Thanks to Zite (my favorite iPad magazine), last week I read one of the best blog entries that I've read in a while. Judging by the number of retweets and comments, it looks like a lot of people felt the same way. It was written by a social business practitioner who I met about 2 years ago: Laurie Buczek. Laurie called her post: "The Big Failure of Enteprirse 2.0 Social Business".
Laurie highlights the biggest challenge that most enterprises run into as they go into a path to become a social business: end-user adoption. This is something that I say almost every day with all types of organizations. As companies look to become a social business it's clear that choosing one vendor over another won't necessarily guarantee their success, rather it's about how the company is going to drive end-user adoption. After all, it's social software and without any users its hard to derive value.
Laurie summarizes the big failure of Enterprise 2.0 Social Business as:
The big failure of social business is a lack of integration of social tools into the collaborative workflow.
Ever since I started becoming more and more involved with social media for the enterprise, I've been promoting integration as the key to become a successful social business. At work I, of course, use our own social media platform. One of the things that's been key to drive my engagement and participation in that platform is all the integration points it makes available.
Laurie states in her blog "the biggest failure is the lack of workflow integration to drive culture change" and that's why I believe a social everywhere strategy is necessary as that is the easiest way to drive culture change. One of the examples that Laurie uses is adoption of Google+. While a lot of people seemed enamored with Google+, I still don't feel engaged in that social network. Perhaps it's because I don't use the web interface for GMail (I read my gmail on my iPhone or using Mac's Mail application) or any of the other services from Google such as Google Docs. I do use Google Search but I'm only in the google.com domain for 5-10 seconds as I wait for the search results to come back.
After reading Laurie's post, I feel others have the same challenges. Laurie says: "(Google+) is outside of how I get my work done ; my peeps aren’t 100% present and it isn’t integrated into social aggregation tools, such as Tweetdeck".
Laurie wraps up the post with recommendations on how to avoid this big failure. The recommendations are very similar to the ones I had included in a previous article: The Key to a Successful Social Business is Social Everywhere. The key takeaway is as you are looking at different social media platforms for your business, don't look over the different integration points that each one offers. If you pick one that doesn't integrate into the business tools that your employees already use, then you have to budget enough money to do the work and the integration yourself. Don't go after a strategy that will teach employees a new way to collaborate, but rather go after a strategy where your employees can collaborate more effectively from the tools (and [mobile] devices) they already use. That way you can ensure that you drive adoption the fastest way possible. Louis Richardson recently shared a presentation called the 3 Key Considerations for Social Business :
Louis Richardson's deck also ties into this as his first recommendation is to "Make your business social; don't make social your business". In other words, don't get into the business of trying to figure out how to integrate social into business apps, instead, pick a vendor that makes this as easy as possible. This will undoubtedly accelerate adoption and help your organization achieve ROI faster.
Laurie Buczek's entire must-read post is here.
Article first published as How to Avoid The Big Failure of Enterprise 2.0 Social Business on Technorati.