Communications Featured Articles

PushmePullYou Comms

And following on from my post on Google’s potential internal comms engine, the question here is push and pull. Users, those consuming information want to have information pushed at them (broadcast) and pulled by them, (selected and chosen).  Those sending information want to broadcast, to propagate their ideas, to propagandise.

The broadcaster wants to know that their message has been delivered, even if to deaf ears. A broadcaster can be happy knowing that the leaflet is disappearing into 10,000 recycling bins. It’s the shout mentality. Send more, speak louder, make more hullaballoo and some will get through.

Of course the problem inside the corporation is that we have a captive audience. That audience doesn’t want to be deluged. They want to be kept informed and to choose. They want this as easliy as possible. They want PushmePullYouComms.

Over-egg a Desktop Notification system, send too many e-mails, even fire up too many RSS feeds and the audience is lost.

So how to achieve the mix, how to create a PushMePullYou Comms structure? Two things are needed I believe. One is an effective internal comms system with a central point of truth that is able to stay independent of PR and HR (both will sway the message). The second is social media. Only if the comms ecosystem can be filtered through a social medium will the balance be made.

Enterprise 2.0 Featured Articles

The sweet data of Enterprise 2.0 success?

I for one, have thoroughly enjoyed the argy bargy over why Enterprise 2.0 projects fail and whether it’s a crock or not, plus the risks of not doing anything at all. What’s absent from all this is that interminable and incorrigible bogeyman, Mr. Hard Data, who cries. “Show me the money, or lack thereof.”

The debate is about analysis and perception, but what if (as some actually has done) someone says well actually yes, I’d like to see the money, or at least some real hard data. Anecdotes are not enough and while there might be shrill cries if the whole thang were turned off “may be valid, but a bit cute and begs question of against what.”

So let’s step back and look at what we might be aiming for. Here’s Mike Gotta on the imperatives:

•  We need to connect people globally.

•  We need to address generational shifts.

•  We need to break down barriers.

•  We need to “know what we know.”

•  We need to collaborate better.

•  We need to innovate from the bottom up.

•  We need to learn differently.

How can we apply hard data to any of these? Can we apply indices or benchmarks on collaboration and innovation such as the sociality of the networks and new widgets leaving the factory gates as a result. Maybe, but where are the numbers, and real numbers at that, not internal anecdotal ones?

Now I recall on a previous project discussing the absence of decent metrics for a wide range of comms tools in an organisation that ranged from none to completely pukka to hideously complex. The task of getting anything meaningful from the morass seemed a complete conundrum.

I discussed this with someone who had no insight into the specifics of online comms tools but a great deal to say on marketing comms and metrics. Her point was simple in the absence of decent metrics or data, don’t give up or try to boil the ocean, but start from somewhere, even if it doesn’t even begin to really address the issues.

With that aim in mind I’m going to start to throw some ideas into the pan in my next blogs on Enterprise 2.0 success factors and metrics.

Enterprise 2.0 Featured Articles

Enterprise Social Network Rollout – notes

Some notes and bullet points on how to continue the enterprise social network rollout after a successful viral launch (5000+ users). Best practice from recent case studies and white papers.

Comms & Marketing

•Viral launch

•Work with local champions

•Executive buy-in: high profile blog?

•Inspire with examples

•Use available communications channels: Print, Online and Plasma

•Create a ‘buzz’

•Support with intro packs and informal training sessions

Profile Campaigns

•Profile Campaign – sell benefits of users filling in the profile

•Connect up users

•Success stories

•Feature top profiles

•Competition – iPod Touch for best profile?

Help and How To’s

•Promote as ‘walk up & use”

•Plus support with ‘How To’ step-by-step guides

•Brown bag sessions

•Help key execs to get them onboard (help to overcome exec-shyness)

•Self-support teams

Summary of recent white papers and e2.0 blogs:


•Integrate with events and business process

•Key stakeholder involvement

•Digital native and champions

•Hands-on sessions for training

•Walk up and use

•Keep it simple

•Create a buzz

•Culture is key

•Respond to needs & egos

•Take risks

Combine to plan enterprise social network rollout / strategy / aims. Keep is SMART.

Enterprise 2.0 Featured Articles

McKinsey Quarterly: Is Biz best @ E2.0?

Just been rereading the McKinsey Quarterley from July: Building the Web 2.0 Enterprise Global Survey. There’s quite a striking finding in the survey data that I missed first time round. McKinsey look at How Companies bring in 2.0 and then, and here’s the twist, the level of satisfaction of what’s been adopted.

What it shows is that most 2.0 is brought in by IT, and that has the lowest level of satisfaction amongst the user base.  but every time the Business identifies new technologies, the satisfaction is higher.

Why is that I wonder? Is it the actual technologies themselves, the way they’re adopted, the way they approach business issues, challenges or opportunities? Or maybe all of these plus others…

Be interesting to cross reference this against specific patterns of deployment and of course on the technologies themselves. I wonder where SharePoint would figure as a social media tool compared to the more overtly social tools. especially as bearing in mind the fact that the survey puts Knowledge Management as the number 1 use of social networks in the enterprise.

And perhaps one of the most suprising and refreshing findings was the way that an increasing number are seeing the transformative potential of enterprise social networks:

“As web 2.0 gains traction, it could transform the ways companies organize and manage themselves, leading to what some have dubbed Enterprise 2.0.”

This, say the most positive proponents surveyed by McKinsey is leading to a distince competitive advantage and degrees of departmental and possible business transformation. Of note, the most positive here are once again those in business rather than IT managed roll-outs.

And regardless of satisfied or not, all companies said they were going to spend more on 2.0 tools. This, at The Parallax View,  is welcome news 😉

Enterprise 2.0 Featured Articles

Updated: Social Media Inside the Firewall Roll-out Best Practice

I’m putting some  materials together on “Social Media Inside the Firewall Roll-out Best Practice.”  This is part of my new role where I’m consulting/managing a Jive Software based pilot at a big energy company.

I’ve been compiling my notes and gleaning some online research. These are my fave bookmarks so far:

Best Enterprise 2.0 Launch Ever? Penn State’s ThoughtFarmer Roll-out

Eight Competencies to Socializing Your Organization

New study: Deep brand engagement correlates with financial performance

A checkpoint on Web 2.0 in the enterprise

Ten top issues in adopting enterprise social computing

Enterprise 2.0: Social Software on Intranets

Social Media Handbook for Local Red Cross Units

A Wiki of Social Media Marketing Examples

Intel’s Enterprise Social Computing Strategy Revealed

Six Steps to Company Wide Adoption (Social Text)

Six Steps to Successful Enterprise Collaboration Implementation (Open Text pdf)


Social Media: Embracing the Opportunities, averting the risks (Russell Herder & Ethos Business Law)

Sun Microsystems encourages employees to blog

Social software in a corporate context – BT

Using social media to save time

The CIA wiki project for capturing collective knowledge

Web 2.0-savvy teachers testing old assumptions

Yakabod offers enterprise 2.0 adoption best practices

Hope you find them as useful as I did. Thanks to those who helped with suggestions here. Any more always appreciated.

I’ll do a post on the actual best practice notes in early September…Darwin willing.

Enterprise 2.0 Featured Articles

Social Media Rollout: train or not to train?

For quite some time I’ve thought that having to train people to use social media inside a firewall is an admission of failure, in the sense that if training is needed, then the solution is too complicated. As I start to compile a preso on best practice enterprise social network roll-out, I’m starting to wonder more and more about this.

Full-blown training is I think not what’s needed. But as in so many familiar processes, there’s a lot unsaid that only gets articulated when a complete novice asks the show-stopping question of ‘why x rather than z?’ There’s more at stake than a joint learning exercise though. Lack of social media literacy amongst workers is for Dion Hinchcliffe No 1 uptake  issue.  Pointing to basics most of us take for granted, like netiquette, Dion also notes that old lags are going to be much more at home with social media than those who rarely or never use it.

Even the basics of netiquette as well as key techniques to get the most from social computing platforms such as encouraging the building of links between data, tagging information, or establishing weak ties over the network are often poorly understood even by frequent users of social computing tools. In short, social computing requires some literacy efforts in most organizations to achieve effectiveness, just like personal computing skills did a few decades ago.

Ten top issues in adopting enterprise social computing

Now if we add to this 2 salient facts then the picture becomes volatile. All the studies I’ve read tend to recommend that one ought to:

1) Get enthusiastic involved

2) Get leaders involved – (stakeholder support)

But, and here’s the but, we know that getting execs involved is difficult. Dion again:

Despite even the earliest Enterprise 2.0 case studies confirming that social tool adoption is greatly improved by an organization’s top personnel leading by example, these are often the folks that have the least time to participate and little practical experience in doing so.

Quite often in my experience there’s a willingness to engage with the technology, but I sense a distinct lack of comfort.  What I think is happening here is a fear of the new of feeling that they ‘ought’ to know this new fangled trendy 2.0 stuff but a nervous knowledge that they don’t. Add to this the presence of eager enthusiasts and the problem increases.

It’s essential for a successful Social Media Rollout I believe, to provide handy cheat-sheets, informal training and at times 1-1 sessions with key execs if you want to get them on board. The execs have potentially a great deal to offer in both their expertise and setting the lead, but may not come on board unless they feel comfortable. Even if it all looks easy to the digital native, it might not to someone who is unfamiliar with the online world.

Enterprise 2.0 Featured Articles

Going to work on an Elgg

About two thirds through a complex social media project using Elgg. The aim of the project is to build a complete social network for some clients in West London. The project originally started off as a Drupal based one but we (West London Web Design) changed course when we realised the following:

1) Using Drupal would have meant a highly bespoke system that would have tied the client into that system

2) Almost all the functionality we were trying to create already existed in Elgg

3) Time – building in Elgg would be quicker and easier, and hence cheaper

Overall the experience has been fruitful but not without headaches. The key obstacle is the intensely entrenched way that Elgg cascades hierarchy in its CSS, via a quite arcane structure. The problem here was working out that what looked extremely complex was in fact reasonable simple once the flow of the CSS cascade was clear. Once that was done it became a lot more easy to manipulate the PHP and numerous div tags that define the layout.

Too early to talk in any detail about the project substance as it’s under an NDA. But very pleased with the functionality as it provides a wide range of rich features:

1) Site wide messaging via a Facebook style wall

2) Nifty integration with Twitter

3) Customised profiles

4) Tagging – the glue that coheres an social network

5) Photo albums – a very important feature and one which stopped us using WordPress Multi User (WPMU) with Buddy Press

6) Groups with the ability for users to create discussion forums and their own albums

7) Various news and ad embeds – both critical for this project

Overall pretty pleased with Elgg. It may lack the user-base of WordPress, but it’s a very well supported platform. Watch this space for the final release

n.b., special thanks to @veruus for some very welcome tech support at the start of this project.

Enterprise 2.0 Featured Articles Intranet

Islands of Enterprise Social Media

Last night I dreamed I went to Megacorp again, and as dreams are, this one combined such experiences with work I’ve been doing of late on open source wares and of being in a J G Ballard novel (my nearish neighbour sadly having passing away last week).

The dream was of a company as so. Imagine if you will a global panoply of very well-known brands of FMCG, forming a multi-billion dollar business with healthy profits; a sophisticated distribution network to consumers and wholesalers and other purveyors of the products; multiple business units producing their own independent goods and branding and the whole matrix working together to bring joy to households across the globe; but ultimately disunited by an intranet that beggars belief.

Some more details are as follows. The employees (and especially the Exec Admins of the more senior peeps) spend an inordinate amount of time ringing ‘offworld’ to get basic connectivity back, IT having out-sourced this aspect some years back. The employees do however have Smartphones, either Blackberries or such and these they like. Some use of social media by marketing but little or none inside the firewall.

How on earth might one introduce such an entity to the benefits of enterprise social media?

My thoughts are on something ad hoc. Pulling up the intranet and starting again, whilst a nice thing to do would be out of scope, remit and even possibility.

So an ad hoc enterprise social network (ESN) of nodal social media would have to be the only route. Dropping boxes into the network, no matter how robust or sophisticated wouldn’t work as the network would let them down. They would have to connect into an ESN  in the cloud of disaggregated social functionalities. Tagging and such meta data would pull them together.

Which software might do it? A series of Nings, but how to connect? Has to be mobile friendly, very mobile friendly. One of the social vendors doing a SAAS maybe, but would that apply a false unity on their flattened and distributed matrices? Perhaps nodes of open source social media would be fun. One here one there. Islands of socially mediated brands connecting via their own media.

Time to sketch how this might all fit together…any suggestions / ideas /inputs most welcome!

[n.b. I awoke early after 2 days of feeling very unwell and more sleep than is healthy, to the welcome of a bright London morning and drinking freshly ground Blue Mountain coffee as supplied by the most excellent Has Bean coffee co. – brilliant start to the day! Promo over – just a happy punter btw]

Enterprise 2.0 Featured Articles Intranet

Some thoughts on Enterprise 2.0 ROI

Some interesting posts over what for us in the UK was an Easter Bank Holiday weekend, on E2.0, its progress and and its ROI. The discussions all centred the long roasted meme of when, when and what for Enterprise 2.0 will truly come kicking and screaming into the business world.

Trough of 2.0?

For example, Hutch Carpenter reckons we’re quite likely in the Gartnerian Trough of Disillusionment where the purported gains of 2.0 seem a far off promised land and any real gains, mere milk and honey of the mind.  Nonetheless:

What gives me comfort is that the Hype Cycle provides a fairly well-known model for how technology ultimately becomes core to the way businesses do work. So let the analysis show that Enterprise 2.0 cannot, in fact, solve every problem that companies have.

ROI of 2.0?

Dion Hinchcliffe asks the question of how do we determine the Enterprise 2.0 ROI and starts of by citing Andrew McAfee’s piece from a couple of years or so back, The Case Against the Business Case. Here Andrew points to the intangible nature of the gains and points to a “costs required to acquire capabilities” model as being far more preferable.

Dion is keen to stress that he does see actual gains, but asks if Enterprise 2.0 truly strategic in the unique way that information technology can so often be? Pointing out that  a third of companies (globally?) are already using 2.0 tools in one shape or another, Dion argues that they will see gains, but that:

Innovation often comes from where you least expect it and harnessing collective intelligence, the core principle of Web 2.0 as well as Enterprise 2.0, is the very art of eliciting value from emergent systems such as the Web and our intranets.


One aspect I think is interesting in all of this (amongst so many interesting ones), is this question of ROI itself – the why are we doing it? It’s similar in some ways to the discussion sparked off by my LinkedIn poll on ‘what’s the single most important aim of internal communications?‘. One could phrase this as are we there to just do some good, or to prevent a bad from happening, or can internal communications all be seen in the sense of the bottom line, the drive for profit?

Kicking butts

Indeed, for companies  Motorola are all too clear on why they’re using social media:

“I don’t beat Nokia or Cisco or Siemens by having better buildings or shinier cafeterias. Companies are human beings solving problems or responding to crises by working with each other. If you can make your company less of a top-down company at a higher speed than your competition, you have just kicked their butts.”

Motorola VP Toby Redshaw.

Thinking inside a box

Profit is (for once literally) the bottom line yet for a business in contemporary capital it cannot be a single strive for it.  It has to be  a combination of elements.   I tried to combine how these might function together for internal comms as so:

I wonder if it’s worthwhile to start to frame E 2.0 into the wider cultural frame. If we’re talking of Enterprise 2.0 ROI then the pattern might shift and the business element play a more pivotal role – perhaps Engagement comes Innovation – I’m not sure and need to mull on this more. What I don’t think we can avoid is the question of the Enterprise 2.0 ROI.

Post script on Red Herrings

I hope you like my Photoshop of some red herrings – I was going to call this post “2.0: ROI, the red herring that has yet to be caught!”  Maybe I’ll return to that, as I originally tried to cover far too much for a bear of little brains to write in one post.  There’s some snippets on the cutting room floor I will return to, esp about the’ Q of impossibility of cultural change’.

Case Study Enterprise 2.0

Motorola and TransUnion Social Media Case Studies added

2 new case studies added to the Case Study Hot List:

TransUnion – SocialText using SocialText as Wiki and IM in an environment with SharePoint. Best aspect – question asking to groups. Claimed total savings of $5-8M. Hard data on this would be v useful – savings can be slippery – real earnings or benefits are far harder to show…

Motorola’s Intranet 2.0 IT success “70,000 people using it every day, including partners. The company now has 4,400 blogs and 4,200 wiki pages and uses, among other technologies, social bookmarking and tagging by Scuttle and social networking by Visible Path.” 

“I don’t beat Nokia or Cisco or Siemens by having better buildings or shinier cafeterias. Companies are human beings solving problems or responding to crises by working with each other. If you can make your company less of a top-down company at a higher speed than your competition, you have just kicked their butts.” 

Motorola VP Toby Redshaw.