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February 18, 2011

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David M. Sherr

Just a quick correction on the origin of "The business of business is business." It was Herbert Hoover who first said that, circa 1927. Friedman just retweeted him 50-60 years later. Friedman and company want the only business to be business. His current acolytes are bent on destroying government at all costs to the community of the citizenry. This starts with the Citizens United case affirmed by the Supreme Court with two compromised yea votes. Citizens United wasa direct response to Obama's successful use of Social Media to win hi 2008 election. What is in store for Social Media in Round 3?

Michael Idinopulos

Thanks for the correction, David. There's a phrase you don't hear every day: "Milton Friedman retweeted him." Nice!

Absolutesubzero

Michael,
while I clearly agree with most of what you said (enterprise organizations are based on traditional flows, processes, structures, rules, authority, etc), I still believe Enterprise 2.0 and Social Business carry a deeper and broader transformational message that is not so far from communities.

If you reread Thomas Malone's "Future of Work" book (2004) or Gary Hamel's "Future of Management" or John Hagel's "The Power of Pull", you see a new paradigm evolving and growing inside corporations that yes, is able to better engage employees, customers, suppliers, partners but towards a very clear destination: making a more efficient, reactive, innovative, at the end profitable business.

While reading these books, I couldn't avoid thinking we are moving from a tyranny to a democracy to an open market. In other terms we are moving from command and control to a more diffuse involvement and responsibility of every employee in decision making and ultimately in the future of the business.

I agree, this is not talking about online communities as we know them on the web, but it is still a community-based concept of the organization enabled by embedding new tools and new management, leadership, incentivation, engagement approaches into the organization core.

So companies could look much more like communities, if you look at it from the right perspective :)

Andy Jankowski

Michael,
I like this post on several levels. I've researched many failed "enterprise social" implementations. The formula is quite simple and almost always the same. If the focus is on the tool, the implementation generally fails. If the focus is on people and process the implementation generally succeeds. I firmly believe that any enterprise social implementation should begin by looking across the business at which processes can and should be improved by changing the process to leverage enterprise social capabilities. I also believe that training people to use tools puts the emphasis on the wrong things (e.g., which buttons to click), but that training people new socially-enabled ways of working is paramount. A company will know they have succeeded in this area when employees independently start to think through processes, issues and challenges in context of what is possible in a socially-enabled enterprise.

Andy Jankowski

Michael, Your post inspired my blog entry today >> www.enterprisestrategies.com
Thanks again for your insight and inspiration. I welcome your comments.

Aaron Kim

I'm puzzled by what you mean by "Getty's Socialtext implementation is seeing 95% active adoption." How do you measure "active adoption"? I would expect 95% adoption if counting active + passive. Do you see any rate close to that across all your Socialtext clients?

Michael Idinopulos

Aaron, thanks for your comment. Absolutely! We're seeing quite a few clients hitting 95% when you count both active contributors and their colleagues who are lurking but not contributing.

twitter.com/themaria

Hi Michael,

I appreciate your thoughtful post, and thank you for drawing my attention to it. I think the distinction you are highlighting is actually key: internal social networks and communities are very very different than communities of consumers. The main reason is because their motivations for joining, and the jobs they are trying to get done are very different. You join a network / community at work in order to effectively and efficiently work across silos, get information faster, avoid working on stuff that's being already worked on. As a user, you also join so you can network across your organization; as a manager, you join so you can identify expertise on your team (and other teams) and possibly even have that play into your decisions to promote someone. Let's face it: being well networked internally, as well as externally, does help you propel your career forward. You join a customer community, however, in order to connect with other product users, or others who have a similar pain point as you. Very different end goals, and very different behaviors while engaging.

We polled our customers at Yammer to understand what the most significant benefits of collaborating have been: more effective communication, finding answers faster, saving time. Those are definitely improvements directly and indirectly to the bottom line.

As far as adoption numbers, that really depends. I've seen numbers vary all the way to around 80% of adoption (we don't have public numbers on this, but this is what I've seen personally). Why does it depend? On how the community is rolled out: is there a community leader, is there senior management buy-in, is there education, have you answered the question of "what's in it for me?" I wrote about engagement here: http://blog.yammer.com/blog/2011/03/engaged-community-best-practices.html

You are right on the money with regards to business process integration. That's something we always recommend to our users. We are working on better product integrations to help people manage their workflows, information flows, etc.

I could go on, but I'll stop here. I'd like to make myself available to you via email(maria at yammer-inc.com) or Twitter (@themaria) if you so choose.

Sincerely,

Maria Ogneva
Head of Community, Yammer

Ipttoolkit

Great post Michael. I definitely agree with you and I also agree with AbsoluteZero. Companies are constantly trying to measure the ROI of social media or social learning. To me that is a way to put "slow down the train of change". I am sure when the telephone came out, there was HOOPLA about how it would affect productivity. Businesses that uses social media should see it as a means to an end, just as a telephone or email allows communication (we don't try and ROI that). As you stated, if your social media strategy if focused on people and not on just the tool then success is more likely. I agree with AbsoluteZero that a paradigm shift is happening an customers/employees will have more of a say in company development. Just as Web 2.0 pushed out Web 1.0, social media is helping transform Business 1.0 into Business 2.0.

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