They’re Real, and They’re Spectacular

The 2.0 Adoption Council is off to a rockin’ start. We’re about 7 weeks into our new venture. I launched the Council on 6/26/09 on LinkedIn. We’ve sinced move our conversations to Socialcast (7/13/09) and the Jive SBS platform (7/15/09). We currently have about 50 members. During our weekly Council conference call last week, we discussed the size and scope of the Council. I mentioned that I’d like to get the Council to 100 members. I am in the process of considering various membership models, but my intention for this first 100 inaugural members is membership will always be free or very low-cost. I’m currently reading Chris Anderson’s “Free” and have taken away a number of great ideas from it already.

Anderson talks about the “is it worth it?” flag when making a decision. With free, “that flag never goes up and the decision is much easier.” In my opinion, having tracked Enterprise 2.0 for nearly three years now, the “market” is not about transactions, but about relationships. If you have a solid understanding of what drives the SocialWeb, you should appreciate why “Free” is the best pricing model for the Council startup.

Creating value in the Council is opt-in. The more members participate and share, network effects will amplify the value each member receives individually. We have the potential in this group to do much better than Jakob Nielson’s 90-9-1, considering each member only has to commit a fraction of their work week/personal time to participating in the Council. But considering all members are socialweb savvy, I expect contributions to grow steadily as more members draw greater utility from the conversations and connections.

Picture 10Take a look at the market leaders who comprise our Council. All of the members here have been personally vetted by me. Each is engaged in some facet of Enterprise 2.0, social media, or social computing. As far as I’m aware, nothing else like this exists on the planet. We got a nice endorsement from Andy McAfee this week too.

I took a quick snapshot of who the group is and what they’re currently budgeting for spend on Enterprise 2.0. About half of the members answered the survey already (in bold). The members come from all areas of the business: CIO/IT, Knowledge Management, CTO/Innovation, HR, and Marketing. In fact, it turns out that 64% of our surveyed members come from LOBs, not IT. Regarding spend, I found it extremely interesting that 36% of members are budgeted to spend $1 – $5M on their social computing strategy/execution. Another 40% are still in the planning stages, which I find to be very promising and a real boon to future spend coming from these market leaders.

I put up a simple web site this week at www.20AdoptionCouncil.com. I’ll be adding more content there over time. We are also working on an external community similar to what Jerry and Robin have done with Social Media Today. Please let me know if you’d like to be an inaugural blogger there. The invitation is extended to all regular readers of ITSinsider and, effectively, the entire Enterprise 2.0 Community. Our Council members will be blogging there as well, so you will have the opportunity to comment on their content and interact with them directly.

Very exciting times we are living in… Enterprise 2.0 is, indeed, real and spectacular.

Who Will be the “Internal Evangelist” of the Year?

Picture 18Interest in the 2.0 Adoption Council has been fantastic. Over forty members have filled our ranks. Each of our members has an extremely demanding day job. Educating, motivating, cajoling, rationalizing, bargaining, organizing, tracking, recruiting, and learning are all part of the job skill requirements. The “Internal Evangelist” (IE) has to carefully balance the needs of the business with an incredible responsibility to drive change in the organization with tools and practices that are outside of the comfort zone of most large enterprise employees, not to mention the pockets of organizational resistance predisposed to preserving Enterprise 1.0.

For this reason, I have decided to award an “Internal Evangelist of the Year.” One member of the 2.0 Adoption Council will be selected to exemplify the tenacity, courage, and sheer energy it takes to inspire a large enterprise to embrace the principles and practices of Enterprise 2.0. The award will be announced at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in San Francisco.

“…the job of the internal evangelist is far, far more difficult. These folks toggle between fighting the good fight every day and then slipping uneasily into a sort of DMZ where they can peek out into the broader community for support and the rejuvenation they need to go on fighting another day. It’s often a thankless job with no clear roadmap for advancement, yet the majority of them do it because they believe in the principles of the 2.0 movement. I celebrate them!”

Please feel free to nominate someone who you believe is deserving of this award. If they’re not a member of the Council already, I will be happy to extend an invite. Refer the individual to me on my LinkedIn profile. We’re still screening candidates via LinkedIn.

UPDATE: 8/10/09. We now have a form for nominations.

The Urgency of Now

Picture 1The news about Sarah Palin broke today while I was working.  Where did I see the news?   Twitter (of course).  Seconds turned to minutes, and I found myself impatient with not knowing the inside scoop on the why behind the resignation.  What was the target of my impatience?  The Twitter community.  Seems ridiculous, but it’s just expected these days that you’ll get to the heart of a breaking story within seconds.

To that end, it reminded me I wanted to write a post about the “unbearable heaviness of not-being” current.  Way, way back around the Christmas holidays, I was flattered to be one of only three reviewers for Andrew McAfee’s book on Enterprise  2.0 by Harvard Business Press.    They asked me to review the manuscript, and I accepted (for a small stipend).  They gave me a couple weeks to review it, and I submitted my comments in mid-January.

At the back of mind, however, and something I probably should have included in the review and regret now that I didn’t was a lingering doubt.  “This book will be obsolete before it’s published for the community of folks who track this sector.”

When Andy and I caught up at the Enterprise 2.0 conference, he told me that he too is really troubled by the delay on the publishing schedule.  He had hoped the book would have been published by the conference deadline (June), but it is now pushed back until December.  December?   You’re kidding me.

The demand for Andy’s book is today, not six months from now.  I’m wondering if, as a community, we can lobby Harvard Business Press to move the publication date up as its value is inextricably tied to its timeliness– especially in this fast-moving space.  The Editorial Director in charge of the publication timeline is Jacqueline Murphy .   I urge you to contact her and express your support for moving the book up in Harvard Business Press’ publishing queue.  I also started a Facebook group with the same goal.

Ollie Ollie Oxen Free!* Boston is Home Base for e20 Evangelists this Month.

picture-4Well, it’s that time of year again. The Enterprise 2.0 Conference is once again gearing up for an interesting week in Boston. All e20-loving fans and friends will be coming from all parts unknown to proselytize, share war stories, and re-energize for the year ahead.

The keynotes are exceptional this year. I’m really pleased we were able attract Matthew Fraser, co-author of one of my favorite 2.0 business books this year, “Throwing Sheep in the Boardroom: How Online Social Networking will Transform Your Life, Work, and World.” We also have favorites from last year include Evening in the Cloud, OpenEnterprise09, and one of the stars of last year’s event: the Lockheed-Martin case study duo.

I’m particularly interested in a few sessions. (In fact, I gave up all my speaking slots so I could attend other sessions!) One that I don’t want to miss is Lee Bryant’s “Transition Strategies for e20 Adoption.” Headshift is one of the really innovative boutique consultancies out there focusing nearly exclusively on introducing 2.0 to the enterprise. Another one I’m really interested in is Amy Vicker’s “The Sharepoint Factor.” I helped Amy get this on the program, and I’m sure she won’t disappoint. If y’all don’t have a Sharepoint strategy, you’re going to be in for a rude awakening if you’re serious about large enterprise. I think Mr. Tell-it-like-it-is, Peter Kim, is going to surprise with his “Does Social Media and Marketing Matter?” panel. That one will probably break Twitter. To be honest, there are so many great sessions this year, it’s difficult to narrow down my must-attend events. I asked Steve Wylie how the registration is going. Surprisingly, the conference is holding up very well against the economic downturn. Steve said the numbers of customers are consistent with last year’s attendance, as well.

Once again, I will be pitching in on Enterprise2Open. This is a barcamp-style event where everyone gets a chance to present or share their own experiences. Brian Magierski, my former colleague at nGenera will be there, along with Ross Mayfield of Socialtext. Both nGenera and Socialtext are sponsoring the barcamp. Both these companies have serious street cred in discussing the challenges and opportunities with making 2.0 in-roads in large enterprises. Last year’s sessions were well-attended, and I think everyone got a lot out of the group discussions. If you have something you’d like to present, sign up at the Enterprise2Open wiki and promote your event.

I’m still waiting on details for the social calendar i.e., parties, dinners, etc. But I saw the first tweetup today. About two dozen people have already signed up for that already. You may want to sign up early for the social network associated with the conference at MyE2. This is also where you’ll access the back channel that was very useful last year.

*”Ollie Ollie Oxen Free!” is from the children’s game of hide and seek where the “it” player summons everyone back to base (essentially because they’ve given up, which is kinda how I feel this year…) 🙂

Putting 2.0 to Work: Spigit

Here is another great product in the “Recession-Ready 2.0 Stimulus Package” series on products that can help jump start the economy. Hutch Carpenter, whom I’ve come to admire and respect deeply for his insight into 2.0 adoption, recently gave me a heads up he was joining Spigit. Of course, I checked out Spigit’s site and had an immediate reaction:

picture-2Somehow in my canvassing of the e2.0 universe, I missed this really cool company. I had a chance to see a demo last week with CEO, Paul Pluschkell and ask him some questions about the product and their journey.

Spigit is a beautifully designed “idea-based” social network for any size enterprise. What’s uniquely interesting about Spigit is it is action-oriented: its sole purpose in the enterprise or within its external ecosystem of customers and suppliers is to generate good ideas that lead to better products, better usability, revenue-producing initiatives and/or cost savings recommendations. In fact, anything can be a good idea and you can virtually find it anywhere– inside the company or out. With Spigit, now you have a way to get support for a good idea and refine it further.

The company offers two basic platforms: one for internal idea generation, InnovationSpigit, and one that faces externally, IdeaSpigit, to reap good ideas from its external community of suppliers/partners/customers/fans, etc. Judging from the live demo I saw, the user interface on this product is gorgeous and has an addicting “game-like” quality to it that encourages adoption. For management, there are over one million different variables for tracking metrics and user behavior. Additionally, this is the first Enterprise 2.0 product platform I’ve seen that incorporates prediction markets technology, PredictionSpigit, (which Andrew McAfee is so fond of).

The good news on Spigit is a single great idea can deliver a mind-numbing ROI. The somewhat bad news is it’s a little pricey. Enterprise licenses range from $25K for less than 1,000 people to $300K for over 100,000 people annually in a standard SaaS-based monthly pricing contract. If you want to host Spigit behind the firewall, that’s also an option. But, it’s probably the most expensive option, as you must buy the license in perpetuity. With each license, Spigit bundles in a dedicated community manager, a kickoff and training program, and a variety of helpful services that encourage adoption and promote meaningful results. Spigit received very favorable reviews from Bearing Point’s Nate Nash who alerted me to this post.

Innovations on the horizon with Spigit include an iPhone app in the works and customizable widgets that can house the entire product which has already been sold to one large customer. Once customers “get it,” the Spigit choice is easy. Companies prone to innovate and tout the people power of their workforce are eager to get into a relationship with Spigit. Marquee customers include IBM, Sun, Intel, Southwest Airlines, AAA, and Wal-Mart.  Additionally, Spigit has a major initiative underway to layer the product on top of SharePoint.

So think Digg, Dell’s IdeaStorm, Innocentive, mashed and wrapped up in a customized, user-addicting collaborative social network (that also has reporting, analytics, and prediction markets) and you have Spigit, the wonder platform.

Kick me before I miss a product like this again.

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ITSinsider is mashing up with RWW

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I am pleased to announce that I am joining the ReadWriteWeb team effective today. I’ve been in conversations with Bernard Lunn about how opportune a time it is for ReadWriteWeb to seriously layer on enterprise coverage to the already phenomenal job ReadWriteWeb does in covering various web 2.0 startups and the industry. We concluded those conversations shortly after SXSW, and I’ve decided to accept their gracious offer to join the team. ReadWriteWeb’s Enterprise channel will focus exclusively on how the evolving Internet and its ecosystem of related products coupled with the 2.0 philosophies of openness, collaboration, transparency, and sharing are disrupting markets and revamping business processes all over the globe. We’ll cover large enterprises, medium and small businesses, vendors, and all sorts of consultants and ecosystem participants. If you’re conducting commerce and relying on Internet technology to make a buck, we’ll be watching.

Of course, because of my background, I’ll be focusing especially on Enterprise 2.0 developments which will include most of what you’ve come to find here on the ITSinsider blog. But through my affiliation with the Enterprise Irregulars and many of the consultants and gurus I’ve met on the social web who specialize in different aspects of Enterprise expertise, I’ll be broadening my reach beyond simply wikis, blogs, RSS, and mashups. I will be depending on my “friends” to help shape the relevance and meaning of new developments in the Enterprise space by going back to my roots as a journalist and seeking expert sources for commentary.

Additionally, because of the flexibility we have as a management team to experiment with business models and new channels for income generation, we will be rolling out a host of products and services that will add tremendous value to our readers and sponsors. Stay tuned for announcements there.

In the meantime, look for Richard‘s announcement later today. If you wish me well (and I hope you do!), please get me off to a good start by leaving a comment on the ReadWriteWeb site. Thanks for reading ITSinsider. I look forward to many years ahead of quality reporting and “community” service.

4/14 UPDATE: Screeeech. Stay Tuned.