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Enterprise social networking strategies

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My last post on Enterprise 2.0 focuses on social networking strategies for your organisation and in particular, the International Geological Congress (IGC). Social networks form the fabric of today’s social and business environment.

Most employees are already involved in social networking in their personal lives and increasingly for work. Organisations can either choose to ignore this phenomenon or be proactive in harnessing potential benefits and managing the risks of social networking.

This includes better work efficiency, greater collaboration, harnessing collective intelligence, product and business process innovation, better human resource management and new profitable business models. My article will present three examples of how organisations utilize social networking  to great effects and the success that came along.


After successful social media campaigns such as Direct2Dell, IdeaStorm, @DellOutlet and Direct2Dell Chinese, Dell assessed how to leverage its existing social media best practices to tackle China’s unique social media marketplace to engage existing and potential customers there while staying authentic to their brand and culturally sensitive.

Dell realized that China’s online population uses, a unique platform to the Chinese marketplace as the primary micro-blogging tool and not Twitter. Dell started a mini-blog on and immediately raised the bar for corporate presence on the channel. Dell started to offer exclusive coupons on the platform, conducted customer surveys and formed a team of Employee Ambassadors to engage customers online.

They became the first international company to do any of these activities on Within six months, Dell became the third most followed international brand on with approximately 20,000 followers. Dell’s approach changed the way an international brand engages its customers on this platform. It was like a breath of fresh air and Dell had succeeded in reaching out to the online population in China.

Washington Redskins

Washington Redskins have some of the most devoted fans in the NFL and they exploited that to great effect using Four Square. In 2010, the NFL team rolled out Foursquare as a way for rewarding fans that attended home games or rallies during away games. The results were stunning.

By December, Redskins fans had logged more than 20,000 check-ins at their home stadium FedExField and tens of thousands more at venues across the D.C. metro area. For the past few years, the Redskins have relied on both Facebook and Twitter to build their fan base.

However Foursquare was a different ball game in terms of engaging the fans – to reward those who show up in person. By establishing a Foursquare presence, the Redskins became the first NFL team to have a badge on the location-based social networking site. Shripal Shah, Sr. VP, Digital Strategy at Washington Redskins said:

“We picked Foursquare for a couple of reasons,” Shah said. “A, it has the largest user base [among location-based services], and B, it allowed us to do a bunch of things, yet keep it really simple for our fan base. We didn’t want to make it too complicated. We wanted to make it fun and reward fans for coming to our games or watching the games.”

WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment)

People tend to perceive the WWE as a fringe cable channel with a small group of die-hard fans, outrageous story lines (like Trish hooking up with Vince McMahon..) and epic drama week in week out. But behind the scenes, there’s a real fight to engage its audience. WWE used to support its own social network called WWE Universe during the last three years.

Soon, they realized that it’s main Facebook pages were more active than its custom social network. The company shut down WWE Universe in January 2011, and in preparation, began migrating its audience to its Facebook pages. WWE has focused its attention on making sure its content is available on the key social networking sites where its community is growing rapidly such as FacebookTwitter and YouTube.

So what exactly was the reason for social networking? Purely and simply, to fill in the gaps that occur between TV episodes, by creating a connection via social media.

“Our form of content is really entertainment, it’s not sports. So, a lot of ‘news,’ if you will, is really an extension of the storyline that you’re seeing on TV. One of the things that WWE can do as a program that runs 52 weeks a year that is literally scripted week by week, is that we can augment our storylines with simple feeds to these social networks on a weekly basis. So, with a two-hour show that runs on Monday, we have the ability to, two or three times a week, prompt that something else is happen and that [fans] should see it. [We can] continue the story that ended on Monday night and carry it through to the next Monday night.”

Final thoughts

As mentioned in the examples above, it is never enough to just settle for one social networking platform hoping that things will work out by itself. Leveraging a combination of social networking tools will greatly enhance an organisation’s digital presence and develop their networks across multiple social networking platforms.

For your enterprise social networking strategies to be a success, you need to ask yourself these questions:

  • Who are your target audiences?
  • Where are they “nesting”?
  • How do i engage them in a way that interests them?
  • What are the tools that suit my social media campaign?

Washington Redskins targeted their loyal fan base and made good use of Foursquare to interact with them. The fans enjoyed the process as it was a fresh idea that was not done before and there were incentives up for grasp. Dell realized that most of their potential customers were “nesting” on a local platform instead of Twitter.

They moved swiftly to join the crowd. WWE used a variety of social networking tools to fill the gap between each TV episode by enticing viewers to watching their TV shows and keep them excited. And now, i present my social networking strategies:

  1. Understand your customer’s needs (e.g. ask the four questions above)
  2. Find ways to use social media in filling up the gap when customers are not directly interacting with your brand or product (e.g. viral marketing on Twitter)
  3. Excite your customers – Give them something to look forward to (e.g. rewards, incentives)
  4. Fully utilize existing social networking tools when fit to engage your customers on all fronts (e.g. get people to check-in at conference venues using Foursquare).

Here are some links and references:


Corporate wiki strategies

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In this week’s post, i will be introducing some corporate wiki strategies. Wikipedia comes to mind when people hear the word wiki but there are multiple ways to utilize a wiki within an organization that are very different from the conventional Wikipedia. Corporate wikis are more aligned to the day-to-day activities, demands, and goals in a working environment.

Thousands of organizations ranging from Microsoft to FBI use wikis to harness the collective intelligence of their employees, providing them with a platform to electronically converge and collaborate on work-related matters from planning of meetings and documenting best practices to innovating new ideas about new products and business processes.

Some things that an organisation can do with a corporate wiki:

  • Build knowledge repositories (e.g. employee’s handbook, Q & A)
  • Document business processes
  • Project management
  • Meeting agendas/minutes
  • Brainstorming for ideas

Barriers to adoption

The disruptive nature of wikis can make managers squeamish, especially in organisations with very hierarchical management styles (top-down culture). The management’s unease are all about employees’ solving problems among themselves instead of waiting to be told what to do therefore hierarchical cultures limits the effectiveness of wikis. Managerial climates may need to adjust themselves in order for organizations to fully take advantage of the technology.

If every employee is afraid to modify a page on a wiki that was written or edited by management staff, it defeats the purpose of having a wiki in the first place. Corporate wikis work best when the management encourages everyone in the company to put ideas forward in good faith.

Of course, employees still need to recognize that the management makes the final decisions at the end of the day. That being said, if the CEO gets his facts wrong on a wiki, in an ideal world, you would want the employee who spotted it to respectfully and carefully fix it.

Corporate wikis in action

There are many success stories revolving organisations using wikis to good effect. IBMSAP, and Sony Ericsson use wikis as part of their developer networks. Other companies such as Pixar, Carbon Five, and Red Ant use wikis to collaborate with clients and manage production of major projects. Take Pixar as an example,  they used a wiki to manage new computerized animation tools for the studio’s planned 2008 release of a film called “WALL-E.”

Intelpedia was developed in 2005 by Intel engineer Josh Bancroft with the purpose to aid his co-workers making company information quick and easy to access.  By April 2008, the wiki had approximately 25,000 pages with 100 million page hits. Roughly 500 changes are made to the wiki each day and more than 8,700 people have made contributions to it. This is what he had to say:

‘In the four-plus years that Intelpedia has been up and running, I have had exactly zero reported instances of an unwanted edit — of someone spamming or vandalizing or doing something inappropriate.’

He added:

“By necessity, a lot of sensitive information needs to be controlled,”

Josh his colleagues also formed a voluntary group, the Intelpedia Distributed Editors to “garden” contributions by newcomers.

Sydney based web company RedAnt built their work structure around a wiki platform called confluence.  The wiki was used as a main collaboration hub between employees and customers. Ben Still, managing director of RedAnt said:

“Say, for instance, we’ve created a design and need to show it to our client. First, a designer makes a page, attaches an image, and they’re done with their part. But then I might look at it and realize that it needs a bit more explanation, or a link to a wire frame diagram to give context.

One of our developers might have also mocked up how a menu works, and so they stick in a link to that. Our client might email the link around, and then add some comments on the page.

This kind of collaborative workflow is one of our strengths, and it is really important for us to be able to add these various types of content easily.”

Final thoughts

So what does it take to implement a great wiki? It is important to factor in issues that comes with the management style of your organisation. Looking at some of the examples above who were successful with their own wikis, it is easy to see why it had worked for them.

Intel regulates the content of the wiki on a consistent basis and this provides managers the assurance they need.  A social media policy should be put in place. By allowing a controlled level of autonomy to employees, they are able to express themselves and innovate without crossing the line.

Often wikis work best if the bosses stay at arm’s length. I’ve been very hands-off at Wikipedia, particularly when it comes to detailed editing conflicts. From the beginning, I didn’t want people to feel they had to agree with me or that the wiki should reflect my political opinions.

Also, by staying above the fray, I get people’s attention when I do weigh in on something. As a leader, you should participate, but gingerly. – Jimmy Whales

And now, i present my 5 corporate wiki strategies:

  • Have a ranking system where respected editors (e.g. wiki champion) can help manage the wiki
  • Create clear wiki guidelines and policies.
  • Choose a wiki that is intuitive with high usability because the happiness of your users — who ultimately drive the success or failure of a wiki since it’s a tool that harbors collective intelligence — depends on it.
  • Authenticate users – There shouldn’t be any anonymity when it comes to who edits it. Activity on the wiki needs to be transparent, clear and traceable.
  • Access levels – Some wikis should only be accessed, read and edited by a group of executives while other more public wikis can be modified by any employee.

Corporate blogging & micro-blogging strategies

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In this week’s post, we will look at some blogging strategies that organisations (such as the IGC – International Geological Congress) should adopt to pave the road to success.

Corporate blogging

So first and foremost, why have a corporate blogging presence? Here are some of the reasons why you should:

  1. Provide the platform for organisations and their employees with exposure as thought leaders in their industry/domain
  2. Enhance the visibility of the organisation/build brand awareness
  3. Provide your employees, clients, and prospects a platform for interaction/collaboration to take place
  4. Leveraging blogosphere and search engine technologies to increase the organisation’s findability towards the wider audiences of the internet.

Blogging is a way for organisations to become “less corporate” and put a human face when interacting with current or potential customers. People relate more effectively to other people instead of a logo or corporate brand. Additionally, a corporate blog represents the company’s values and philosophy.

Blogging also facilitates communication with customers in a more personal/informal and direct way but more importantly, blogging provide customers with a much needed channel to interact with the organisation. Customers are able to give comments and potentially provide valuable feedback or insight that will improve the business.

Here are some of the blogging strategies provided by social media experts of the Fortune 500 companies such as Michael Brito, Social Media Strategist at Intel and LaSandra Brill, Manager, Web & Social Media Marketing at Cisco:

1. Find out if blogging is an ideal solution as part of the organisation’s marketing strategy

There are many companies that are lured by the idea of blogging. It is essential to understand the target audience and determine if a blog is a good way of having interaction with them. Conduct some research on the socialsphere to learn what the target audiences generally does online.

2. Form a blogging team

Prior to shortlisting of candidates to form a team, the company needs to determine if the blog will only have one single voice or multiple authors. Cisco, HP, and Intel blogs have various authors. If the company has many products and services in its portfolio, then having a variety of subject matter experts to cover specific topics would be ideal. Brill said:

“We chose a heterogeneous team of experts to make sure we had coverage in all of the areas our customers might be interested in.”

Companies can also select a specific employee to be the sole blogger.

3. Train the bloggers

It is important to train the team on blogging best practices, writing tips, and promotion. At the same time, a corporate social media policy should be put in place to avoid future complications. The bloggers must be aware of the “dos” and “don’ts”.

4. Establish a comment policy

The main objective of setting up a blog is to establish a two-way conversation between the company and its customer. It is important to give readers a share of the pie through commenting as this will forge a closer relationship between both parties. Circumventing that will lose readers. Bloggers and employees should be encouraged to post and respond to comments quickly and effectively in order to keep the dialogue going.

Dealing with foul languages and spams are part and parcel of blogging. Cisco, Intel and HP allow positive and negative comments to be posted. When dealing with negative comments, Brill said:

“Most comments are published within a couple hours including negative comments. Negative comments are handled on a case by case basis – sometimes it is best to sit back and let the others in the community chime in and sometimes clarification maybe needed to set the facts straight. In other cases we engage the commenter directly to understand the negativity.”

5. Marketing the blog

There is no point in having a great blog that will not gain traction. The target audience needs to know of its existence in order to visit it. Brito said:

“It’s about equipping and training the bloggers to participate in the conversations that are happening of the corporate domain. Are they on Twitter, Friendfeed, MyBlogLog and Facebook? Are they spending considerable amount of time building community within these channels and responding to relevant comments? And are these tools talking to each other and pulling in feeds?”

Prior to launching the blog, bloggers can start developing their digital presence and build a network on various social media platforms.


Micro-blogs are mini posts or updates that can be sent instantly to blogs. There are a number of services for micro-blogging such as TwitterJaiku and Pownce. Social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace also have micro-blogging features embedded in them (status updates). So what’s up with micro-blogging?

Micro-blogging is appealing to people because it is instant and they can send updates on mobile devices, making it more accessible and convenient. Here are some micro-blogging strategies:


The biggest value micro-blogging provide to events are live updates of the events themselves as they unfold so that readers from home will know what is happening at the scene. This experience can be enhanced by combining the updates with Google maps. We can give up-to-the-minute updates to people all across the globe.

Service options

Explore different micro-blogging services. Some of them may be of more relevance to the event planning business and provide greater value. E.g. Pownce offers additional functionality such as file-sharing and event invitations on top of their micro-blogging service. You are able to send e- invitations or tickets to your community.

Customer 101

Using Twitter is a good way interact with your customers and forge closer relationships between company and customer. From a range of enquiries to customer feedback/complaints and technical support, Twitter can do it all.

Additionally,  Twitter can be leveraged to constantly inform your audiences about the traffic situations on route to your events. This is a great way to gain a competitive edge over your competitors.

Final thoughts

Blogging and micro-blogging are closely-knitted. Every interaction you have with someone online (e.g. micro-blogs), should somehow lead them back to your main blog/website. Twitter and micro-blogging excels when you push thought-provoking byte-sized content and link back to resources on your main blog.

A two-pronged attack on both fronts will greatly enhance an organisation’s digital presence and allow high levels of interaction between the intended parties. The online publicity gained from both approaches hand-in-hand will help the organisation to achieve their goals in the foreseeable future.

Here are some links and references:

The Social Media ROI Cycle

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In this week’s post, i am going to share with you an article by Jamie Turner on social media ROI. Most companies today have difficulty in understanding return of investment (ROI) of a well-run social media campaign. In order to do that, you need to know the math and this is entirely against the myth that social media was only about getting more followers on Twitter and accumulating more “Likes” on Facebook.

According to a survey by Econsultancy in 2010, 47% of the companies surveyed were “not able to measure” the value of their social media campaign and “the jury is still out” on the value of ROI for their social media campaign.

The reality is that the future of social media revolves around math, metrics and monetization. So if your company has not been evaluating its ROI for social media, the campaign doesn’t bode well for the long term . In Jamie’s article, he analysed how businesses are setting up, launching and running their social media campaigns and concluded that there are 3 main stages to this process which he called the Social Media ROI Cycle.

3 stages of Social Media ROI Cycle

At the Launch stage, a company is 100% focus is on setting up accounts for the big four (LinkedInFacebookTwitter and YouTube). Some companies focus on the big four plus others such as Flickr, e-newsletters, blogs, SlideShare and other social media platforms. But most companies get off the mark very quickly by venturing into the big four networks purely and simply to create their social media presence. The primary objective is simply to get started.

The approach at this stage is very executional without much planning for the long-term. The campaign is at an infant state therefore the results are negligible. Obviously the company can now claim to have a social media campaign but you will not really see much traction until the next stage.

At this stage, approximately 60% of a campaign is focused on the big four (or the big four plus others). Roughly 10% of the focus is on creative and offer development, 20% on tracking quantitative metrics such as traffic, inbound links, Facebook “Likes,” etc., and another 10% on qualitative metrics such as the brand’s sentiment analysis, survey results and customer polls.

The approach during the Management stage is still very tactical with the focus on mid-term results which is an improvement over Stage 1. The whole idea at this stage is to engage prospects and customers in one way or another to connect with the brand. Ideally, this would mean buying one of your products, but it could also mean downloading a file, “Like” a Facebook page or any other quantifiable evidence showing that they are connecting with your brand.

Stage 2 is where many of the big companies find themselves at right now. They are  in the process of managing their social presence, testing new ideas, tracking quantitative metrics and analyzing qualitative data to see how the campaign has been faring.

In the final stage, about 25% of the focus is on the big four and about 30% is evenly split among creative and offer development, quantitative metrics and qualitative metrics. Another 25% of a company’s focus is on improving conversion and optimization of the campaign.

It’s all about tracking inbound leads and traffic across social media platforms, using tools such as Google AnalyticsALTASand DARTS to track those statistics and watch those leads turn into your customers. It also means testing your way to success with social media campaigns: e.g. comparing 2 different landing pages to see which one drives more clicks.

The final 20% of a company’s efforts in Stage 3 includes measuring of ROI for the social media campaign. This process requires an understanding of your Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) – “the amount of revenue a customer will bring to your company over the course of their lifetime with your brand” and comparing it to the results generated by your social media campaign.

For example, if a typical customer spends $5 per month with your company and remains loyal to your brand for an average of 2 years, your CLV is $120 (24 months x $5). Most companies are happy to part with 10% of their CLV to obtain a new customer.

This means that they’ll spend $12 to acquire a new customer who will spend $120 during his or her engagement period with the brand. If your social media campaign’s expenditure costs $12,000 annually and its capable of  generating 1,000 new customers each year, you know you’ve got an ace up your sleeves.

Final thoughts

As Jamie said:

In the end, all roads should lead to social media ROI. After all, businesses don’t do social media to be social, they do social media to grow sales and revenues.

If you carefully navigate your way through Stage 1, Stage 2 and Stage 3, you’ll eventually be able to go up to your CFO and say, “Hey, Chief Financial Dude, remember when you told me we wouldn’t be able to measure the ROI of our social media campaigns? Well, we’re already doing it, and we’re making a profit, you knucklehead. So there!”

It is a daunting to task to put a dollar figure on your social media campaign. You can find many different ways of calculating ROI on the internet and most of them require a considerable amount of effort to collect data and statistics to measure the success of your social media campaign.

Today’s post presents a perspective on the monetary side of things. Early adaptations of social media ROI included terms such as Return on Engagement and Return on Participation that addresses the socialization of media, marketing, and the resulting dynamics of engagement. There are times where it “ain’t all about the money”.

Collaboration among your employees facilitate knowledge sharing and retention. It can improve the way they work and improve your day-day business processes and generate new innovative ideas for problem solving but the big question mark still remains: how do you put a price tag on something that is as intangible as this?

Here are some links and references:

I will end today’s post with a video on social media ROI. Til next week people! 🙂

ESPN take no prisoners with social media

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This week’s post discusses about the legal limits of social media to an organisation. As we all know, social media is somewhat of a double-edged sword. It can be your best ally, but also a genuine threat to your business if people (such as employees) decide to push the boundaries and get into legal trouble. Many organisations today leverage social media as a tool for marketing and means for collaboration between employees and customers. Almost every big company has a Facebook or Twitter page.

Blogs and Wikis are such examples of social media platforms available for them to engage in collaborative work and build their digital brand. It is a great marketing tool to reach out to a larger audience but things can go pear-shaped pretty quick if no proper measures (e.g. having a proper social media policy) are put in place to keep an organisation’s social networking endeavor in-check.

One major risk that comes with engaging in social media is that social media sites can distort the boundaries of working and personal lives of employees. This means that a disgruntled employee can go to Facebook ranting about his version of “a bad day at the office” but the consequences of his action could cause legal implications both to him and his employers

Social Media Policy (SMP)

According to Dundas Lawyers:

Social Media Policy (SMP) is a document that suppliments a contract of employment to be legally enforceable by an organisation on its employees. The aim of an SMP is to clearly communicate what is acceptable conduct on Social Networking Sites by an organisations employees and contractors and what conduct is unacceptable and would make an employee liable to dismissal. An SMP is distinct from an organisations Social Media Strategy (SMS) which is a high level document that communicates how an organisation plans to participate in social media.

So what can a SMP protect the company both internally and externally against?

  • Conduct of employees that an employer may be vicariously liable for
  • Copyright breaches
  • Trademark
  • Confidentiality breaches
  • Privacy breaches
  • Defamation
  • Discrimination claims

and the list goes on…

ESPN was one of the first sports media companies to engage social media issued an official policy for social networking that controlled and regulated what the employees (e.g. anyone in the public eye, such as anchors, analysts, reporters, columnists, etc.) is allowed to discuss on their personal blogs and Twitter accounts. The details of ESPN’s SMP was deemed “short sighted” and“draconian” by sports bloggers but the company felt it was absolutely necessary to constantly maintain good rapports with their audience. And unsurprisingly, one of the key points in the policy was: “Assume at all times you are representing ESPN”.

Here’s part of an interview with ESPN’s editor in chief, Rob King:

SBD: Let me ask that another way. What’s out there [on Twitter] that made you raise an eyebrow

King: I can think of cases in which folks have re-tweeted breaking news that turned out not to be true. Some day somebody’s going to get sued somewhere for re-tweeting something that is false. That’s part of a great IQ test that represents the introduction to social media. That’s just from a journalistic perspective, one that has to be taught and managed very carefully. I don’t know which media company is going to run into it. But some day, somebody’s probably going to find themselves in a court of law. That was in no way a line of thought that drove this conversation. But if you’re asking me, personally, sometimes I see folks re-tweeting stuff that is essentially breaking news without really a sense of the sourcing. It runs counter to the journalistic training that folks ingrained in me.

and he went on:

SBD: Explain ESPN’s ban on personal Web sites. Does that mean that someone like Jeremy Schapp can’t operate a Web site?

King: I hate the word ‘ban.’ The guideline on the personal Web site is that they should not be representing sports content at all. If Jeremy Schapp wants to have a Web site that has no sports content on it whatsoever, I think that’s fine. We felt like our forward-facing talent’s relationship with the audience happens through ESPN media. We wanted to reiterate that’s the relationship we expect as long as people are part of the company.

than someone decides to play by his own rules…

Bill Simmons, an ESPN writer, learned the hard way that there are consequences for what you write on Twitter. He broke those rules established by ESPN and the proper use of social media. The consequence? A suspension from Twitter for 2 weeks! So what was he guilty of?

Final thoughts

While it is always difficult to prevent a social media disaster from happening as with the Bill Simmons case, having a through social media policy will certainly have its part to play in mitigating the situation. The penalty that Bill Simmons paid will certainly signal ESPN’s intent of taking no prisoners when it comes to the use of social media. It puts pressure on employees to think twice before acting and this will help reduce similar incidents from happening again in future as ESPN’s NBA writer, Ric Butcher will tell you:

And what about Jeremy Schapp? His expertise and insight knowledge are being tied to the organisation he is working for. While ESPN’s hard-line stance might seem a tad too harsh and controversial, where do we draw the line? I will end my post with a video that typifies why ESPN are adopting a tough stance on social media usage against their employees.

Here are some useful links and references:

Enterprise 2.0 Risks & Benefits

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Enterprise 2.0 is all about empowering employees the ability to work more effectively to achieve their business objectives. This new shift in paradigm is built around the use of more flexible, collaborative tools that extend community knowledge – which in most cases is most effective if the organisation’s culture is more transparent and less hierarchical. Implementing Enterprise 2.0 has been rewarding for most organisations and these benefits include:

  • Greater ability to share ideas
  • Improve accessibility to knowledge expertise
  • Reduce cost of communication, travel and operations
  • Improve overall employee satisfaction

On the flip side, it can become a double-edged sword as increased transparency has to be moderated with regulatory and other legal requirements. Some of the issues that an organisation risk for not implementing Enterprise 2.0 include:

  • Unauthorized usage of web tools – employees many use unauthorized external tools to get their work done, this can lead to IT security risks due to the lack of integration with existing systems
  • Retaining your best talents – can impact organisation’s ability to attract and retain young talented people if they are perceived as “not an attractive and technological advance company”
  • Reduced competitiveness – competitors will have the edge by getting a head start from using Web 2.0 technologies, and it can become extremely difficult to overcome

Initial resistance can be expected for people to accept the Enterprise 2.0 working culture. They are not convinced by the new way of working and it is entirely understandable that one is not willing to change for something that they are not comfortable with. According to Ajay from Oracle, here are some of the best practices that an organisation can adopt to overcome this organisational resistance to change and eventually, realizing the benefits of Enterprise 2.0:

  • Gradually integrate the use of Enterprise 2.0 technologies into the employee’s day-to-day activities
  • Provide informal incentives (e.g. expertise rating/recognition) for meaningful contributions
  • Integrate Enterprise 2.0 approaches with other modes of customer/partner interaction

Motorola IT department’s Enterprise 2.0 initiative to encourage collaboration within the organisation was a huge success. With approximately 70,000 people using it every day including business partners, the company now has 4,400 blogs and 4,200 wiki pages in use, among other web tools include social bookmarking and tagging by Scuttle and social networking by Visible Path.

Intranet 2.0 started slowly but grew organically by word-of-the-mouth and the use of 250 “knowledge champions” strategically allocated within the organisation to evangelize the self-serve collaboration platform. Motorola VP Toby Redshaw made it a point to the keep the platform simple to use so that it is easier for employees to embrace the new way of working, decreasing barriers to adoption.

E-mail used to have a lock on the company and Redshaw observed that there has been a significant drop in e-mail usage and more use of technologies like wikis and blogs to share information to wider audiences. On the topic of ROI, Redshaw admitted that it was always going to be complicated to put a figure on how much profit Enterprise 2.0 technologies brought to Motorola. Instead, he talked about how exactly work has changed since the implementation of Intranet 2.0. Within the IT organization:

  • Product development times were significantly reduced
  • Instead of developing a different pitch for every client, salespeople can now reuse information that might be posted on a wiki
  • In Motorola’s Dallas distribution centre, employees clicking on mobile alerts that come to their smart phones are sent directly to a wiki to troubleshoot problems

Motorola VP, Toby Redshaw on the intangible benefits of speedy collaboration:

“I don’t beat Nokia or Cisco or Siemens by having better buildings or shinier cafeterias,” he said. “Companies are human beings solving problems or responding to crises by working with each other. If you can make your company less of a top-down company at a higher speed than your competition, you have just kicked their butts.”

Another challenge Redshaw noted was controlling and regulating proper usage of social media within the organisation. The locked-down approach has worked for Motorola so far because while Enterprise 2.0 technologies might start small, they can quickly become unwieldy therefore there must be a plan (e.g. social media policy) to keep the use of Enterprise 2.0 technologies within the organisation in-check. He said:

“If you let people build this in pockets, when it gets big, you will have this enterprise layer of spaghetti that you will never align.”

Final thoughts

Motorola has shown the way forward on how to successfully integrate Enterprise 2.0 technologies within an organisation. Their “locked-down” approach presumably revolves around a specific social-media policy to protect the interests of the company and mitigate any potential risks. Its Enterprise 2.0 initiative started slowly, but gradually blossomed and this allowed time for the entire organisation to adapt to this new change in working culture. Before we end, I will leave you guys with a video on how to measure social media ROI.

Here are some useful links and references:

Enterprise 2.0 in action

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In this week’s post, i am going to talk about some real life examples of companies that have successfully embedded Enterprise 2.0 strategies into their organisation to improve business performance and harnessing collective intelligence internally for their own benefits.

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines is renowned for its active involvement in social media networks (Twitter, Facebook and Flickr) among customers. Based in Dallas, it has more than 3,500 employees and serves more than 65 cities in America. With more than 3,000 departures daily, the company serves tens of thousands of people each day.

Social Media stats:

  • More than one million followers on Twitter
  • Voted top 40 best Twitter brands by Mashable in 2009
  • Almost 1.7 million likes on Facebook

As you can see from the statistics above, they have established a huge community on the Twitter. Since 2007, they have been engaging their followers (potential customers) directly for sales & advertising purposes but also respond to customer queries & complaints. The timeline column was used to track those complaints and mitigate the situation directly through Twitter.

Film maker Kevin Smith claimed that he was kicked off the flight when boarding the aircraft in February 2010. Understandably, he vented his frustrations on Twitter and here’s the script.

They also had a blog setup to encourage employees and customers in sharing stories about their travel experiences and travel related issues. By allowing customers to have control of their own contributions on the blog, Southwest was seen as a trustworthy brand.

Here’s a video on Southwest Airlines and social media in action!

General Electric (GE)

GE is an American multinational conglomerate in New Jersey and ranked the 6th largest firm in the U.S. SupportCentral, is a hugely sophisticated enterprise collaborative system that was custom-built for tailoring to the needs of its extremely huge organisational size and global operations.

Social media stats:

  • 400,000 global users in 6,000 over locations around world, all working via a web interface that is available in 20 languages.
  • The system gets more than 25 million web hits per day. (More than employee usage of Google and Yahoo combined together!)
  • Users have created over 50,000 communities with over 100,000 experts signed up to answer questions and manage information.

So what do all these stats mean for GE? SupportCentral offers a number of networking models (people, communities, documents and discussions). Depending on the nature of their work, users get to select which models suit them best. The system instills a unique organisational culture in terms of self-learning, networking and communication within GE’s large employee base.

On top of that, the system also reduces cost up to millions of dollars in annual savings.  This is largely due to the thousands of hours of time per day that employees will save as they are able to track down the information they need at their finger tip. It also has firewall ‘pinholes’ to external destinations that allow external vendors, suppliers and customers to participate on specific projects. About 30,000 external users access the system through the firewall pinholes to participate in specific communities.

We’ve gone out of our way to call it professional networking rather than social networking. We’ve been building a professional-networking capability that allows everybody to put in the organization directory the skills that they bring to bear. It’s very searchable, so if someone is looking for a particular skill, they can go to that site. That gets about 25 million hits a day, so it really is becoming sort of a heartbeat of the company. – GE’s CIO, Gary Reiner

Looking through the lenses of Wikinomics business model,

Peering – Twitter was leveraged by Southwest to harness collective intelligence from their followers to get real-time information on issues and potential problems of the airline. In the case of GE, they had an internal enterprise social networking system that encourages sharing and collaboration between employees.

Being Open – Dealing with complaints as openly as on Twitter demonstrated the airline’s approach of being transparent in customer service management . Blogging was used as the platform for collaboration and related issues or messages could be conveyed easily between both parties. They had nothing to hide and the customers appreciate that. Access to SupportCentral is not only restricted to internal GE staff. External vendors can collaborate with GE for certain projects when required.

Sharing – Information could be exchanged easily between Southwest and their customers through blogging and other social media platforms. GE staffs or external parties have access to documents and other communities easily within SupportCentral.

Acting global – The use of social media platforms allows Southwest to globalize their business by engaging people from all around the world while SupportCentral links all the GE staff to an integrated enterprise collaborative system that are distributed around the world globally – no geographical constraints to restrict sharing and collaboration.

Final thoughts

This brings me to the end of this week’s post. Hope you people will see the dynamics of running an enterprise in a different light. Both organisations mentioned in this post encourages a high degree of collaboration internally and externally but the type of tools used: free to use social media tools vs. custom social networking tools opens up another area for debate as to which is better than the other.

Enterprise 2.0 is the next step forward and it will be interesting to see a shift in working culture with social media and other networking tools at the centre of an organisation for years to come.

Here are some useful links and references: