Posted tagged ‘enterprise 2.0’
Categories: social learning
Tags: participatory culture, social media, enterprise 2.0, humor, humour, collaboration, social learning, hierarchy, corporate, workplace, organisational culture, organizational culture, definition, social, ESN, enterprise social network, A means of liking senior executives' posts, sycophancy, social software
Comments: 2 Comments
In my previous blog post, Everyone is an SME, I argued that all the employees in your organisation have knowledge and skills to share, because everyone is an SME in something.
Sometimes this “something” is obvious because it’s a part of their job. For example, Sam the superannuation administrator is obviously an SME in unit switching, because he processes dozens of unit switches every day.
But sometimes the something isn’t so obvious, because we’re either too blind to see it, or – Heaven forbid – our colleagues have lives outside of the workplace.
Consider Martha, the tea lady. Obviously she’s an SME in the dispensation of hot beverages. That’s her job.
But dig a little deeper and you’ll discover that she’s also an SME in customer service and relationship management. That’s her job, too.
Oh, and she speaks fluent Polish and Russian.
May I also introduce you to Gavin, the IT grad. Gavin is proficient in several programming languages, as you would expect. In his spare time, he develops iPhone apps for fun.
You’re working on a mobile strategy, right?
Then there’s Li, the Business Development Manager. Li’s an expert in socratic selling and knows your product specs off by heart, but did you know she’s halfway through a Master of International Business degree?
She also recently emigrated from China – you know, that consumer market you want to break into.
My point is, when we seek subject matter expertise for a project, a forum, a working group, an advisory board, or merely to answer a question, we might not see the wood for the trees are in the way.
Does your organisation have a searchable personnel directory that captures everyone’s expertise? Their experiences? Their education? Their interests? The languages they speak?
If not, you are probably oblivious to the true value of your payroll.
Categories: knowledge management
Tags: directory, enterprise 2.0, expert, expertise, human resources, knowledge, personnel, search, SME, subject matter expert, subject matter expertise
Comments: 6 Comments
One of the recurring themes on my blog is a call for Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) to share their knowledge with the wider organisation.
In my view, this isn’t just an expectation: it’s an obligation. Organisations whose people embrace collaboration will prosper, while those who don’t will be left behind.
While the stereotype of an SME is a Sheldon-like character with superhuman intellect, the convenient truth is that we’re regular folk.
Of course the level of expertise in a particular domain will vary across a population, and the label of “expert” will naturally be assigned to those who have the most. However, it would be a folly to assume that the eggheads are the only ones who have anything to contribute.
You see, everyone is an expert in something. When humans work in a domain day in, day out, they familiarise themselves with it; they grow to understand its subtleties; they think up ideas to improve it; and they recognise the difference between business reality and academic fallacy when other people talk about it.
So while they might not be experts in the entire domain, they will be experts in parts thereof.
Take Sam for example. He’s an administrator in the back office of a financial services organisation.
He’s no expert in superannuation, but he sure knows how to process a unit switch – even complicated ones. He processes dozens of them every day.
So when you need someone to record a unit switching tutorial, who you gonna call? It sure as hell won’t be Carl the CFP, or Mary the MBA, or anyone else with an acronym after their name. It will be Sam, the unit switching expert.
When we view the concept of subject matter expertise through this lens, we realise our roles as learning professionals need to change:
- We need to stop deifying the few. This creates an “us & them” mentality which – even if affectionate – discourages the participation of the mortals.
- We need to empower the many to share their expertise. In the modern workplace, this will involve social technology.
- We need to cultivate a participatory culture. The best technology in the world is useless in an organisation with inhibitive policies and attitudes. Tools are meant to be used.
So unless they are doe-eyed novices, all the employees in your organisation have knowledge and skills to share. And if they don’t or won’t, let them find alternative employment with your competitors.
Tags: collaboration, enterprise 2.0, expert, expertise, knowledge sharing, organisational culture, organizational culture, participatory culture, role, SME, social business, social learning, social media, subject matter expert, subject matter expertise
Comments: 9 Comments
I tailed my previous blog post with the question:
What is the SII of your organisation’s intranet?
By “SII” I mean Social Intranet Index – a metric I have proposed to measure the degree of social functionality afforded by the platform. From 1 through to 10, the SII represents an increasing level of sociability.
I posed this question to 23 intranet managers from around the world, and they kindly rated their respective platforms against a 10-point likert scale. The results are displayed in the following graph.
Graph 1. The current distribution of Social Intranet Indices across 23 organisations
I also asked the respondents to rate what they thought the SII of their organisation’s intranet would be in 12 months’ time. These results are displayed in the next graph.
Graph 2. The future distribution of Social Intranet Indices across 23 organisations
While my sample size is no doubt too small to indicate statistical significance across the wider population, simple observation suggests the following:
We expect our intranets to become more social than they are today.
As you can see in the first graph, the ratings are quite spread out across the scale (x̄=5.1 σ=3.3). In other words, the level of social functionality is variable among our different intranets. Plenty of us are still using the platform as a broadcast medium, while others have added social elements.
As you can see in the second graph, however, the ratings shift noticeably to the right (x̄=7.5 σ=2.4). In other words, we expect the level of social functionality to increase over the short term. Whether we are planning, hoping or praying for this to happen, plenty of us think that in a year’s time our intranets will be personalised and our target audiences will be producing the content.
As an e-learning professional with a passion for peer-to-peer knowledge sharing, I hope we realise this future state sooner rather than later.
Categories: enterprise 2.0, intranets, social media
Tags: collaboration, enterprise 2.0, intranet, intranet manager, knowledge sharing, SII, social business, social intranet, Social Intranet Index, social media
Comments: 2 Comments
There’s a lot of talk about social intranets these days. It even threatens to overtake the blogosphere’s current obsession with gamification.
But what exactly is a social intranet…?
Everyone seems to have a different opinion, from a human-centred platform, to the intersection between portals, team sites and social sites, to a system that ties the business’s processes and data to the employee’s social behaviour.
Which one is correct? They all are.
You see, a “social intranet” is simply an intranet with social media elements that allow the users to interact with the content and with each other.
While everyone’s definition covers this functionality more or less, what is different is the degree of the functionality.
So, to introduce a common language and some standardisation to our discourse, I propose the “Social Intranet Index” (SII).
The Social Intranet Index is a metric that denotes the degree of social functionality afforded by an enterprise’s intranet. From 1 through to 10, the SII represents an increasing level of sociability…
1. An intranet with an SII of 1 is the traditional, old-fashioned broadcast medium. Its content is published by a select few (usually members of the Communications team) and remains read-only for the target audience.
2. An intranet with an SII of 2 accommodates special account holders outside of the golden circle. These are typically highly motivated individuals, because the backend is clunky and illogical.
Unfortunately these individuals tend to find themselves in the unenviable position of publishing content for other people, because said people are either too dumb or too lazy to learn how to do it themselves. Strangely, though, they all know how to use Facebook.
3. An intranet with an SII of 3 introduces a star rating or a “like” facility. The target audience can interact (albeit minimally) with the content by judging its quality and relevance.
4. An intranet with an SII of 4 introduces a commenting facility. Beyond a reductionist score, the target audience can now post free-form comments in response to the content.
5. An intranet with an SII of 5 bolts on third-party social applications such as Yammer, Compendium and Confluence. While these apps aren’t components of the enterprise’s intranet proper, they’re accessible from there and thus form part of the network. The target audience is empowered to generate their own content within these ringfenced zones.
6. An intranet with an SII of 6 integrates social media elements such as a discussion forum, blogs and wikis into a single sign-on solution. The user experience is seamless.
7. An intranet with an SII of 7 maintains a bank of user profiles that includes everyone in the organisation and is accessible by anyone in the organisation. The profiles are rich (including photos, contact details and subject matter expertise) and integrate with the other components of the intranet (eg the discussion forum) to facilitate social networking.
8. An intranet with an SII of 8 enables the users to personalise the interface. This typically involves the selection and arrangement of social widgets (eg a particular blog, a discussion sub-forum), a filterable activity stream, plus external functionality such as a customisable RSS feed.
9. An intranet with an SII of 9 empowers anyone in the organisation to publish and edit “regular” informational content beyond the aforementioned social media elements, though still within certain ringfenced zones. For example, a team site may host user-generated content pertinent to that team.
10. An intranet with an SII of 10 is the poster boy of heterarchy. All content is easily publishable and editable by everyone in the organisation. Devoid of ringfences, the platform effectively becomes a giant wiki. The corporate community pitches in to produce and maintain organic knowledge.
Outlandish and unworkable, or innovative and game changing? At the very least, I say an SII of 10 is aspirational.
From 1 to 10, the Social Intranet Index represents a series of concurrent trends.
Most radically, the direction of publishing shifts from one-way to two-way to multi-way. This is typically associated with an increasing ease of use, which in turn encourages an increasing number of content producers.
Knowledge contained in silos is increasingly shared, and a broader community blossoms. As governance loosens, the organisation puts more trust in its own employees. Effectively, its hierarchy flattens.
As more control is relinquished by the company to its people, however, the risk of something going wrong increases. The content that is generated by the users might be flawed, and in extreme cases an individual might abuse their privileges and do something malicious.
On the other side of the coin, though, loose governance does not mean no governance. Sensitive content may still be locked, while an approval process and a reversion facility can prevent disaster.
Moreover, it may be argued that the shifting paradigm places an increasing obligation on the SME not only to share their knowledge with the wider organisation, but also to maintain its currency and relevance. Those who can’t or won’t will soon get found out.
Clearly, a “social intranet” is not just about the technology; it’s about the culture of the organisation. Just because sophisticated functionality is available does not necessarily mean it will be used!
Notwithstanding this truism, I submit that culturally speaking, an SII of 1 is poles apart from an SII of 10. The former is characteristic of a restrictive, distrustful, clunky organisation, while the latter is characteristic of an open, empowering, nimble one.
Which organisation do you think will be more collaborative?
Which one is more adaptable to change?
Which one will ultimately perform better in the market?
Closer to home, what is the SII of your organisation’s intranet…?
Categories: enterprise 2.0, intranets, social media
Tags: collaboration, culture, definition, discussion forums, enterprise 2.0, enterprise social networking, evolution, heterarchy, intranet, knowledge management, maturity, maturity model, organisational culture, organizational culture, participatory culture, personal profiles, roles, SII, SME, social business, social intranet, Social Intranet Index, social media, social networking, standard, standardisation, standardization, web 2.0
Comments: 8 Comments
Yammer has been quite a success at my workplace. Not off the charts like at Deloitte, yet very much alive and growing.
It warms my heart to see my colleagues asking and answering questions, sharing web articles, crowdsourcing ideas, gathering feedback, praising team mates, comparing notes on where to buy the best coffee, and even whining a little.
Every so often I’m asked by a peer at another company what they can do to increase the use of Yammer in their own organisation. I’m happy to share my opinion with them (borne from my experience), but thus far I have been cognisant of the fact that I haven’t cross-checked my ideas against those of others in the corporate sector.
So I recently invited 14 community managers from around the world to rate the key factors that drive Yammer use in their respective organisations. The results are summarised in the following graph.
While my sample size is probably too small to infer any significant differences among the factors, observation reveals a tiered arrangement.
The front runner is business champions. These enthusiastic users encourage the use of Yammer with their colleagues across the business. The importance of this factor is unsurprising, given the effectiveness of WOM in the marketing industry. Employees presumably trust their team mates more than they do HR, IT, or whoever “owns” Yammer in the workplace.
The next one down is another no brainer: internal promotion. Typical promotional activities such as newsletters, testimonials and merchandise not only raise awareness among the users, but also act as ongoing reminders. If WOM is the steam train, promotion is the coal that keeps it chugging.
Intrinsic motivation is obvious to anyone who knows the saying “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink”. In other words, you can unleash your business champions and push all the promotion you like, but if the individuals who comprise your target audience lack a collaborative attitude, they won’t use Yammer.
Rounding out the top tier is top-down support and participation. Not only is it important for the user’s direct manager to be enthusiastic about Yammer and participate in it him- or herself, but it’s also important for the CEO, CFO, COO, CMO etc to do the same. They must lead by example.
At the next tier down, informal support resources have some importance. I guess self-paced tutorials, user guides, tip sheets etc are less of an imperative when the system is so damn easy to use. Not to mention that just about everyone knows how to use Facebook or Twitter already, so in that sense they have prior knowledge.
User acknowledgement is also somewhat important. Everyone wants their questions to be answered, and perhaps attract a “like” or two. Otherwise, why would they bother?
The placement of Community Manager at this tier pleasantly surprised me, given the pool of respondents. Nonetheless, some sort of management of the forum is considered important in driving its use.
Integration of Yammer-based discourse into L&D offerings was also placed surprisingly low. I suspect that’s because only intrinsically motivated learners participate in it anyway.
Rounding out this tier, it appears a decent sense of netiquette is the norm in the workplace. You would be a clown to behave otherwise!
At the lower tiers, we see the factors that are considered less important by the respondents.
I guess a formal usage policy is irrelevant to intrinsically motivated users, while prizes, points and other forms of extrinsic motivation are similarly redundant. Same goes for activities and games such as “fun facts” and trivia quizzes.
And one thing’s for sure: a traditional project management approach characterised by a hard launch and follow-up training misses the mark.
In summary, then, we see that enterprise social networking is multifaceted. There is no silver bullet.
If your objective is to drive the use of Yammer in your organisation, you would be wise to focus your energy on the factors that offer the greatest return.
In the meantime, bear in mind that social forums grow organically. It takes time for individuals to see what’s in it for them and jump aboard.
Having said that, if the culture of your organisation is bad, it either needs to change or you should shift your efforts to something else.
Categories: enterprise 2.0, social networking
Tags: business champions, challenges, collaboration, community management, community manager, corporate, culture, discussion forum, discussion forums, enterprise 2.0, enterprise social networking, extrinsic, intrinsic, L&D, launch, micro-blogging, microblogging, motivation, netiquette, organisational culture, organisational development, organizational culture, organizational development, participation, participatory culture, policy, promotion, social learning, social media, social media manager, social networking, support, top-down, training, use, user acknowledgement, Yammer
Comments: 6 Comments
As microblogging solutions such as Yammer sweep across the corporate sector, a melting pot of social media veterans and newbies inevitably begins to boil.
And this is a wonderful thing. Loads of new people from disparate areas of the business communicating and collaborating with one other, usually for the first time ever? I’m all for it.
Having said that, many of the noobs have never microblogged before. Some don’t even have a Facebook account, let alone Twitter.
This in itself isn’t a problem. They don’t need to qualify to participate, and their views are just as valid as anyone else’s.
However, it probably means they don’t know the ground rules.
And this can be a problem, because it frequently distracts other participants, discourages other noobs from joining in, and generally makes the whole process of peer-to-peer knowledge sharing much less efficient than it otherwise could be.
So what is good practice?
Good practice is a subjective concept, but some universal principles have emerged over the years.
If we set aside the obvious – bullying, belligerence, condescendence, and generally being an a**hole – then we have what I call the 10 Commandments of Microblogging…
I. Thou shalt use a real profile photo.
It’s really important in the workplace – especially the virtual workplace – that we know what you look like. At the very least it signifies you’re proud to be a member of the team.
II. Thou shalt respect other people’s opinions.
You might not always agree with us, but that doesn’t make you right. Consider our contexts and circumstances before pulling on your Captain Correct lycra.
A subset of this commandment is: Thou shalt not put words in other people’s mouths. Be careful of how you respond to our messages. Be mindful of what we did – and more importantly, what we did not – say.
III. Thou shalt steer clear of politics and religion.
We don’t care what you do or don’t believe in. Nothing you say in this forum will change our minds.
IV. When linking to an article, thou shalt explain why it’s relevant.
We’re busy people. We won’t click a link just because you say it’s “fantastic”.
V. When praising someone, thou shalt describe the outcome.
Saying that one of your team members was “really helpful” is really nice. If you explain how and why it matters, you’ll encourage the rest of us to be really helpful too.
VI. When running a poll, thou shalt include all the options.
If our answers aren’t options, we won’t pick another one to humour you. We’ll just ignore the poll, and you’ll be left with skewed results.
(Hint: “None of the above” is often a get-out-of-jail-free card.)
VII. Thou shalt not post many messages in quick succession.
This is known as “flooding”, and it makes you look like a douche. If your messages are truly valuable, then spread them out over time so that we can digest them and formulate constructive responses.
VIII. Thou shalt create a group.
It’s great that you’re so passionate about medieval basket weaving, but you’re polluting our feed with irrelevance. Create a group and party like it’s 1399.
IX. If you appreciate someone’s message, thou shalt “like” it.
It’s called professional courtesy, and it makes us feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside. It also shows your boss that you have a brain and you’re not afraid to use it.
X. Thou shalt answer questions like an angel.
If you don’t know the answer to one of our questions, refer it to someone who does. The point of an enterprise-wide microblog is that it generates value. If that value is not realised, then why would we bother coming back?
Of course, I’m not going to pretend that social media veterans role model these 10 Commandments like modern-day disciples.
We’re all human, and we stray across our lanes every once in a while – sometimes with good cause.
Nevertheless, I hope they provide some semblance of order that will extract the most out of our corporate communities.
Categories: social media
Tags: collaboration, community, corporate, enterprise 2.0, etiquette, guidelines, knowledge sharing, micro-blog, micro-blogging, microblog, microblogging, netiquette, newbies, noobs, participatory culture, peer, rules, social learning, social media, Twitter, Yammer
Comments: 2 Comments