Adopting Social Software tools is not necessarily achieving Enterprise 2.0

(pic to remind me I’m in vacations as of today 5PM)

What a great post by Luis Suarez : Forget about Social Strategy, think about Social Philosophy in which Luis invite us to join the Hippie 2.0 movement. Though I fully agree with him, I won’t because together with the S word (as A. McAfee wrote) this is exactly what scares C-suite out of E20.

Luis is upset that Social tool adoption is slow and that executives are hesitating. My take is that he shouldn’t wary too much as they eventually will adopt these tools.

The main question is not the When but the How. Because adopting Enterprise Social Networks (ESN) does not necessarily mean achieving Enterprise 2.0 …

Evolutionaries Vs Revolutionaries

We’re back again with this Evolutionaries Vs Revolutionaries conundrum.

Unfortunately, to transform Enterprise 1.0 into 2.0 you need to have C-suite people sponsoring you. And C-Suite people will not buy in such Luis statement :

What if through the usage and adoption of social software we would have an unprecedented opportunity to change the world we live in? Wouldn’t we want to seize that opportunity and make it happen

These are the answers Luis is likely to get, I am afraid.

What if not ? What are the risks ? What are the costs ? Do you think I am gonna risk to transform the whole company on a ground of a What If ?.

Be Relentless

We need to be relentless and explain again and again and again how ESN can help the company creating value, getting things done faster and better, having happier and more loyal customers (think Social CRM) and happier and more productive employees.

We can put number behind these figures : how much more revenue loyal customers generate when you take good care of them (this one I don’t but it surely can be googled around).

How much does your operating profit margin increase when your employees engage and are happy Vs when they disengage ? There are numbers available : about 6% difference.

ESN in Enterprise 1.0

Still, this is not the main issue.

We are living in a time where Facebook makes more traffic than Google. C-suite people knows that. And it never takes long before something successful in the internet get inside the corporate wall.

My bet : ESN will eventually be implemented because the last thing C-Suite people want is their company to look obsolete in terms of internal technologies.

The main challenge today is how it will happen. The main risk is to implement ESN to make Enterprise 1.0 processes more effective. In that case it won’t change anything to the company culture. We’ll just do the incorrect thing faster.

ESN in Enterprise 2.0

So we need to be pedagogic and tell C-suite that the reason we need to implement Enterprise Social Networks is not because they are new, trendy or because our competitors have implemented it. It is because we want to achieve Enterprise 2.0.

Implementing Enterprise 2.0 mean using Enterprise Social Networks because they have proved on the web to be the most appropriate tools to leverage a continuous flow of information (the interconnected world we are living and making business in) in order to create value. In such world we do things in a completely different way.

To understand why, we need to go back to Michael Grieves definition of process :

a set of coordinated actions to achieve a business goal and generate business value. It takes clearly defined inputs and transform them into clearly defined outputs in a controlled environment.

In our 21st century interconnected world, there is no such things as clearly defined inputs and controlled environment anymore. There only is a a continuous flow of information (Jon Husband) and a continuous flow of changes in highly collaborative environments. Processes evolve on a permanent basis.

Change the way we lead

In order to fully benefit from ESN value, we need to take this opportunity to review E1.0 processes and change the way we do business. Change the way we lead. Change the way we manage people. Change the way we communicate with our customers.

We’re lucky : some visionaries already have understood how to free knowledge workers to maximize their productivity in highly collaborative environments. ESN are just the perfect tools to implement these management techniques.

That’s the way we really want to implement ESN and achieve Enterprise 2.0.

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  1. Bonjour cher Ami,

    J’ose espérer que vous vous portez pour le mieux, vos articles sont indubitablement passionnants. Merci de nous éclairer de vos lanternes sur des sujets toutefois relativement complexes. Keep going on.

    Bien à vous et have a nice week.

    Votre obligé.

  2. Totally agree Cecil. If openness and transparency throughout the business isn’t part of the strategy, then silos with blogs and wikis, will still remain silos – this is not Enterprise 2.0. Silos = people, data and processes walled off into separate, secured sites, systems, content black holes. The invisible hand continues to steer employees here and there. To have true Enterprise 2.0 – remove the controlling hand of the business and ‘trust’ the employees.

  3. My first question is WHY do you need to have C-suite people sponsoring you?

    You have made a shift, there, from changing behaviours and delivering improvements, to getting permission, and having something made official. It’s the game of getting permission that invites a whole weight of iron chains to fall down from the upper layers of the company, and wrap themselves around us.

    Look around you, and observe how management works. If you have managerial responsibility, you will be set targets, and given resources and policies, and your job is to meet the targets using the resources, while complying with the policies.

    You will have seen, I imagine, managers who innovate and don’t ask permission. And managers who don’t innovate, but cry foul when others do, passing the message up the chain: “He/she is doing something wrong! You must stop it at once!”

    Facebook is not the main issue. ROI is not the main issue. Risk management is not the main issue. Responsibility is the main issue. And kissing the boss’s ass is the main issue. So, if you want to deliver real value to your organisation by innovation, you need to use the responsibility you have been give, and stop the people who are more interested in kissing the boss’s ass from spoiling your fun. That is all.

  4. Nice post..keeping it real.

    Ya, bottom-up is not enough…requires a top-down shift

    At the moment we mostly have social computing islands, only a few like Cisco are transforming to a network based org where productivity and performance are measured on collaboration, rather than competition.

    The legitmisation of informal networks is gonna take a while to happen, so like you say it’s not about enterprise 2.0 but the journey and right now that is getting real and looking at how social computing can enhance or pay attention to existing pain points and processes.

    That’s why I wrote my post on are we doing enterprise 2.0 in reverse. We have to play the game.

    But even so, the ultimate enterprise 2.0 would be not just network based productivity, but also decision-making…not sure how that would work. I’ve got several posts to go before I post about that (collecting a lot of links at the moment).

  5. I’m of the opinion there are no absolute answers to these issues. In many respects, it depends on the enterprise you’re working in. I am reminded, however, of what my recently deceased friend, Dr. Russell Ackoff, used to say, “The only thing harder than starting something new in a bureaucracy is stopping something old. So the trick is not to ask to start something new — just start it. If you wait and ask for forgiveness for having done something you did not get permission for, you’re much more likely to get away with it than if you go and say, ‘Can I do it?'”This phrase has frequently been shortened to, “it’s better to seek forgiveness than to ask permission.”

    I am mindful, as well, this too has it’s place and limitations. Getting C-Suite buy-in is a wondrous thing, as it surely frees up the purse strings, but I don’t think everyone should wait before moving out on initiatives that make sense and can be pursued without invoking the corporate immune system.

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