Enterprise social software adoption …

Dennis McDonald lays out some of the points he’s picked for his consulting in the social software space:

Importance of “viral” promotion (i.e., no drumbeating from top executives — let the users progress on their own).

Importance of making infrastructure available throughout the organization as a standard set of tools.

Ability of social media to make up for some of the natural limitations of large meetings (e.g., less outspoken people tend to do less well in open meeting settings and may not have the same disincentives to participate when using social media).

Natural emergence of experts.

Recognition that knowledge management and knowledge sharing are critical to innovation.

Recognition that creative people are what differentiates one company from another given the comparability of physical and financial assets among competitors.

Need to occasionally prune and archive inactive material in order to to keep things “fresh.”

I like his take so much, especially when he touches on this big overlap between innovation and social software – that’s my line of thinking and my inspiration (see BMID and frogpond).

Web 2.0 changing decision making processes within organizations

More on Chambers keynote by the people of Avenue A | Razorfish, pointing out his argument that decision making processes (at least at Cisco …) were changed and accelerated:

And when talking about web 2.0 [Chambers] specifically drew attention to social networking as changing decision making processes within organizations.
[…] Chambers emphasized that social networks are changing businesses making them less hierarchical and more network oriented.

Well, yes, strengthening (and leveraging) social networks via social software may facilitate this, decision making can be accelerated (and be more distributed, democratized, deconstructed, diversified, …).

In fact, the main change effect is not acceleration (but the change effects in brackets …).

Alas, be warned, your results may vary, social networking in the enterprise is not “easy”. One reason is that this is not a technology problem (with some kind of tech answer), but a people problem. Supplementing organizational hierarchies and “command and control” decision structures with free-form collaboration and teamwork approaches needs some serious thinking before “kicking-off these projects”, taking into account that this calls for broad implementation approaches, lead and energized by skillful managers, and more …

Then (and only when …) we employ freeform social software and enterprise 2.0 concepts we can ease implementation, like when we leverage bottom-up mechanisms that are already in place, and allow for the emergence of usage and networking patterns that reflect and support the actual informal networks that exist in the organization anyway.

Social software may enter the corporate world quite naturally in the end …

The future is Web 2.0 is collaboration …

… says John Chambers, CEO of Intel calling for businesses to increase knowledge worker productivity by implementing Web 2.0 social software but also by fostering mashups and virtual conferencing.

Here’s a video clip of Chambers Network + Interop keynote. It’s nicely edited and a convincing speech (“preaching the gospel”), so worth a look.

Yet one has to be aware that Chambers is betting on virtual conferencing and presence and aims to attract corporate interest onto Ciscos (WebEx-powered) collaboration approach. Keep that in mind when watching the video and when pondering the future of virtual networked collaboration …

For my part I am reserved whether video is really the killer application among the collaboration tools. Requiring synchronous presence of distributed collaborators is both costly and unnecessary most of the time (think more meetings …) whereas tools for virtual distributed collaboration like wikis are a low-cost approach that can be tailored to the actual needs (think more flexibility and serendipity …).

Interested in implementation of social software for collaboration? To learn more about my hands-on consulting approach contact me …

Social Software works better in the enterprise

Via 7daysandmore: Ann All in The Visible Enterprise:

Web 2.0 technologies will work better in the enterprise than they do in the world-at-large

Yes, many of the adoption issues we see root in misunderstanding and underestimating the fit between social software concepts and corporate collaboration needs. This is especially clear when looking at user groups: In a corporate setting we know who uses our systems, who contributes to the knowledge base etc. A lot of fear thus rests on wrong assumptions, like when we suspect that users may vandalize our wikis, push rumours, etc. … after all, they are not only sers, they are our employees.

Ann also notes that

Social networks make the most sense when folks share common goals and objectives, want to compare notes on topics of mutual interest, and maybe do a little networking — as in, say, a workplace. The incentive would be especially strong if folks had coworkers scattered about the globe.

Yes, she’s right, virtual knowledge work processes would benefit significantly. Moreover, as social software allows these processes to be as ad-hoc, connected and adaptive as needed, efficiency gains will follow suit when people can be more effective at their jobs.

So installing and leveraging web 2.0 infrastructure (and that means much more than a disparate wiki here and blog there) is basically good business sense.