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Social Media Challenges in Business Similar to Early Internet Adoption October 30, 2009

Posted by carolhagen in communication, twitter, web 2.0.
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Here we are 40 years after the Internet was first used to send a message and business is repeating history with their adoption rates to new technologies. 

From a Robert Half Technology Survey and mentioned in Stowe Boyd’s blog post Enterprises Block Social Networks, 54% of US companies with over 100 employees have completely blocked sites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.  At the same time, analysts at Gartner are telling IT managers, Loosen up on social networks, security.   These opposing views remind me of the early years of the Internet.  You could walk into a business in the early 1980’s with a dozen PCs and one of them was not connected to the network.  That lone PC was connected to the internet, but it wasn’t safe to have the entire office on-line.  The reasoning was that some hacker could break in and steal all your accounting data and the employees would spend all their time surfing the net rather than working.  

This battlecry has reared it’s head in the business world with Social Media as “someone might say something negative about us.  We don’t trust our employees to work during working hours.  Lock it down.  Turn it off!”   The control must be kept by the CIO or communications director, and our lawyer and HR department are ready to reprimand any employee that crosses the line.  Oops, only 30% of business have a social media policy.   You can get help with social media and email policy from my earlier blog post Email Records retention Can Be Tricky.

This fear of social networking will handcuff the enterprise while competitors will leapfrog ahead.  If you don’t trust your employees with some responsibility, why did you hire them?  As Paul Proctor, a VP at Gartner says, “You cannot protect yourself from everything. You must learn to balance risk and performance.”  AIIM has gathered a number of statistics from surveys and research that help to explain the current state and where we are heading.   Here’s just a snippet to share:

Over half of organizations consider Enterprise 2.0 to be “important” or “very important” to their business goals and success.  Only 25% are actually doing anything about it, but this is up from 13% in 2008.  Knowledge-sharing, collaboration and responsiveness are considered the biggest drivers.  Lack of understanding, corporate culture and cost are the biggest impediments.

Let’s look at this from the perspective of the business leader.  They hear the word social and think of twittering “I’ll meet you at the pub after work”.  The word social needs to be replaced with business  collaboration when you bring the discussion from the IT department to the Board of Directors.    The real questions that business should be focusing on are:

  • How can we harness “collaborative” networks to improve communications, knowlege sharing, marketing efforts, etc?
  • Should our deployments be internal or external? 
  • Have we developed our business strategy to include these technologies?

There are numerous business reasons to embrace Social Media including public relations, brand building, lead generation, crisis management and search engine optimization.  Now that Twitter has deals with Bing and Google, to crawl the twitterverse,  I suspect a few more firms will be appointing a “corporate twitterer”.    You want to be planning now as I read in the Social Computing Journal , Nielsen Norman Group estimates “a timeline of approximately three to five years for most organizations to successfully adopt and integrate social technologies into their intranets.”  Better shake a leg.

SharePoint Savvy? September 8, 2009

Posted by carolhagen in Construction Industry - Software, Construction Industry Hardware, Sharepoint.
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Apparently many managers think SharePoint is the defacto industry standard when it comes to collaboration. While Microsoft has indeed designed a flexible solution with more features and functions, it seems to have become Microsoft’s solution to all things social too. After reading a few posts at Digital Landfill on the topic, we all need to consider how SharePoint addresses content management, collaboration, Enterprise 2.0, etc. It may create more silos and IT governance headaches than you bargained for.

What SharePoint does best is collaboration when dealing with “working” documents like construction contract negotiations. The iterations and revisions are easily captured and perhaps the sense of why a phrase was removed or a paragraph was added can be captured in the process.  I have also seen it widely embraced to relieve the need for shared drives and to offer project portals for job documentation.  The key to continued success in these deployments is implementation consistency.

SharePoint 2007 has been marketed as a content management system, but as explained in “8 Things SharePoint 2010 Needs to Be a True ECM System“, there are definite shortcomings that need to be addressed.  These include:

  1. Persistent Links
  2. Store Once, Use Many
  3. Honest to Goodness Records Management
  4. Better Metadata Management
  5. Reusable search templates…etc

Your Enterprise Content Management System surely can ingest Sharepoint posted documents.

While I’ve seen some consistent deployments, there are far more that are less than perfect.Even in a simple intranet scenario, allowing new folder creation and having no user naming conventions creates chaos.  One salesman told me that he knew a document was on their “site” but called into the office and requested it be emailed to him as it was faster than randomly guessing  which folders to look in. 

Establish SharePoint site auto-provisioning is just one of the “8 More Things You Need to Know About SharePoint“.   You’ll also want to review “8 Things You Need to Know about SharePoint Governance“.   Two gems from there are: There is no Easy Button and Some [SharePoint] options don’t have an undo button.  Plan accordingly recognizing that  IT Governance and discovery issues will be your Achilles Heal.   Do your research on products like Kazeon eDiscovery SharePoint Manager to minimize your e-discovery review costs before you need to.

Finally, if you are considering using SharePoint for Enterprise 2.0, there’s one more blog you need to read, “SharePoint 2007: Gateway Drug to Enterprise Social Tools“.  You’ll thank me for knowing what’s viable and what’s not. 

I’d like to hear from you if you’ve deployed Sharepoint…both successes and challenges you’ve face.  Comments on this blog are always welcome.

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