Traditions, by themselves, are not bad. They become bad when we start misusing them and overusing them – like how we end up having a hundred different calendars and diaries, some of them recycled, around the New Year. And why anyway gift diaries and planners in the days of Evernotes? Or like how we use emails.
I’ll follow the good old tradition of doing a New Year post. It’s a good tradition, as it helps one to look at things that have gone by and attempt to connect the dots.
2011 has been a great year for KineticGlue – a lot of activities, a lot of customers and hence a lot of questions. I found some questions and points recurring in my conversations with customers and decided to summarize them:
It is time to get past the question of whether a social collaboration platform is going to work.
Not many ask this question anymore. This question is very unfashionable. Really. The point is not just about young millenials flooding the workplace. The point is that enterprise collaboration platforms mark the next generation of tools in the lineage of the, now typical, word processing and spreadsheet software. They are meant for making your work easier. They have both direct and indirect impact on organizations’ bottomline.
This is not all new anymore. Enterprise 2.0 has found its payday long ago.
People are not in love with email; they don’t have a choice.
Very surprisingly, I often get to hear ‘email’ as a competitor to us. Of course, no one states so openly. It is just that email seems to be used for anything and everything. Most realize that this ineffective way of working – some move forward and adopt KineticGlue and some stay wondering. After all, habits, especially bad ones, are hard to shake off that easily.
There’s a reason why Atos has banned emails.
Social networks creating flash mobs of frustrated people is an unfounded fear.
As I might have said numerous times, this does not happen at all. People are more vary to do any such thing in an open network, where there’s no place to hide. Not everyone might share your opinion and especially your style of talking about an issue. So it is not going to work. Emails, water coolers, canteen tables and telephones are safer options.
The problem is the answer.
The real question is what such an enterprise collaboration platform will work for. And the answer lies only partially with the capabilities of the platform. A good portion of the answer lies in the problem that you’re trying to solve or the objectives that you want to accomplish. I find that, nearly 90% of the time, people who articulate these objectives well, subscribe to the platform.
The ROI of a business social network is tied to the problem you’re choosing.
This is an overbeaten point. The benefits of an enterprise social network could lie anywhere from better employee engagement to faster sales cycles. All this might sound fluffy, unless you have approached the idea with very specific objectives in mind (our favorite point!). Your problems and objectives are much more real and concrete. And when you have the problems, you will also be able to measure the ROI of an enterprise collaboration platform.
“I am going to start with an informal social network and build more concrete use cases over a period of time” is a bad, bad idea.
An official informal network is an oxymoron. Your employees are not waiting for an informal conversation platform. They would rather have such talk in their personal social networks. They are looking at ways of getting their work faster and better. Help them by choosing work-related issues that can be accomplished faster through a collaboration platform. They will come to like you more!
It is easy to blame the software or your employees, but YOU’re responsible for adoption.
A collaboration software, like any software, only provides the necessary tools. What you build out of these tools is up to you. You might let your employees make sense out of the tool, but then they might use it for purposes, not all of which you might like. Anyway, they are busy. Unless they are motivated enough, they are not going to figure out objectives for the new tool that you have bought. You would have to define them and grow them over time. And like everything else, adoption takes time. Expecting overnight successes is unrealistic.