Practical Advice for 2010 on 2.0 Adoption

As a year-end wrap-up, I asked a few of The 2.0 Adoption Council members to contribute some random words of advice on succeeding with 2.0 adoption.

Happy New Year from Alex McKnight, Bert SandieBob Singletary, Claire Flanagan, Dennis Pearce, Erik Britt-Webb, Greg Lowe, Greg Matthews, Jim Worth, Kevin Crossman, Kevin Jones, Mary Maida, Megan Murray, Rawn Shah, and Roy Wilsker. We all wish you tremendous success with your own 2.0 adoption in 2010!


  • There are leading edge companies who are and have done some advanced work in collaboration and social networking – talk to them!
  • Do your homework first… Don’t deploy ‘E2.0’ tech just because others are. Find out what the business need (yes this does mean talking to them) and then make sure you target that. Other uses will come out the woodwork later on their own.
  • Work on your requirements but focus on business needs rather than technical details. It may be impossible to find an off-the-shelf product that meets every specific technical requirement and you may spend millions customizing a platform for those specs. Meanwhile the business might well have been happy with getting 95% of their specs in an off-the-shelf product.
  • Provide a solution that meets the business needs – determine your companies/clients requirements, do not just start with some cool technology that worked at some other company
  • Trust is the currency of anything social. If there isn’t trust, there isn’t E2.0. HOWEVER, find where the trust is already and build upon that. You will have the greatest success there
  • Practice your elevator speech for executives: this isn’t about new-fangled technologies and trends, but about solving fundamental corporate issues – how to make employees more productive and innovative.
  • Be strategic in building your network of champions. Involve core groups early and help them begin to shift their messaging and engagement to your platform. Teach them to lead by example. –HR, Marketing & Comms, Legal, etc.
  • If you build it, they won’t necessarily come.
  • If they do come, they won’t necessarily use it the way you intended.
  • Communicate openly to your organization the lessons learned and the journey you’re on as your organization learns new ways to work socially.
  • Expand your perspective, enage key subject matter experts early.


  • Within your own enterprise, there are likely multiple or many people with expertise in the same or similar areas. Don’t try to limit e20 to have designated people per expertise area. Allow anyone to name themselves so; the real experts over time are the ones whose ideas people actually apply, not just read.


  • There’s no substitute for having your business leaders actively and visibly use their e20 systems. Leaders should be accessible.
  • Establish Sponsorship. Learn to talk ‘executive’. Know how to translate the jargon into something that ties back to your company’s business strategy and goals.
  • Don’t try to explain 2.0 to executives. They will either not get it or will panic. Try to “sneak” them into a 2.0 tool, preferably one that is gaining momentum in a business process.
  • Use e2.0 tools to show leaders how the work is really happening in their organization (deep down, they really believe that the org chart tells the whole story). Try and get them to understand that if they begin to organize and structure work to take advantage of the way it’s really happening, they’re going to unlock new levels of efficiency they never knew existed.


  • Don’t overlook defining your project requirements, in writing. This will be the criteria to which you will judge the project.
  • Don’t try to explain 2.0 to executives. They will either not get it or will panic. Try to “sneak” them into a 2.0 tool, preferably one that is gaining momentum in a business process.
  • Steer away from language that alludes to teenagers in Facebook, MySpace, etc. Many executives have teenagers at home who completely abuse those online environments. Why would they want their employees using them?!
  • Focus on making peoples’ jobs easier, not adoption. If you do that, you’ll get adoption.
  • Pay more attention to your corporate culture and your users than industry “experts”.
  • Politics – Manage your in-house critics (preferably through dialogue and involvement) This is significantly less risky if you have already identified the business need and have business support.
  • Think of the types of tasks the people do in their job role, and how they might use social software to do some of them. If you apply e20 in the flow of their normal tasks and behavior, e20 becomes much more relevant and impactful, and more likely to be adopted.
  • It’s okay to position the tool depending on the exec sponsor in question. Our Jive instance was a “collaboration tool” to one exec who had collaboration pain points and it was a “social networking” tool to someone who wanted to enhance employee connections.
  • Be careful about turning off features you think people won’t use or that you think are unimportant. You never know which feature becomes the “killer app” for your solution and it might not be the one you’re expecting. (yes, this contradicts the advice below)
  • Start small (i.e. do not turn on all of the features of day 1 for users as it may overwhelm) and move fast (i.e. ask you users each month/quarter what is working and what is not and modify the solution accordingly)
  • Pilot the site but don’t limit the audience or number of participants. If the pilot goes “viral” that’s a good sign you’re heading in the right direction.
    • Provide training and reference material
    • Provide outstanding and responsive support
    • Do some test content-migrations
      • Measure performance at the start of the pilot and also at the end. Has anything changed?
      • Have a visible, HR/Legal approved Terms of Use document available to calm any execs who fear this will be used for non-business purposes
    • Survey your users
      • Measure satisfaction with the pilot system
      • Ask for open-ended feedback (both good and bad)
      • Ask users to compare to internal or external tools they are familiar with
      • These numbers may be very compelling to present to management when you ask to move from pilot to production.
    • Be clear it is a pilot
    • Be clear when the pilot ends
    • Be clear what happens when the pilot ends
    • Treat the pilot as if this was a production implementation
      • Prepopulate with relevant content
    • Get some VIPs or thought-leaders to blog or otherwise use and evangelise the tool
  • Pilot the solution – find a pilot group internally who has a real business problem to solve (i.e. collaboration across multiple locations)
  • Enable the people and the content will happen.
  • E2.0 is not a new system or program you add to your old. It becomes part of your old – it is not separate, it is integrated into it. Don’t try to make a ‘another thing,’ make it part of ‘the thing.’
  • All objections are old ones reincarnate. How did they deal with the situation before? Deal with it the same way now.
  • There is nothing new about this. Take a splash of old fashioned communities, a dash of learning, a cup of trust, a spoonful of “let’s try this…” and a willing heart, and it will work.
  • Enjoy and publicly celebrate early successes, but set reasonable expectations – implementing Enterprise 2.0 is a exercise in changing corporate culture:
    • It will take time
    • It will take ongoing effort
    • It will take perseverance and managerial courage
  • Stay focused on the most enthusiastic and effective users – they’re your key to success. Help them continue to be successful.
  • Know your culture(s) and their challenges.
  • Never underestimate the power of one-on-one coaching for strategic users and teams.
  • Listen to your users feedback. Be ready to change, and perceptive enough to hear the difference between resistance and a real need for a shift in your approach.
  • The way they do use it won’t necessarily be worse than the way you intended, but it might not be better either. In any case, there should be someone in the organization responsible for figuring out which it is and what to do about it, if anything.
  • If they’re using it, but not in the best way, it’s better to nudge than to dictate where possible.
  • Emergence can be a good thing but it doesn’t always equal Efficiency (just look at evolutionary features like the human eye or spine as examples). The early adopters in a collaboration environment are like the early settlers who got to decide how the roads were laid out — you could end up with either Washington DC or Boston. Not saying that one is better than the other, but those who follow later will probably end up living with whatever is already there (anyone remember “The Calf Path“?) so a little up-front thought might be useful before deploying.
  • Help make your community leaders successful; give them attention and be ready with any questions they have. Keep the leaders connected and engaged with each other.
  • Accept issues will surface
  • Enterprises move slowly. Keep the end goal in mind. Know when you can move more quickly and when you can delay pieces of your project. Try piloting your project and defer larger integration projects if you can.
  • Engage advocates early. Show them. Train them. Let them be your global champion team.
  • Plan for adoption. Don’t start with an empty space. Think about use cases and communities that will take off in your enterprise. Seed your community with useful content and conversations. Leverage your advocates to help with this work.
  • Set up virtual ‘break rooms’. Don’t underestimate the value these type of spaces have in building strong bonds and relationships across your company.
  • Be flexible. Adapt as needed.


  • Analytics will be key as more and more Business cases require good statistics. Vendors will start to realize this in 2010 and work on improving their built in reporting
  • Define some base metrics that give you a HINT that there’s value. If you spend all of your time looking for value, chances are you are missing the point.
  • There is no single metric but different varieties that you use for different purposes, just as e20 can be applied in many different ways. Whatever the case, to executives, you still want to have one or two key metrics that you collect and report regularly and consistently over time. How do you know if it is a useful metric? At the minimum it should be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, and Timely
  • Measuring contribution actions (of any kind: blog posts, comments, wiki edits, etc.) that is often attributable to individuals can be useful to find the top knowledge contributors. The real gem is trying to understand how and who consumes that knowledge. That’s how you know how the wealth (of knowledge) is being shared around and benefiting others in the enterprise.
  • The ROI for 2.0 tools is going to be defined – at least in part – by correlating network engagement with employee engagement (e.g., Gallup Q12) and consumer engagement.


  • Don’t overlook your legal, data privacy, data protection and security teams. Engage them early. Listen to them. Work with them to understand their concerns and mitigate risks as needed.
  • In a regulated industry the lawyers have a strong interest in ensuring compliance and keeping the company protected. Once you realize the E20 evangelist and the attorney both want what’s best for the company, you are on your way to making headway. Here are some pointers for making headway:
  1. Accept issues will surface.
  2. Set up a standing team of attorneys and compliance specialists to be prepared to address them
  3. Categorize each issue, document the risk, and prepare possible mitigation scenarios
  4. Bring the risk assessment along with mitigation plans to senior management for acceptance / approval.
  5. Document all agreements / approvals.
  6. As new issues / objections come up, check to see if they have already been addressed. If so, deal with them in the same manner. If it is a new subtlety or a new issue, go back to the mitigation approach above and move on.
  • Overall, legal / privacy / Intellectual Property / Compliance issues can derail a successful E20 implementation before it can be launched. Something at the enterprise level will surely catch the eye of a conservative legal team, and their easiest answer is “no”. The approach above takes it head on and is the only way to ensure success in converting opponents into powerful advocates of E20.

Risk Management

  • Different job roles and cultures consider risks in different ways. Get input from people across different geographic cultures, job roles, ranks, and personalities. Balance out what risks are really important between the vocal majority (loudmouths) and others.

UPDATE 1/4/10

This post was pulled together from members who happened to be checking in over the holiday break.  Since that time, new members are pointing out that adoption is different for every company, and the advice will vary by company culture and organization structure.   Please view these suggestions as simply that, and do not construe these tips as universal for every company.  If you’re engaged in or considering a 2.0 rollout, we highly recommend you join the Council.  We’re certain you’ll find another organization that is similar in makeup to yours and will provide a great set of references to help you jump start your initiatives.

As a Matter of Fact…

Well, well, well.   Didn’t I relish that gushing endorsement of social computing last week by Marc BenioffYes. I did. As the conversation took off on Twitter, what was game-changing-significant was that a tech celeb– known very well in Enterprise circles, as well as the financial community– threw his Enterprise SaaS hat in the ring and announced the company’s, “Biggest breakthrough ever: Salesforce Chatter.”  Of course, Salesforce Chatter is the company’s answer to social computing.

Sometimes it takes a celebrity to help a new technology cross the chasm.  But more often than not, however, the most influential catalyst is market acceptance.  So, whilst I welcome the newfound attention and consciousness-raising for 2.0 adoption in business, I’m eager to start publishing some of the factual data that supports the hype is not without merit.

The 2.0 Adoption Council is now unveiling some of the research we’ve been collecting on our members.  The first synopsis report should be ready this week, available for download.   The survey reflects responses from over 70 of our members spanning over 17 industries, managing over $50M in budgets expressly dedicated to Enterprise 2.0 initiatives.

Here are some quick data points that are proving interesting:

adoption research

In addition to our survey research, The Council has also released its first “how-to” report, “A Framework for 2.0 Adoption in the Enterprise.”  This report was written by Gil Yehuda after interviewing members who described a narrative on how rolling out an initiative worked at their large enterprise.  The paper tracks neatly through a logical iterative sequence and “Director’s Commentary” on how to successfully introduce 2.0 technology and practices to a diverse employee base.

Picture 10

The market survey results should be ready this week for download free (courtesy of OpenText who sponsored the study), but the “Framework” report is available now for $425 in our store.

More good news coming from the Council includes the announcements of some strategic relationships, as well as a new web site currently in production.

Stay tuned.


Enterprise 2.0 is a Crock!!! says Dennis (the 2.0 Menace).

Here’s who says it isn’t:


Adidas Group+




Alstom Power+



Bell Canada+

Booz Allen Hamilton+

British Petroleum+


Cardiff University (UK)+



Compagnie de Saint Gobain+






Deutsche Bank+

The Disney Corporation+


Electronic Arts+

Eli Lilly+

EMC Corp+

European Central Bank+


Ford Motor Company+

GDF Suez+

General Mills+

General Motors+

GlaxoSmithKline +

Goldman Sachs+

Hatch Associates+


Honeywell International+




Intel Corporation+

International Paper+

Johnson and Johnson+

Juniper Networks+

Lockheed Martin+

Lowe’s Companies+

Lyonnaise des Eux/Suez Environment+

Massachusetts Institute of Technology+


McKinsey & Company+

Medtronic, Inc.+









Penn State University+

Pitney Bowes+

Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne+


Procter & Gamble+

Progressive Insurance+


Research in Motion+


SAP BusinessObjects+



SK Telecom+

State of Maryland+

Sun Microsystems (Oracle)+

Swedish Armed Forces+

Texas Instruments+

The Washington Post+

United Business Media+

Wells Fargo+

Wipro Technologies.

And we’re just getting started…

E20/SF: Bigger and Better than ever

flickr by Alex Dunne
flickr by Alex Dunne

Bigger, busier and more “social” than ever, the Enterprise 2.0 Conference San Francisco is abuzz with conversation on how to participate in the market’s riches.

Lots of new products/services have been announced here, and the sessions have been packed– some standing room only or attendees taking seats on the floor.

Andrew McAfee, the father of e20, launched his book here.  You can see him in this photo (bottom left) signing books issued by the publisher.

We have approximately a dozen members here from The 2.0 Adoption Council. As always, it’s great to participate virtually, but the face to face meetings and memory-making events are irreplaceable.

We were extremely proud to announce our “Internal Evangelist of the Year 2009” yesterday.  The winner of this year’s award is Claire Flanagan, Senior Manager KM and Enterprise Social Software Strategy, CSC.  Claire received accolades from her executive leadership, as well as Jive software whose platform CSC is building out to its nearly 100K employees.  The final nominees for this award also included Megan Murray, Booz Allen Hamilton and Greg Lowe, Alcatel-Lucent.

Today, Council members will participate in a morning keynote session addressing the highly charged question, “Is Enterprise 2.0 a Crock?”   And once again, Ross Mayfield and I will be facilitating a few unconference sessions this afternoon starting at 3:15pm.  If you have a burning issue you want to address with peers, this is your opportunity to share informally with conference attendees and get some personalized answers.

Are you an E20 expert? Prove it!

Picture 1

The 2.0 Adoption Council has begun work on a new initiative – an Adoption Index that will measure the adoption of 2.0 technologies within large enterprises. We’ll be announcing the results of our member survey at the Enterprise 2.0 conference next week, and we want to get all the friends and fans (and Twitter lists) involved.  The bigger the crowd– the smarter we all are.  We’d like to engage the entire community in predicting E2.0 adoption trends  We’re partnering with Crowdcast to launch a prediction market that will tie in to our next survey, which will be conducted in June 2010.

As an Enterprise 2.0 fan, you’ll have the opportunity to make bets about what you think will happen with hot topics such as “What percent of budgets will be allocated to ongoing community management?” and “What percent of organizations will report using mash-ups inside the firewall?” You’ll also be able to see what others think.  We’ll be giving out prizes for the most accurate bets, so if you’re ready to put your (virtual) money where your mouth is, you can request an exclusive invitation to participate here.

Why get involved? This prediction market, the first of its kind, will allow us to harness the wisdom of a broad group of experts – (that’s you!) – to develop forecasts of Enterprise 2.0 trends.  This will be an excellent complement to our 2.0 Adoption Council state-of-the-market survey, which will provide regular snapshots of the current state of adoption.  Not only will you know the current state of adoption, but you’ll also have insight into where things are heading.

The market will officially launch next Wednesday, November 4 at 3:00 pm, right after the 2.0 Adoption Council research presentation, “Straight from the Horses’ Mouth”  by Carl Frappaolo and Dan Keldsen at 2:40, when the results of the first Adoption Council survey will be announced.  Request an invitation today here.

Fact-gathering on 2.0 Adoption

The recent acquisition of Headshift by the Dachis Group was largely celebrated in the e2.0 community. As I commented for RWW, it’s a testament to a growing, maturing market. Enterprise interest in incorporating 2.0 tools and practices has never been higher. With this stage of evolution comes the good stuff, the fact-based data that helps guide our understanding of where we are, what it takes to get this right, who’s behind Enterprise 2.0 initiatives, what expectations are for business results, how much money will move through the market, etc.

I was really excited to see McKinsey’s 2009 “How Companies are Benefiting from Web 2.0” report that came out this week. Having come from a large consulting background tracking the IT services sector, it’s a raw indicator that the 2.0 phenomenon is about to break out of the echo chamber when the large consulting firms start paying attention. Some of our best contributors in the Council are large consulting firms who are rolling out their own initiatives, and I expect these firms will leverage this intelligence to build their own practices at some point. During the first evolution of the web, a whole host of IT services firms cropped up to take advantage of the promise of enterprise transformation via the web. Most of those firms fell flat in the dotcom meltdown bringing down investors, customers, employees, and the echo chamber. I did a huge research report that profiled who those companies were and what dynamics were driving that sector. What did succeed, royally, from that era is the undeniable impact electronic commerce brought to the consumer and enterprise sectors. Seeing “what could be” drove the vision of many of those early firms, and even if their dreams crumbled under the weight of their own ambition (and hubris), they were correct about identifying the potential of the Internet to radically change business.

So, we’ve moved from e-business to social business in a decade. While the hype factor is still a little deafening, I’m thrilled to announce we will be kicking off the first in-depth exploration into the 2.0 adoption phenomenon to bring some clarity to the maturing market sector. To conduct this research, I’m pleased to announce the Council has signed a strategic partnership with Carl Frappaolo and Dan Keldsen of Information Architected to conduct a qualitative research study on the dynamics surrounding 2.0 adoption, as well as quantitative data on our members relative to industry, professional profiles (titles, organization), budgets, and other data points that present a portrait of who the early adopters really are. I’ve done some preliminary inquiries on our Council members and have already discovered a number of surprising findings that I would not have predicted. For instance, budgets for 2.0 are a lot higher than I would have guessed (if at all even established).

Other interesting findings reveal that IT is not driving many of the decisions to implement a wide-scale enterprise 2.0 initiative. Lines of business comprise the lion’s share of our members.

One of the greatest goals for this research is to finally highlight salient case studies that explain the motivation behind the 2.0 effort as well as the expected business results.

For example, I conducted an interview this week with a very well known Wall Street investment bank. It was the audit and compliance global organization that drove an e20 solution to answer an age-old problem: high inefficiencies and underutilization. It’s an impressive global rollout that incorporates 5 financial center locations with approximately 200 of the firm’s subject matter experts in product, trading desk, regulatory, and banking. The initiative has yielded a “huge leap forward” according to the bank due to the transparency and visibility the firm has now as a result of breaking down the fiefdom walls that impeded the firm’s progress in years past. Greatest challenge? The people issues. It forces employees to communicate more. Additionally, the new processes expose the weak links in the firm and threaten job security/relevance. Greatest benefit? The initiative answers to the Board of Directors and provides predictable, reliable reporting that mitigates risk and ensures regulatory compliance. I asked my contact if the effort played any role in the financial recovery of this particular firm, he said not really because this was purely a cost-containment effort, yet he added, “The platform should, however, allow [the firm] to be more nimble in the face of increased regulatory scrutiny. Management can now see the effects of re-allocating resources to review areas of the firm with a higher perceived risk.”

All good stuff. There are so many exciting initiatives going on within the Council membership, I am thrilled to be able to bring them to light via our research. We will be presenting top-line findings of this research at the Enterprise 2.0 conference in San Francisco (Nov. 2 – 5). The Council has a number of initiatives going on at the conference, and I’ll be blogging about them in the upcoming weeks.

If you are a customer in the throes of adoption and would like to participate in the research, please simply request to join The 2.0 Adoption Council. Membership is free and you will receive a tremendous return on your (non) investment.