Tag Archives: Web 2.0

McKinsey: 75% say Integration = E2.0 Success

An interesting report from McKinsey Quarterly How companies are benefiting from Web 2.0: McKinsey Global Survey Results(requires free registration). Enterprise 2.0 benefits most seen in $1Bn + companies and with companies in India and North America claiming the most benefits. Companies that are most networked and showing the most network benefits with time to market, knowledge management and employee satisfaction coming through as top benefits and some claim, increased revenue.

One of the most striking finds in the global survey was the unanimity that 2.0 works best when integrated into the workflow:

See also Bertrand Dupperin’s blog on this report.

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 😉

Why Tags are socially sociable in a social network

The critical mass of a social network’s success is not only the number of regular users, and this goes for inside and outside the firewall, but also the level/frequency of engagement. With more and more users with varying degrees of engagement ranging from hardly ever, casual and perpetual, there are two other deciding and connected factors to through into the quantity / quality conundrum – tags and the profile.

Tagging happens during the engagement – users tag as they blog, comment, make wiki documents, respond to forum questions and answers. It can, especially in the corporate terrain, provide the vital glue for a social network, making a disparate corporate network of disassociated individuals actually network as they discover that Francis,  Olaf and Yoshisma have are taggees in common and share common interests, skills, experience or just plain headaches. Tagging is the social glue of a network.

Problem: not many people tag.

Profiles happen at the start of the engagement. Users join a social network and are asked to supply core registration details. There is an inverse (or should that be perverse) relationship between the number of registration questions asked and the number that don’t bother to complete. Put better – ask too many reg questions and you’ll lose x% of users, at the outset.

The task then becomes a tricky one. Ask as few reg questions as possible and hope, plead, bribe or badger the users to come back later to fill in their profile. And why would one bother?

The answer has to be to gain. To aggrandise or to connect, to display or to aid, to entertain or to annoy; there has to be some sort of payoff in someone completing their profile. In the corporate environment we can of course force people to complete their profiles on pain of whatever, but it still has to be a carrot as much as the stick.

The carrot might be obvious – a prize such as an iPod Touch for example for the best one, but the real carrot has to be the perceived gain in experience, in connecting and being social.

It’s for this reason that I like tag clouds in profiles (and I think it might be fun to load up one here now I’ve been blogging for a while), tags + profiles make the socialising in the social, so much well, social.

Any ideas for carrots on getting profiles filled in, or better still, getting folks to tag, much appreciated! But more than that – how can the gains of profiles + tags be made so immediate, so compelling that everyone just wants to do them?

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.

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. 

Burton report on Enterprise Social Networks

Mike Gotta has produced a very useful Field Research Study for Burton: Social Networking Within the Enterprise (free registration required).  There’s a good exec overview at CIO.com: Report: Enterprises Struggle to Adopt Social Networking Internally. Note however, CIO’s somewhat negative angle there, a closer read shows that there are a number of key hurdles to overcome:

Culture

Winning over old ways of doing things is key – ‘we communicate top down’ is an issue to be turned into an opportunity. Cultural dynamics are central. Conservative practices will win through, unless countered with a winning and workable option. In this HR is pivotal- you need to have HR on side. For IT, the argument is  different – Gotta argues that IT need to see that the needs of the business are what counts, not their systems. As one respondent put it:

“[IT] people are  not thinking about what’s best for the company, but rather what’s best for SharePoint. Ops is a consideration, but at the end of the day, it’s the business that counts.”

Therefore IT need to be won over if effective ESN is to see the light of day.

Business Case and ROI

What was really interesting was the business case and ROI for Enterprise Social Networks. The data shows a lack of clarity on either in the respondent’s minds. What this highlights is the need for the technologies to solve specific solutions rather than being a nice to do exercise. After all, no other project would be rolled out without such. However, and here’s the rub – as Gotta reminds us, there’s no set and agreed way of measuring ROI in this area. These are the dichotomies that make funding more and more difficult to ‘attain (and sustain)’:

•  ROI is the wrong focus vs. ROI is still appropriate.

•  Current approaches for analyzing web systems are sufficient vs. no best practices on what to measure in social  environments.

•  Current  web  usage  analysis  tools  are  “good  enough”  vs.  social  network  analysis  tools  are  needed  (but  not mature).

People in Userland

Early adopters are essential.  Make it easy to use. Pitfalls to avoid are actually trying to mimic Facebook inside the firewall – this confuses people. Instead build communities, bring people together as Profiles, based on their need to collaborate and share expertise.

Plan

Plan + Legals & Governance – do it upfront, or pay later. We know this – why do people forget it?!

Platforms

One thing the Burton Report shows very clearly is that platforms are coming to the fore. Lotus Connections, Microsoft’s SharePoint and Jive Clearspace at the fore.

Conclusion

I think CIO’s conclusion is too negative. We are still at the watershed however and which way the current flows is still undecided.  From what I’m seeing in the UK, there’s a great deal of interest in the Enterprise Social Network, but equally the confusion and suspicion Burton has identified also prevail. There’s also an ascendancy of SharePoint here. Almost whenever social media comes up in any of the major career sites, it’s SharePoint MOSS that’s cited as the platform being used. This may have interesting consequences for the UK. Take for example Thomas Vander Wal’s SharePoint 2007: Gateway Drug to Enterprise Social Tools:

SharePoint has value, but it is not a viable platform to be considered for when thinking of enterprise 2.0. SharePoint only is viable as a cog of a much larger implementation with higher costs.

If this becomes the de facto E 2.o platform in the UK, will the ‘larger implementation’ ever really succeed?

Footnote

This list of benefits is one I personally am going to learn off by heart!

•  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.

Critical Media – freewill and the web

One element of social media that intrigues me is the apparent lack of engagement between Theory minded people and industrial (for want of a better word) social media. I suspect, in fact I strongly suspect that I’m missing a lot of what’s going on here, but when I search on say Baudrillard and Web 2.0 I don’t get the level of response I’d expect. OK, there’s a level of engagement here, but there’s not the richness I’d expect. Maybe it’s a case of those looking at social media through critical theory eyes not knowing how to optimise their pages for Google and the like.

Jamboree of Contemporary Thought

looking for power

A lack of SEO savvy is not something one would expect to see amongst the evidently technical able of the world of blogs and Twitter and so I believe that any absence of using continental philosophers to understand social media and web 2.0 is literally that, an absence. My interest in all this is academic, literally. I took the Critical Theory MA at Nottingham University in the early 1990s, a course which took in Structuralist and Post-Structuralist, Marxist, Feminist, Lacanian, Deconstructionist and classical Critical theorists in a roller-coaster jamboree of contemporary thought.

Postmodern economies

When I moved to tech and the multinational environment it was familiar. Writers such as Jameson, Lash and Urry had described what the latter called “The End of Organized Capital” and it was great to be in this white hot heat of a genuine technological revolution. Mid recession there may be a case for wondering if our postmodern, post-industrial society is a post mortem for a wealth creating, growth based economy but I’ll leave that for another post.

Discovery vs Creation

So back to Theory and what sparked off this post. Over at CenterNetworks, Adrian Chan has written a piece called “A Short Post on Discovery vs. Creation, Relating to Social Media“. This is a remarkable little essay and one that has gotten me thinking a great deal about the relationship between Theory and social media.

Foucault and the Subject

What Adrian posits is the relationship between Michel Foucault’s concept of self(s) and the way we find and act in social media. By self, we’re talking about the ‘Subject’ i.e. that philosophic bête noire of the self and the birth of individual identity. Adrian sees Foucault as having the Self as either revealed, as in religious revelation, or as created as act of will:

the Self that is discovered and known through some kind of religious quest and search. And the Self that is created, invented, through free will, action, choice (and so on). 

If I recall rightly, I’m not so sure Foucault has a sense of self-created in this way. I think he would say that it’s constructed, made from discourse and is highly transient. In a sense, Foucault is trying to unstructure identity from the Structuralist ideas of his peers – we’re part of a changing matrix of discourses, not an order of structures. 

Tagging things and connections

But says Adrian, it’s in terms of such structures that we see social media, or it sees us. It’s like that because the way many approach the web is one based on the notion of a structure of sameness and relationship. This is the model of the dating site and of tagging – this attribute is shared, this connection is made, the structure of things defines our relationship. But as Adrian points out, such a model is profoundly anti-human:

But in each case, we have only a system of things and attributes.

Human relationships aren’t build on similarity or identity of attributes. They’re a result of interaction, of understanding, of the things we do that move us and by which we move one another.

Agency and dialogues

To counter this, Adrian puts forward a model of ‘agency’. We as concious humans act, interact, create stories and converse. We create the dialogue, it does not create us. Or at least in Theory. What I think this leads us to is a chance at change. To act on and to change structures and dialogues of the web, rather than us being defined by them. Or as Adrian defines in superlative form:

Social media may be a means of production. But we are still the production of means.

Footnote
This whole question of the Subject and its apparent death, is one that excites a lot of contemporary thought. For many this death is pretty pessimistic stuff. If we’re entrapped in a web of meanings, where can human agency and action be? For an answer, James Heartfield‘s book “Postmodernism and the ‘Death of the Subject’” is a pretty good counter and a tasty excerpt can be found here. Wikipedia on the Subject

McKinsey's Six of the Best for Web 2.0 Work

mckinseyStraight in after Deloitte, McKinsey enter the fray with a piece ‘Six ways to make Web 2.0 work‘ that I can only describe as ‘awesome’. And I use that word advisedly and often chuckle when my North American pals use it for what we’d describe in London as ‘jolly good’. So why awesome?

Awesome
It’s awesome because it’s so right on the mark and provides practical real politik advice. This is not a ‘how-to’ guide as much as what’s needed to get things working and working well. To see what I mean, just look at the list:

6 of the Best
1. The transformation to a bottom-up culture needs help from the top.
2. The best uses come from users—but they require help to scale.
3. What’s in the workflow is what gets used.
4. Appeal to the participants’ egos and needs—not just their wallets.
5. The right solution comes from the right participants.
6. Balance the top-down and self-management of risk.

No winning formula
This advice is centred on what works – getting it right is not formulaic, it’s about making sure people are happy in their risk, are getting credit and reward even in terms or their egos and that it’s about making sure 2.0 is right in the heart of the relevant workflows.

Controlled Disruption
And I particularly liked their concept of ‘controlled disruption’. Yes total laissez faire can lead to troubles, but there needs to be risk to make success:

Acceptance of Web 2.0 technologies in business is growing. Encouraging participation calls for new approaches that break with the methods used to deploy IT in the past. Company leaders first need to survey their current practices. Once they feel comfortable with some level of controlled disruption, they can begin testing the new participatory tools.

Consultant for hire
If you’re reading this and want to know how to make these technologies a success in the business, please fell free to get in touch – I’m looking for work in this area and can help you make it a success.

Gartner: the CIO and Web 2.0

The beleaguered CIO is being proffered heavy weight advice by the analysts at Gartner. First they weighed in with a Gartner Presents CIO Resolutions for 2009 and now Gartner’s top pundit Mark McDonald has offered his advice to the CIO in an interview with the Wisconsin Technology Network saying that “CIOs may have only four months to show results”:

Now is the time for CIOs to pick one thing that they have to get done fast and get done well and put all of their resources against it.

What’s interesting is where he sees that worth being demonstrated. Budgets in IT he notes will be flat. Large scale type projects therefore, while they can generate revenue or create savings, are currently too costly a risk for the cash-strapped IT dept:

Investments in BI and CRM and ERP were viewed as investments, and fairly significant capital expenditures.

And what this means is that they won’t happen in the foreseeable and certainly not in the next couple of quarters. Asked what will be “left out in the cold” McDonald’s reply was:

Basically, anything new,- but Web 2.0 tools are not among them.

What we are seeing therefore McDonald argues is Web 2.0 achieving mainstream adoption despite the downturn. This will be both as an external marketing tool and as an internal collaboration tool. Neither he says should be put on the back-burner. Notably, it’s the internal collaborational aspect that is now generating the most heat:

Every company, regardless of who they are, is probably going to be looking at using Web 2.0 to improve internal collaboration, but I think there is a significant difference between companies that are effective and have a history of being effective, which is achieving their goals.

This I think is the rub of the interview – social media as collaboration technology is going to take off, not least because it’s relatively cheap to introduce and can quickly achieve demonstrable results. The key aspect I believe though, is whether the company can capitalise on the potential gains here in Europe. McDonald is focusing on the USA and it will be telling to see how the potential adoption takes place in the UK and in Europe. Now, McDonald says is the chance to sieze the opportunity in the USA, let’s hope our European CIOs achieve this too.

Other postings
The interview has had keen reactions most notably Fast Forward Gartner: Web 2.0 Tools Exempt from Economic Cutbacks and at The Content Economy Cutting costs by improving internal collaboration