News Flash: Social in the Enterprise is not for Amateurs

In the early days of experimentation with 2.0 in the Enterprise, anyone could really fire up a wiki or blog, port some RSS feeds, and call an impromptu meeting in the cafeteria to recruit a renegade team to collaborate and share.  A lot of the enthusiasm and passion that surrounded these tools stemmed from these small pilot efforts.   Today, workforce collaboration and social ideology is top of mind in the largest corporations.  One interesting metric we decided to track at the Council was “who” is tasked in the Enterprise to get this job done.

Working with our Dachis Group | XPLANE colleagues, we created this infographic that details who’s leading social business efforts internally, and where they fit in the organization.  As you can see from the data, social business is serious business and merits primarily six-figure, Director level oversight.  This survey represents about 100 of our members from some of the largest corporations in the world who are currently engaged in a worldwide rollout of a 2.0 transformation initiative.

Another key point revealed in the data is that it’s not IT exclusively leading these efforts.  Although we have a large concentration of IT members, several other areas are represented.  In particular, Knowledge Management, Learning, and Innovation are well-suited to communicate and translate the benefits of working in a new social paradigm.

The infographic can be downloaded here. Enjoy!

 

Focusing on Adoption (exclusively) is a Dead-End

For an early adopter market, adoption in this space always seems to get a bad rap.  Why is that?  Because adoption is not the end-game.  It’s the beginning.  In the Council, the members are focused on changing hearts and minds and promoting the use of social tools in order to drive acceptance for a new way of working.  In Deloitte’s excellent report issued today, Social Software for Business Performance, we couldn’t agree more with the findings.  In fact, the rap on “adoption” uses our research to make the point.  There is no benefit in adoption for adoption’s sake.

It’s important to understand that “technology” adoption is the beginning of the journey.  It’s the first wagon wheel turn on a Westward Ho! trek toward complete embrace of a workforce that is socially calibrated and connected.  If you want to experience the benefits of working socially, workforces need to be comfortable and see the benefit of the radical internal organizational change it requires.  It sometimes amuses me that the folks who are critical of the adoption effort required are not particularly proficient in working socially in the first place, and cling to the world they know which is process-oriented and rooted in the industrialization (machining) of the enterprise.

I’ve often said that the adoption story is much less about the technology than it is about the organizational dynamics required to rewire the culture toward a more open, more egalitarian society if you will.  My source on this does not hail from any new technology fad.  In fact, it’s a paper originally published in 1957.  It is a supplement to a paper called, “How Farm People Accept New Ideas.”  It draws from a sociology, not technology foundation.

Introducing these concepts and making them stick inside a large organization is, indeed, a lot like cat-herding.  But, these are not cats or kittens. Change is painful and difficult inside large organizations.  One of the best quotes we heard from last year’s BlackBelt Workshop at the Boston Enterprise 2.0 conference was from one of our members who said, “These are not cats we’re herding; they’re Tigers, and they bite!”

Business process oriented vendors are getting savvy to social.  Council members just had a great Q&A yesterday with SFDC’s Chatter lead, Chuck Ganapathi, yesterday, and we’re planning a demo and conversation with Tibbr in the near future.   My prediction is we will see new business processes that replace or obsolete old ones more and more as, well, adoption proliferates throughout the enterprise.

Pinch me. Social Business has arrived.

I am here on the ground at IBM’s gala Lotusphere annual event.  If I didn’t see it for my own eyes, I wouldn’t believe it.  Social Business is all the rage and the main storyline IBM is taking to its customers going forward.

IBM Executives are describing “social” as the next wave in enterprise computing:

Mainframe > Departmental > PC > Internet > Social

According to Alistair Rennie, General Manager for Collaboration Solutions, who gave this morning’s keynote, “It’s the most important Lotusphere ever.”  He credited social business as key to combining people and technology, a goal IBM has been working on for decades.

What’s significant to me in this endorsement is that one of the icons of Enterprise (the “I” in MISO) is touting social as a must-do, not a fad or a trendy adaptation of consumer technology.  This only bodes well for companies and organizations of all sizes, as selling the “vision” of social is half the battle in getting something started.

So IBM, you go girl.  Bring it.

(I will be here throughout the week.  Looking forward to talking to many IBM customers about their experiences.  If you are an IBM customer interested in learning how to “go social,” please join us this evening at 5pm in Asia 3 at the Dolphin.  You can talk to other earlyvangelists who’ve been at this for a while.)

Social Means Business

I just read Kate’s post on today’s announcement about Dachis Group acquiring Powered.  I had to chuckle, because those of us in that “alternate universe, E20” used to think the same about the social media space.  In fact, I joked to Peter Kim this year at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Santa Clara, “How does it feel not to be a celebrity?”  I feel the same way at SXSWi.  (Truth is, I didn’t even go last year.)

But, Kate is correct, the world is changing and fast.  Every day one of our Council members, who’ve historically come from an E20 orientation – what we at Dachis Group refer to as “Workforce Collaboration” –  is being asked to help out with the enterprise social strategy whether that means social media initiatives, connecting to suppliers, or partners.  Some of our members have relocated entirely out of IT and into Marketing (who wouldda thunk?).  And it’s not just IT and Marketing driving these initiatives, either.  Social is touching every business unit in the organization.

I caution all our members to keep their eye on the bigger picture.  The Council is expanding to embrace all facets of social business.  Going forward, it will not be possible to separate where social media initiatives begin and e20 ends.  And, every customer will tell you they rarely use any jargon when they’re presenting business cases to their executives.  The language they use is rooted in the benefits of social collaboration, not the features.  This is typically different for every company too, and becoming more and more strategic.

This next phase of the evolution of the social business market is about integration.  Social Integration of people, process, and technology.  Integration of Work, Society, and Technology.  Integration of the past with the future.  It’s all good, and it’s why I’m particularly thrilled to be a part of a company executing with precision on that vision.

The Chief Evangelist Officer – How does your CEO compare?

We have a wide range of experiences with executive support relative to adoption of 2.0 in the Enterprise.   Some of our members are ecstatic when their CEO blogs on an internal platform without first going through PR; some try to keep the initiative under the radar of the leading executives.  We’ve seen it all.

That said…

This video by member @ted_hopton‘s company, UBM, is the new standard-bearer.   For all of you battling for executive support, watch it and weep.  🙂

Of course, we all hate the fact UBM calls its socio-collaborative platform a Wiki, but we’ll take it.

Awesome job UBM team!

Divided We #FAIL

With all my dedicated passion for the social web and its inspirational, world-changing promise, people often wonder why I’ve chosen to focus on the enterprise.  My answer is: because it’s hard and #ifnotyouthenwho?  One of the last bastions of resistance to embrace the tenets of 2.0 philosophy is found in the large corporate culture.  It also happens to be an area where I feel I can do the most good and leverage my career relationships to inspire individuals to start thinking and acting a different (read: better) way.

That said, the “2.0 for the enterprise” community is small.  It is a mere fraction of the worldwide tech population.  Consider the Enterprise 2.0 Conference brings out maybe 1500 people.  Compare that to, say a tech conference like Oracle OpenWorld, which will draw over 40K people to San Francisco alone next week.  Even if you layer on the explosion taking place with social media, social CRM, and online communities, it’s still a relatively new phenomenon even here in the USA where professionals are still just now signing up for LinkedIn and Facebook.  The #newTwitter will arrive as the only Twitter for the millions of people who have not been Twitter enthusiasts from the beginning. There will come a time when social media will be like air, but that is still a time in the future.

Considering where we are in the evolution of making a difference, today’s mission should focus squarely on inspiration, not perspiration.  It’s that 1% of spark of genius that will ignite a revolution in our time.  Last week, I tracked  JiveWorld 2010 via Twitter (#JW10).  I so now regret not going.  My hat is off to Jive for inspiring its customers to go beyond, to literally encourage and support them in their mission to change the world of work.  So many of our members who are Jive customers are having career-changing, life-changing experiences as a result of this newfound freedom and empowerment.   Take Council member Bart Schutte, for instance, who blogged passionately,

“As someone who has been in the IT industry for 28 years… together we have the opportunity to define this new revolution…I can’t remember being more pumped up about my work.  Nothing that I have done over the last three decades will have as big an impact as what I am doing now.”

And it’s not only Jive customers who feel this excitement.  Whether our members are working with SharePoint, Lotus Connections, ThoughtFarmer, or the so-called Frankenstein suites that have been integrated to meet the needs of the large enterprise, customers who are in the driver’s seat of this transformation all share a similar desire to create change.  My hope is all vendors will inspire their customers to get as charged up as Jive’s customers are.  In a small market, it’s easy to get drawn into religious wars over platforms and persuasions, but petty in-fighting is counter-productive to the larger task at hand.  That task is expanding the small pie sliver that now comprises the social business movement, so real change can occur on a grand scale.

Passion is no ordinary word.

To the uninspired that are not feelin’ the passion, I feel compelled to address the principle argument against embracing working socially: what’s the ROI?   Management theorists have posited that employee engagement leads to business outcomes for years.  There are books, lectures, MBA courses that even pre-date the 2.0 enterprise movement that validate this premise.  I am not worried there are no formulaic guarantees on social business successes yet. “If you do x, you’ll get y.”  Personally, I wish we could change ROI to become Return on Inspiration.  The fact remains, large companies who are experimenting and rolling out these massive deployments are still in the early stages.  I’m certain the proof positive is coming, but ask yourself: are we measuring the right indicators?  Are we (only) looking for evidence under the spotlight of things we know?

Which brings us to the job of the Internal Evangelist.  We call them evangelists because they are preaching a foreign gospel in their large organizations.  I’ve done this, it’s tough.  It’s a thankless and oftentimes painful job.  We are researching salaries for internal evangelists in the Council at present.  Although I’ve been pleased to see we have fairly high level managers responsible for driving this change, it occurred to me that our members should receive “combat pay” bonuses as part of their compensation package.  The career risks our members take every day on the front lines of change, should be rewarded in every way possible.  The members come to the Council for refuge, to get support when they are faced with skepticism and setbacks.  Yet, we rejoice a lot more than we complain.  In fact, we have a running tag in the Council: #clang.  We ring a bell for every victory.  This tag is by far one of our most popular tags.

Don’t hate the playa; hate the game.

So to all those who wish to derail the conversation away from what is needed right now– passion– I offer this video interview with Seth Godin and dedicate it to the hard-working folks who are doing this every day.

If you don’t have time to watch the whole video, here are some nuggets:

“The heart of what’s going on here; the heart of the shift in our economy is this at the core.  You don’t have to be [famous] to do this.”

“It’s not about permission; it’s about the passion and the decision to make an impact.”

“…highlighting and talking about the good stuff and giving those people a platform to succeed.”

“If you’re going to have an impact, you’re going to have to find out where the fear is.  What tricks do you have available to you to overturn that resistance to change?”

“Happiness’ best friend is kindness.”

“Passion’s best friend is generosity.”

“Give people the emotional gift of connection and meeting them in ways that matter.”