sitting in the board at San Jose would be to ramp up the marketing for Connect. And if I really wanted to shake up the whole apple cart, I’d also make it free.

Enterprise 2.0

Social Media: Missing the point, the target and the barn door

Oh yawn not again.  Social media is not just about marketing, the most exciting stuff happens in and across the firewall. Five reasons corporations are failing at social media

So yes culture is key here, but so is an holistic approach that unifies the external marketing with the internal collaboration. How many companies do that? Not many I grant but a handful I guess have realised this is where they need to be.

Analysts Enterprise 2.0 Featured Articles

Creating the Social Media Balanced Scorecard, doing the undoable….

Conducting some research I’ve stumbled across an interesting quote (& this blog is but a jotter of my thoughts) that I suspect might be an old chestnut by now.  It’s new to me though so here goes.  & it comes from Bob Kaplan inventor of the Balanced Scorecard and relates to measuring the ROI of social media. Kaplan’s quote on the ROI of social media is succinct and cuts so quick to the point as to leave little behind:

“you can’t do it.”

I found the quote on who explain that “Measuring Social Media ROI is a pipe dream

Trying to calculate the ROI of social media is the same as trying to calculate the ROI of email or the road you drive to work on. The costs can be approximated but the benefits can’t. Their reach is too broad and too many other factors are at play to even to list them all, let alone attempt to measure profits.

Now this I find interesting and and in equal measure implausible – I don’t believe it.

Now I don’t have much ammo to refute it and I’ve even less expertise. This simply ‘aint my area. And yet it keeps on coming up – there must be a way of making the Social Media Balanced Scorecard.

So where to start? Well where I started to think about this was in 3 broad areas

1) Impact improvement on existing process: time to create, to sell, cost of production etc etc etc

2) Innovation – doing what was not done before, idea Wikis and the like. Making new stuff happen.

3) Business Transformation – when 1 & 2 fuse in completely unexpected ways.

But where to strap the numbers to? Well on this, I first started to think about Balanced Scorecards – hence finding the quote from Kaplan. This is an interesting area and all I have to go on at present is an old report from Forrester from 2004:  The Balanced Scorecard For IT: Value Metrics. Forrester supply a suggested list of scores:

balanced scorecard

They’re keen to stress though that,

When it comes to IT value metrics, there is no silver bullet, no single metric that provides the appropriate answer. However, with strong alignment between business strategy and IT strategy, it is possible to start making the necessary links between IT investments and their business value. We suggest using a number of diverse, financially oriented metrics to capture the breadth of IT value delivered.

This provides for me food for thought though. Can we correlate this to enterprise social media, to enterprise 2.0? Or more pointedly:  is your social media strategy aligned to your business strategy and if so in how much and in what form? And where next with Forrester’s other factors, can they correlate to scoring against the success of enterprise 2.0?

Update, 31st December 2010 – I’ve developed this idea on the making the Social Media Balanced Scorecard to that of creating the social business scorecard, please see my post: The Social Business Scorecard IV, or ROI made easy

Enterprise 2.0

Has Enterprise 2.0 ever gone really badly wrong?

I liked Dion Hinchcliffe’s response to Andrew McAfee ‘s prognosis of revolutionaries in the body politic of the corporation. Dion urges caution arguing that:

Nevertheless there are control issues that can emerge as departmental, project, and organizational barriers intentionally become more porous, information flows increase, and control can be accidentally or intentionally usurped — for better or worse — by whomever is willing to work together and collaborate.
Going beyond the hype: Identifying Enterprise 2.0 best practices

This has got me wondering. Are there any nightmare, absolutely lost control again scenarios of Enterprise 2.0 going seriously wrong? I can think of plenty of social media marketing type ones, plenty of corporate own goals and disasters there. But E 2.0 – what’s the worst it has ever got?

Enterprise 2.0 Featured Articles Intranet

Intranet Bounce Rate

Of late I’ve been spending some time looking at the Intranet Bounce Rate on an enterprise social media project I’m working on for a large multinational. And by Bounce Rate, (rather than Intranet Bounce Rate), I’ll take the definition found on Wikipedia today:

It essentially represents the percentage of initial visitors to a site who “bounce” away to a different site, rather than continue on to other pages within the same site.
The formula used to calculate bounce rate is: Bounce Rate = Total Number of Visits Viewing One Page ÷ Total Number of Visits

The metrics produced by Google Analytics look quite good to me, at least bythe usual  industry standards:

Bounce Rate

As the Wikipedia article cites, this is very good indeed: analytics specialist Avinash Kaushik has stated:
“It is really hard to get a bounce rate under 20%, anything over 35% is cause for concern, 50% (above) is worrying.”

But is this good for an intranet bounce rate, or enterprise social network site? A high bounce rate on a large corporate intranet might mean that users are happiest when they bounce away quickly as they’ve found what they want. Here high Bounce Rate = Good? On an enterprise social network site, well what does intranet bounce rate really mean?

Both Bing and Google offer nothing on this that I could see. Indeed when I search for ‘Intranet Bounce Rate’ on Google, it kindly asks – ‘Did you mean Internet? ‘!!

p.s. One interesting point – Saturdays generate the high spikes.  Why?

p.p.s. Some excellent resources from my old colleague at Derby Uni, Dr Dave Chaffey to mull on. Bounce rates in Web design articles