I'm all for the idea
that a great way to get senior-level buy-in for (and drive momentum with) a
social collaboration initiative is to find a handful of really good use cases
which clearly demonstrate the value of a more open, networked approach to working.
However, very often I find that instead of looking for internal scenarios,
organisations often plump first for externally-facing opportunities - for
example a community for engaging with customers, or with supply chain partners.
Now, while I can see
why this happens - because these are the places where a successful initiative
will get the attention of senior managers, potentially making the biggest
immediate impact on actual revenues - there is a huge flaw in this approach,
and that is that you are basically using customers and partners as a testbed
for what is often a completely new way of working. If it's an immediate
sparkling success, then that's fantastic. But if it fails spectacularly - or
more likely just limps along pitifully until it dies quietly - it's probably
worse for the organisation's reputation than if you hadn't tried in the first
As any organisation
that has embarked on an initiative to drive adoption of a social collaboration
platform will tell you (and as I have written, blogged and talked about many
times) getting that momentum going is hard, and takes time and a lot of persistence.
If your internal culture is not already embracing social collaboration, it will
be so much harder to maintain an externally-facing community. Very often, it
comes down to one or two individuals who become the figureheads of the
community, whereas if you have already established an internal culture of
collaborating openly and interactively, it's much easier to extend this beyond
the organisation's boundaries to include customers and partners. What's more,
it will come across as much more convincing, because it isn't forced, it's
simply mirroring the internal culture of the organisation.
So as you look for
your first use cases for social collaboration, I would encourage you to look
inwards first; look for opportunities to better-connect parts of the
organisation, build on existing collaborations, identify events or activities
where a social collaboration platform can speed up processes, help overcome
over-use of email or surface information that is normally locked within a
single department. Learn your lessons internally, and then you can embrace the
outside world, full of confidence and with the knowledge that you can succeed.
Join us in London on
14th May for our new event, Making Social Collaboration Work! Download the
brochure here.#socialcollaboration #Collaboration #Adoption #usecases