Overcoming Enterprise 2.0 Hurdles with Social Interaction Design

Nice, there’s not only Thomas Vander Wal‘s slides but now also a video of his webinar for Thoughtfarmer at their blog. Click through to have a view. I like it that he’s starting off with some dirty little intranet secrets (and yes, I know that’s no coincidence) – but I even more like the usefulness and cohesion of his model-driven talk and perspective. And it’s getting even better when he’s delving into the psychological aspects of collaboration (ie. the social comfort zones we enjoy to be in and dread to move out of) and the usability aspects of interaction and collaboration. These get neglected too often and with foreseeable results

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Social Networking on Intranets

Ready or Not, Here Comes Enterprise 2.0

As people embrace social media in their private lives, they naturally expect to use similar tools within the enterprise. This is especially true for younger workers who use these tools in everyday life. Open communication, collaboration, and content generation are as much a part of their standard toolkit as using a computer or mobile phone. So, how should companies deal with the increasing expectation that Web 2.0 will drive Enterprise 2.0?

* Taking the slow road means that companies will risk losing workers who expect innovation in the outside world to reflect directly on how they communicate at work.
* Going for quick adoption means that companies must find ways to overcome the risks to corporate culture that adopting these tools can entail.

via Social Networking on Intranets @ Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox

Jakob Nielsen on the adoption of Enterprise 2.0 – yes, things take time and 3-5 years is a sensible timeline for anything related to changing organizations.

In light of my mischiefous take on the tools landscape, I must concede that realistically it’s more like this:

It’s Not Just About Tools, But Tools Do Matter

[...] in truth, social software isn’t really about the tools. It’s about what the tools let users do and the business problems the tools address.

This is what we call the emergence of use, ie. grass-roots and self-organized and self-selected usage of social web instruments – and it’s helping adoption … so let users participate in actual “software usage and selection”

Posted via web from frogpond’s posterous

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Design Thinking und Social Software im Unternehmen

René Seifert vom eLab-Blog hat ein paar Eindrücke von den Workshops der Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco gebloggt, u.a. zum “Design von Social Software” mit Christina Wodtke.

Mit gewissen Anleihen aus der klassischen Architektur wie man Räume beschreibt, entwickelte Wodtke dann die Prinpien für die Erzeugung von “Social Spaces” im Internet, die auf den drei Säulen Identität, Beziehungen und Aktivität ruhen.

Identität, Beziehungen und Aktivität – erinnert mich daran, dass im Idealfall auch ein Intranet ein Ort sein kann an dem eine vielfältige und lebendige Community zusammenkommt, um gemeinsam zu lernen, neues zu schaffen etc. Und Design Thinking kann dazu beitragen daraus eine “powerful engine of innovation” zu machen, wenn, ja wenn Designprinzipien beachtet werden:

1) design handles the user can invest in
2) design a way to be members in good standing
3) you need barriers to participation
4) find a way to spare the group from scale.

Zum Kontext von Enterprise 2.0, Intranet 2.0 und Social Messaging passend und interessant, diese Präsentation von Ross Mayfield von Socialtext “Putting Web 2.0 to Work”, aus der Übersicht der Proceedings:

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Outlook on collaboration in 2009

Besides playing experimenting with some new (sometimes cloudy) collaboration services and technologies (and I didn’t even make it halfway here), battling a nasty cold and family time I’ve been reading my share of Enterprise 2.0 outlooks for 2009 lately, starting off with Gil Yehuda of Forrester (“Predicting the battle over collaboration infrastructure in 2009“) who answers short questions with good long analysis.

Gil, do you think companies will cut back on Enterprise Web 2.0 in light of the economy?

First reaction – it depends. I’m an analyst, that’s always our first answer. [...]

That’s not all for sure, he goes on to ponder what lies behind all this, i.e. he delves into the relation between IT department and business units, diagnoses an increased need for collaboration functionality as a result of “layoffs, mergers, and deepening external partnerships (requiring new infrastructure to collaborate outside the firewall with trusted, external partners)”, and sees a slowdown of IT-driven collaboration projects in 2009 compensated by more business-driven collaboration projects. A good read.

More general are FastCompany’s predictions that 8 experts have for Web 2.0 in 2009, even with Charlene Li among them who holds

“[that] the biggest innovation will be the opening of social networks so that they can exchange profiles, social relationships, and applications. As such, companies need to think about how they will “open” up their businesses.”

Read-write web compiles a list of enterprise-focused web products that are already doing well and are poised success in 2009, nice that there’s a subcategory of Wiki++ (oh, this geeky humour):

We added “++” to “wiki” because the leading vendors are rapidly incorporating micro-blogging, social networking, forums, and other collaboration tools. Integration is key, so we see this market moving towards suites, but with wiki at the core.

Yes, said that before, think “middleware for humans” – one might even argue that wikis are archetypical infrastructure, and being flexible enough to cater for diverse and changing needs.

Then Craig Roth of the Burton Group presents their views of the 2009 landscape for communication, collaboration and content and warns

It’s also important to note the cyclical nature of organizational dynamics, which underlies everything we talk about related to communication, collaboration, and content.  Rather than just disappearing, terms like “knowledge management” fade from view only to be rediscovered when their time is right.  Governance has been on the tip of the tongue for at least five years now in our space, but it may fade only to be rediscovered under a new name ten years from now.

That is why it is so important to understand the basic concepts and dynamics behind communication, collaboration, and content before delving into the specifics of any specific technology.  If you don’t understand your history, for example, social networking can be felled by the same issues that caused collaborative workspaces to fail before them.

Craig also blogged about the implications of the tough economic conditions on the collaboration (and IT) market, something on which I will post a follow-up soon as well. Actually I think that the economic crisis might even turn out good for collaboration initiatives, open source and Enterprise 2.0 …:

Companies that come out of recessions in a stronger position than they went in are those that judiciously invest in technology and related processes that let more work get done with less resources as well as reducing costly delays and red herrings when making decisions. And when the market downturn ends – and it will – opportunistic organizations will be in a better position to succeed than those that had hunkered down during the recession.

Some more quotes and notables:

- Mike Gotta thinks about some acquisition possibilities (or dangers) in the Enterprise 2.0 market, triggered by an article in CIO magazine “Web 2.0, Social Networks in ’09: The Year of Consolidation, Not Innovation” that puts Lotus Connections and Sharepoint in perspective (btw, I don’t buy the article’s argument that consolidation in the enterprise Web 2.0 market could hamper innovation around those tools, I guess the innovators in this space have set high standards already, plus the real issues aren’t with nifty tools et al.). Yet, the triggered reasoning by Mike on “strategic fits” is good, and I can’t help wondering if some of these M&As might turn reality in 2009. Besides he’s done a great rundown of various Enterprise 2.0 issues too …

- Robert Scoble sees a fight coming between the collaborative web and Microsoft, besides being busy talking to Socialtext and Jive Software (during his Enterprise disruption week), while  David Coleman examines the underlying thinking (in “The Evolution of Collaboration Technologies“): “Most of these organizations are betwixt and between. It is safer to go with what you know (IBM or Microsoft) but also can be expensive in a recessionary period. Or phase out the aging collaborative infrastructure for something a bit more up to date, with more collaborative functionality. So far most of them seem to be playing it safe, a few are looking for new tools that will meet their collaborative needs both today (with the Millenials) and tomorrow.” and Kevin Mullins offers some Technology Predictions for 2009 (“I see Web 2.0 and Enterprise 2.0 becoming feature sets in new products and services in the Enterprise, however they will not become feature sets in all Enterprise products”). Well, fair chance and clever arguing ;)

- At last, CBC had a feature interview with Clay Shirky on the pros and cons of social media, new online business models online, and how big change comes from human motivation, not shiny new technologies. Well, yes, don’t blame the web intranet when it’s filter failure, yes, the ability to pay attention in the Web 2.0 age is the “work smarter, not harder” version 2.0

    So now I wish all my readers, friends, colleagues, partners and clients a happy and successful 2009. I hope you all had time and rest to enjoy some quiet days with friends and family before the rat race starts again. Oh, again it’s making-fun-of-rats-time – I really must look out lest this turns out a standard operating procedure …?

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    Upcoming – Intranet 2.0 Webinars

    Via Jörg Hoewner habe ich vom Webinar zu Intranet 2.0 (“The future of intranets – a sneak preview“) mit Prescient CEO Toby Ward erfahren. Ganz interessant und darum angemeldet …

    [...] a sneak preview of the findings and analysis of the first major study on Intranet 2.0. The webinar will also preview some of Toby’s case study examples he’ll present at the jboye08 conference in Denmark.

    The Intranet 2.0 phenomenon is beginning to gather speed. More than 50% of medium-to-large organizations have implemented, or are testing, piloting or evaluating blog and wiki applications. Just about everyone wants to rollout social media, but not everyone understands how to do so most effectively. In this 60-minute information session, attendees will:

    - Learn the real numbers on what is being done (and not done)
    - Case study examples from IBM, Cisco, BT, Sabre and others
    - Lessons learned and key recommendations for undertaking an  Intranet 2.0 initiative

    Am anderen Event werde ich aus nachvollziehbaren Gründen – nicht teilnehmen können: Key Strategies for Successful Enterprise Social Computing Deployments von Newsgator am 22. Oktober:

    [...]

    While most people are familiar with some components of social networking and collaboration, that doesn’t mean your project will be a “build it and they will come” success scenario. Find out what strategies you can employ or those that you should avoid to ensure that your social computing deployment meets or exceeds your business goals. [...]

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    Enterprise 2.0 at Adidas – pre-conference interview

    Here’s a short summary of the pre-conference interview (alas, german language) Joachim Niemeier did with Christian Kuhna, Head of Internal Communications of the adidas Group

    The interview dealt with

    • usage areas of Enterprise 2.0 at Adidas
    • Adidas current intranet situation, and the aims and goals they are pursuing
    • who is engaged as an inner-company proponent of Enterprise 2.0
    • Mr.Kuhna’s expectations for the upcoming Enterprise 2.0 Forum
    • and more

    Interesting stuff in there, some notes:

    • Mr. Kuhna’s professional background is in communication, he also has some experience in leveraging intranets and internal communities in M&A situations, i.e. the Daimler-Chrysler. Interestingly, he’s sometimes reminded by the “Enterprise 2.0 hot topics of today” of all the things that were envisioned before.
    • Adidas is aiming for a global intranet portal, which integrates a round of Web 2.0 ideas and technologies. Up to now they’re having a variety of heterogenuous intranets, which makes it hard for employees to find information, etc. Starting from this situation Adidas decided for a fresh start – and they’ve come far by now – during the next months the scattered solutions will be replaced by the new integrated intranet.
    • Adidas’ employees already have some experience with social networks and platforms (Xing, Facebook etc.) and the intranet team leveraged these competencies. He stressed the importance of easy participation, helping adoption off the ground. Yes, getting a voice on the intranet is getting easier and it’s no longer a monopoly of IT departments – we need to allow for easy, free-form, adaptive and emergent design of interaction and participation means. Now, we can be sure that this will also add considerable complexity …
    • How to explain the benefits of Enterprise 2.0 to senior executives? Mr. Kuhna recommends to start with demonstrating the changed nature of (internet based) communication and the emergence of communities. Sounds like a good idea – senior executive support is vital, complementing grass-roots adoption.
    • How will Enterprise 2.0 change organizations? Mr. Kuhna sees most of the changes as rather evolutionary, even when the actual speed of change is impressive. Yet I am not sure if I support this all the way, I guess it depends on how we define “most of the changes” – to me, some current changes in the context of 2.0 are going deep (well, whole industries are disrupted, but for Adidas it may yet be another thing)
    • One last thing that’s worth noting – one of Mr.Kuhna’s wishes for the future of Enterprise 2.0 at Adidas concerns „Budget“. Nothing new on that front obviously – awareness and understanding is nice, but budgets get the thing rolling …
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    Usability innovativer Intranet-Werkzeuge: Einfachheit, Schnelligkeit, Klarheit

    Hier kurz die Zusammenfassung meines Vortrags an den Intranet.days 2008 (“Usability innovativer Intranet-Werkzeuge: Einfachheit, Schnelligkeit, Klarheit”)

    - Meine These: Usability ist Erfolgsfaktor für breite Akzeptanz unter den Mitarbeitern
    - wir brauchen diese Akzeptanz um die bestehenden Anforderungen an effiziente Zusammenarbeit zu erfüllen

    Vorteile Wiki
    - Wikis stehen für Einfachheit, Schnelligkeit, Klarheit, sind aber nur ein Element des Enterprise Social Software Werkzeugkastens
    - Fokus auf Content (barrierefrei, auch mobil zugänglich)
    - einfaches schnelles Publizieren mit Wikis – alle sind Editoren, nicht nur eine ausgewählte (professionelle) Gruppe
    - Wiki als Verschlankung des Publikationsprozesses
    - Wiki als Chance die Beteiligung auf viele Köpfe zu verteilen

    Usability
    - Usability ist wichtig weil wir mehr Beteiligte im Intranet haben wollen – diese sind aber keine professionellen Informationsarbeiter …
    - Fünf Elemente von Usability: Learnability, Efficiency, Memorability, Fehlertoleranz, Joy of Use/Satisfaction
    - Twitter als Messlatte für Einfachheit

    Herausforderungen
    - Strukturen, insbesondere Prozesse der Wissensarbeit müssen angepasst werden
    - Change Management – wird durch “persuasive technology” erleichtert
    - Pick battles big enough to matter, small enough to win
    - Der Nutzen von Wikis kann den Nutzern in der Regel schnell klargemacht werden
    - Small is the new Big – Wikis als kleine Lösung, die aber potenziell sehr groß sein kann
    - People designing their own experiences – bspw. in Form von Subportalen im Wiki für Projektgruppen, individuelle Wissensarbeiter etc.

    Diskussion
    - Inwiefern kann das Wiki-Konzept auch in großen Unternehmen eingesetzt werden?
    - In Deutschland ist noch viel Zurückhaltung zu spüren, dies ist u.a. in global agierenden Unternehmen anders
    - Rechtliche Fragen und Ängste bestimmen in Deutschland noch die Diskussion
    -  Die ersten Unternehmen, die Wikis verstehen und umsetzen können (Effizienz-)Vorteile haben – vor der langsameren Konkurrenz
    - Es ist ratsam Experimente zu machen – Pilotprojekte in kleinen Einheiten konzipieren, von den Erfahrungen lernen und dann “skalieren”
    - Gute Use Cases für den Einstieg sind bspw. Glossare, FAQs, …
    - Von Design-Paradigmen lernen – Prototypen, Experimente, Nutzerbeobachtung, Perpetual Beta …”Instead of arguing, we should be iterating”.

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