I am just back from a week in San Francisco attending the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in San Fran as a featured speaker along with a whole host of other industry experts. Those of us that were on the keynote stage got “backstage passes” and felt a bit like rock stars walking around. Thanks to everyone who made it possible for me to attend a great conference!
For my part, I participated in a panel with five other members from the 2.0 Adoption Council entitled “Is Enterprise 2.0 a Crock?” I’ll share more on the panel and the whole idea of E 2.0 “crock-i-ness” in general in another post, as I’d like to get my overall conference thoughts down here first as well as share some advice based on ongoing discussions I had with folks at the conference that I hope to be helpful to them, as well as anyone else trying to do this.
Photo courtesy of @adunne's Flickr Photostream. Panel left to right: Greg Lowe, Megan Murray, Bryce Williams, me, Bruce Galinksy, and Claire Flanagan. (I took a few photos, too, at the conference, though not nearly as good as Alex's.)
I have to say that I enjoyed the conference and the city of San Francisco. The weather was exceptionally nice and the city is amazing, even though I only saw a very small portion of its loveliness due to being inside most of the time. But nothing compared to the opportunity to meet not only my friends from the 2.0 Adoption Council - Susan Scrupski our Founder, Andy McAfee, Greg Lowe, Megan Murray, Bryce Williams, Bruce Galinksy, Claire Flanagan, Timo Elliott, Hamilton Pridgen, Bert Sandie, and Donna Lucas - in person, but also so many other folks so passionate about the topic of Enterprise 2.0. I am proud to be a member of the 2.0 Adoption Council, and a part of the Enterprise 2.0 conference, as both have done great things for me on many levels.
One thing that’s still very clear to me from the conference, and the folks that I talked to there, is that Enterprise 2.0 is alive and well in terms of both interest in “cracking the code” of rollout and implementation as well as interest in and a hunger for examples of companies that are doing it and doing it well. It’s refreshing to work for a company (EMC) that’s considered to be ahead of the curve in terms of strategy, deployment, and adoption of Enterprise 2.0 tools and behaviors behind the firewall. I know that we still have a lot of learning and work ahead of us, but it’s neat to hear what folks think of what we’ve done so far, and of course to know that I’ve been in the thick of it.
So, how does one go about thinking about and preparing to launch an Enterprise 2.0 initiative? Here’s my advice on questions you need to ask yourself and be able to answer before moving forward. I’ll be elaborating on these questions in future posts:
How do you pitch the idea and to whom?
Understanding the key stakeholders and influences that need to be involved in the initiative and decision-making will go a long way towards a successful rollout. My recommendation is to define your goals and try to include key stakeholders from as many cross-functional teams as makes sense for your organization. This will hopefully reduce the number of times you may have to go back and re-pitch and refine the plan.
How do you determine what tools to use?
Understanding your goals will lead you towards tools. My recommendation would be to start smaller and more concise to meet specific goals you’ve identified and add new functionality as your users request it - providing too many bells and whistles up front will likely turn users off.
How do you secure executive sponsorship and program funding?
Getting an executive sponsor for your initiative who “gets it” and can articulate the value of the tools you’re proposing, as well as actually use them, is going to be key to your initiative. You’ll also want to be honest with your budgetary needs – nothing is free, not even if the software’s free – it’s still going to take someone’s time (and time is money, after all), to roll out the initiative. My recommendation is to start with a pilot or beta program to get folks interested in the offering and then scale up as needed as new users join.
How do you educate on the tools?
Educating on the tool(s) that you choose is going to be key for a successful initiative. Too often, we make assumptions about people’s level of knowledge on any particular tool or subject. My advice is that you’re going to need to prepare beginner, intermediate, and advanced training materials in multiple formats to have a truly successful educational program.
How do you roll it out to the company?
When it’s time for go-live, you’re going to need to determine how you’re going to roll it out and to whom – will it be the whole company or a sample group of folks? You’ll also want to consider any marketing and communications channels you’ll be able to take advantage of to increase awareness. My recommendation is to also have a plan in place with consistent messaging for your advocates and evangelists to take advantage of when they share the tools with others. This will help to keep the messaging consistent and avoid confusion as to what the tools are for.
How do you handle the naysayers, those that don't see the value or support the idea?
See my previous blog post on this one.
How do you measure the impact and success?
You will inevitably want to consider the measurements you will take into account to consider your initiative a success. There are lots of different measures that can be captured, and each organization is different. My recommendation is to gain insights from your key stakeholders as to what they might consider a measure of success and then propose a phase 1 list to folks for consideration. As the tools and their use evolves, so too can your measures of success.
In summary, the key ingredients for any Enterprise 2.0 initiative are:
- Executive sponsorship
- Defined goals/purpose
- Defined “rules of engagement”
- Partnerships are key (IT, HR, Legal, PR, Business Units, etc.)
- Group of passionate folks
- Perhaps a leap of faith