Is Introduction of Enterprise 2.0 an Objective or Subjective Process?

By Ethan Yarbrough posted 10-12-2010 03:00


Don’t believe me. Unless you do believe me. Make up your own mind.

That’s how I’ll be starting my presentation this Friday, October 15th, when I’ll be speaking at SharePoint Palooza here in Seattle. SharePoint Palooza is billed as “All You Can Eat SharePoint 2010. Real Experts. No Fluff. No Filler.  Just Meaty SharePoint Goodness.”

My presentation, which I’ll be delivering to the executive summit, is entitled “Leveraging SharePoint for Employee Engagement”.  I’ve summarized it this way:

Do your employees feel they have the tools they need to do their best work every day? Companies whose employees can answer a resounding “Yes!” to that question enjoy significantly higher levels of employee engagement, which in turn yields higher productivity and bottom line benefits both in increased revenue and decreases in costs associated with employee turnover. SharePoint’s ability to make content more discoverable, knowledge more shareable and companies more collaborative makes it a significant tool in any strategy to increase employee productivity and engagement. But you can’t just take it out of the box and turn it on. The key is to apply SharePoint to real, defined, and recognized problems so that your employees can do better what they’ve been trying to do all along. This session will look at some key areas in your organization where you can apply SharePoint to improve employees’ work experiences and generate a by-product of increased engagement. 

That summary should sound familiar if you’ve been reading my blog posts here. I am a strong advocate for the idea that giving employees the collaboration tools they need strengthens the organization both through improved productivity and a resulting increase in engagement. 

But the thing to remember is that I base that opinion on my research and, more significantly, on my experience and observation. If you have a different experience and observation, you may not believe that installing SharePoint or any other Enterprise Software Platform – social or otherwise – will make a difference to employee engagement levels in your company.  That’s OK; you make up your own mind.

And if you think Enterprise 2.0 is worth some investment, I guarantee that you, I and your employees will have different ideas about the best way to shape the Enterprise 2.0 environment. 

To be honest, I find it hard to believe there is an objectively right and wrong way to introduce Enterprise 2.0 elements into your company. My intuition tells me that there are too many subjective factors involved to ever be able to make Enterprise 2.0 an easy, clean, step-by-step process akin to building a Lego model or an Ikea table. Overall company culture, attitudes of upper management, individual employees’ risk tolerance, IT’s responsiveness, internal marketing’s ability to explain benefits and excite a user base, and so many more esoteric considerations carry weight in the adoption challenge. And it seems to me the weight is differently distributed from one organization to another. 

Or maybe I’m the one out of step here. Maybe introduction of Enterprise 2.0 can be turned into a homogenized process.

I was recently interviewed in a research study that has a goal of developing a predictive model for the success of hypothetical collaboration tools. The researchers want to use their predictive tool to guide companies by stating definitively which attributes of the tool or the community the tool is deployed in are most important to determining its likely success.

It would be comforting to have a checklist of cultural attributes that need to be present for Enterprise 2.0 success, followed by a page of managerial practices that must be followed at least 90% of the time, which then led to a list of values to instill, followed by a guide to features most likely to excite interest and for all of them an overall sequencing calendar to tell you the right order in which to do things. 

I don’t know. Is something like that likely to work?

Or is it truer that no outsider can tell you with any certainty what will work in your organization? I can tell you what worked for me. I can tell you what considerations were most important for me and predict my future success based on how well I learned my subjective lessons. But in the end don’t you have to make up your own mind?

#Adoption #enterprise2.0