Enterprise 2.0 Forum : the 10 keys of successful projects

Big up to Kongress Media (Thomas Koch, Bjoern Negelmann) for organising such a superb event in Paris. Both ON (the conference) and OFF (parties in the evening) were fun and it was so nice to hang out with Enterprise 2.0 people (@bduperrin @flapinta @cflanagan @an_elm @tlg @ceciledemailly @tdebaillon @gculpin @aponcier) in real life.

Local Consulting firm NextModernity (Bertrand Duperrin, Richard Collin) acted as moderator and contributed to make the whole thing casual yet focussed.

Great organisation, great speakers but most of all : great real life projects feedback. Featuring : Claire Flanagan (CSC – multi-awarded project), Anu Elmer (SwissRe), Jérôme Poujardieu (Dassault Systems), Fabrice Poireaud Lambert (Lyonnaise des Eaux), Nicolas Rolland (Danone), Julien Le Nestour (Schlumberger), Jean-Paul Chapon (Alcatel Lucent) et Jane McConnell (NetStrategy).

A high number of common best practices have naturally emerged. Here are 10 of them :

1) Manage risks from the early stages of the project

Fabrice Poireaud-Lambert showed a very interesting 4 axis graphs (Organization and HR / Competencies / Methods and Tools / Culture and Behaviors) that LdE used to evaluate the change factor of such a project on the enterprise scale. They reached a 12/16 value which is pretty high.

In addition, these are cross-functional projects with a high cultural impact. Therefore, it is critical to address subsequent risks as of the very early stages of the project.

This comes with an advantage, though. When such risky and game-changing projects succeed, they benefit from large recognition : both CSC and Lyonnaise des Eaux projects are running for most innovative project of the year in their respective organisation.

2) Seek Executive supports

Both Claire Flanagan and Anu Elmer insisted on how critical it was to have unconditional Executives support for project involving change of such magnitude. Big changes project need legitimation. The reason : without strong leadership and executive support, the project is a lost cause against managers who have day to day budget and objectives.

So first thing first : use the elevator pitch and then Hypertextual Enterprise 2.0 presentation (or even better : ask me to do it) to show your executives how collaboration platforms can foster knowledge, innovation and productivity in the organisation.

3) Know your business needs and address them

Danone really wanted some tools to perpetuate their strong networking culture born at the beginning of the century and put the people right in the center of the solution.

Dassault needed to share sales best practices amongst their distributors (the Value Added Resellers) of their software solutions.

Schlumberger desired to save time to their workforce in critical environment (example : deep water drilling) when few minutes saving can turn into million of dollars.

Alcatel Lucent new management made it a strategic goal to have a greater transparency throughout the company.

The objectives can be marketing, HR’s, operational, leadership ones. The solution may be internal (i.e only amongst employees) or external as for Dassault between employees and partners. In any case, for any successful project, the objectives are clear so is the expected business value.

4) Knowledge sharing in complex and fast paced changing environment for distributed workforce is a common motive

Regardless of the business needs, the type of industry or activity, all companies have this same problem they wanted to tackle.

SwissRe is a reassuring Insurance company. They have experts on climate changes, terrorism threats, global economy etc … Hugely complex topics. They have office in many different cities.

CSC is a global IT services company : new technology, cloud computing, open source, software architecture, virtualization, enterprise system integration, project management, you name it : knowledge sharing make their professionals more reactive, efficient and team oriented.

If your organisation context includes these constraints, Enterprise 2.0 surely will make more sense and witness better adoption.

5) ROI may be complicated to evaluate but some benefits are unassailable

Talking about ROI in a project whose bottom line is a cultural one may be quite challenging.

Apart from Cisco who shows impressive figures, most companies and consulting firms struggle to puts ROI figures.

However difficult to monetize, some benefits may still be extremely valuable for the company. The most important one being engagement. CSC employees feedback is quite spectacular : the distances disappear and their solution has helped fostering a one team one company culture.

Jane McConnell in her survey on Intranet adoption reported that 30% of surveyed managers/executives answered either Quite a lot or Absolutely when asked if collaborative tools had improved employee engagement. This ratio grows to 50% when including people answering A few.

This is not anecdotical : Tower Perrin showed in their Global Workforce Survey that, on a three-year study, companies with high employees engagement show an average positive evolution of operating margin (+3.74%) while companies with low employee engagement show an average 2% reduction of their operating margin.

6) Usability is key for quick adoption

A key to Enterprise 2.0 project is the adoption. There actually are metrics to rate the success of adoption. How many people opt-in ? How many clicks ? How many people add content ? Commented ?

Now, if your tool is complex, not user-friendly etc … people won’t waste their time trying to contribute.

Open and easy are two of the key characteristics of Enterprise 2.0 solutions as per Andrew McAfee. Lyonnaise des Eaux and Dassault went for the Blue Kiwi solution. SwissRe and CSC went for the Jive SBS one. All choose a solution of a vendor specialized on the topic and went against the standard vendor selection IT policy of their respective companies.

The tool is so intuitive no-one get blocked during a 20,000 seats pilot (C. Flanagan).

Specialised vendor, no usage issue reported thanks to user-friendlyness, massive adoption rate, tens of thousand seats project successfully achieved within a year : would that be a coincidence ?

7) Cross functional participation is critical

Since Enterprise 2.0 project is a cultural one, and not simply a technological one, it requires cross functional competencies. HR, Marketing but also IT : all have to be involved in the project.

8. IT support is critical but IT Governance is crippling

This is probably one of the most challenging issue : have IT involvement without suffering the constraints of IT Governance. IT has been key in helping companies deploying enterprise solutions to support business processes (ERP, CRM, etc …). Security, stability, operability, overall IT architecture coherence, these are the main criteria they took in consideration. Usability ? Never. Here is the main problem : refer to point 6.

In order to circumvent this issue, both SwissRe and CSC prepared beforehand the list of criteria along which all different solutions would be benchmarked. One of the main use case for Claire Flanagan was the ability to administer the solution herself with her limited IT Admin knowledge. It was easy with Jive SBS and not with the other vendor being the IT preferred solution. CTO accepted that and all agree to play the game and chose the solution that satisfied the most the predefined use cases.

9) Don’t use the S word

Our company is a well respected 150 years old company. We are doing very serious stuff. In order to make sure we have executives support, I made sure no one ever pronounced the S word, following the very good advice from Andrew McAfee. (Anu Elmer)

Claire Flanagan, Fabrice Poireaud-Lambert, Nicolas Rolland, all reported the same lexical cautious approach. They never mentioned Social Media or so but kept on referring to business problems and how they could solve them with collaborative tools when selling the project to executives. 

10) Top-Grassroot-Down is the new Bottom-up

All these projects started with a clear lead from project team. But  as the project implementation started they all needed support from advocates disseminated in different teams to evangelize the new tool and make it viral. (Again if the tool is not usable, forget about viral regardless of how enthusiastic your evangelists are …).

So successful projects are both Top Down and grassroot efforts, more one or the other depending on the stage of the project.


I leave it to Richard Collin and his comment after Claire Flanagan keynote :

“CSC project massive success is a great example. These are knowledge workers generating business value through services, the typical 21st Century company. The fact that Enterprise 2.0 succeeds with such company is a proof of how relevant this approach is today and will be tomorrow.”

See you all next year. Be there or be 1.0.


  1. bonjour Ceciiil,
    un grand merci pour ce billet. Cela va être très utile d’avoir fait cette synthèse qui fait le recoupement des best practices.
    a bientot

  2. Belle synthèse, merci!

    On aura très certainement l’occasion de bientôt se recroiser dans ce petit monde de l’E20 français. Avec une guitare à disposition pour la fin de soirée j’espère 😉

    Greg (@gculpin)

  3. Hi Cecil – thank you very much for this excellent summary! Was a pleasure to meet you in Paris – will certainly follow your blogs!

  4. Cecil, Great wrap up from the event and all the case studies. Thank you. It was great meeting you in person and I enjoyed our lively discussion at dinner both nights. Looking forward to seeing you at Enterprise 2.0 in Boston in June – hope you can make it.

  5. Franck > c’était très instructif de faire ta connaissance et de comprendre ce qui se passe au niveau de la banque avec les plateformes collaboratives.

    Gregory > je t’avais reconnu sans ton christmas hat. Au plaisir de se revoir et de discuter guitares 2.0.

    Anu, Claire > I was so glad to meet you in real life. I am very impressed with your successful projects. You provided us with invaluable insight on the 2.0 thing, and fun & lively moments during our casual conversations. You made this conference a great one. Hope to see you again soon.

    Anu please say gruezi to Christian for me !

    Claire, God knows I’d love to go Boston but it might be quite challenging for me to manage to get there. I’m sure we’ll meet again.

  6. “Change the world or go home” or on other words, ENGAGE (commit yourself with your business) OR GO HOME

    One of the key findings is about an utopic “ROI” concept that concludes that the most important benefit is employee engagement and refers a study (Perrin’s Global Workforce Survey) worth reading that concludes:

    COMPANIES with high employees engagement show an average positive evolution of operating margin (+3.74%) while companies with low employee engagement show an average 2% reduction of their operating margin

    EMPLOYEES understand they are responsible for their long-term financial and physical health but they doubt their ability to take on this role.
    Mobility is at a decade-long low point, and many are sacrificing career growth for a secure job.
    Confidence in leaders and managers is disturbingly low

    😦 damn recession

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