Sep 18, 2010

Driving Enterprise 2.0 behavior change

Interesting Australian article on why the implementation of enterprise social networking tools might not be so easy as people flocking to Twitter and Facebook. Not every blog has its day
Still trying to get your employees to embrace the company wiki and other recent collaboration tools? Sorry, the world has moved on.

Four years since the birth of "Enterprise 2.0", many wikis have been abandoned, as companies find it takes more to enthuse staff to share than just building a platform and expecting them to come.

In theory, the wikis, blogs and instant messages were a perfect match for Web 2.0 services mushrooming outside the enterprise.

In practice, many companies assumed all they had to do was implement the technology, convince the boss to blog, send an email around to let everyone know and the rest would follow.

"It's not turning out the way they might have planned," says the research director at consulting firm Ovum, Steve Hodgkinson.

"There's a raft of wikis that have gone stale. Some ended up in just another cluttered environment, some got good reaction but weren't particularly useful, so fizzled out. It was not as easy as companies thought. It's interesting because it exposes people's collaborative tendencies or lack thereof."

Hodgkinson and his colleague, principal analyst Richard Edwards, have been studying enterprise collaboration behaviour and conclude that companies need to rethink their strategies.

They say there is hard work involved in fostering collaboration.

Companies that have gleaned the most from the technology have managed it actively through training, monitoring user behaviour and constant adjustment.

The innovation manager of Deloitte Australia, Simon Townsend, says it's important to go where users want to go.

Deloitte has 4500 staff in Australia and several internal collaboration tools, among them a wikiblog that did not pay dividends for staff and was abandoned.

Edwards says the time has come for companies to stop locking down computers and observe which social technologies are preferred and engaged by employees.

"We need to focus on the human being part of the equation," he says.

"Every corporate employee is a consumer. We need to remind IT and senior managers [of that] every day because what they enjoy using outside they'll use inside."