At last week's E2.0 conference in Boston, I was surprised and pleased by the way my "in-the-flow" phrase has gained common currency. I was also surprised, but less pleased, by some of the "best practices" I heard flying around. Whether in keynotes, sessions, or just hallway conversations, I heard a lot of claims of dubious merit, claims like:
- Start with a small pilot and let it grow virally
- Invest heavily in community management, because a community is only as successful as its managers
- Workers won't use social software without personal incentives
- Workers who don't belong to the Facebook Generation don't "get" social software.
- Social software adoption requires a culture of collaboration
- You shouldn't launch collaborative tools without a collaboration strategy
There's a common theme behind all this advice: You should be scared of launching enterprise social software, because achieving adoption is really hard, really time-consuming, and really expensive. Sorry friends, but I'm calling Bullshit. In the hands-down best session I saw at the show, Karthik Chakkarapani from American Hospital Association described how AHA achieved phenomenal adoption. Here's the video Karthik's team put together. It's a must-watch for anyone interested in this topic. And for those of you with ADHD, here's the Cliff Notes version:
- Made Socialtext their Intranet (so there's one place to go).
- Integrated all mission-critical work tools into that very same Intranet (so there's one place to go)
- Implemented Single Sign-On to remove the barrier of extra logins for the different applications (so it's easy to get there)
AHA launched with a project team of 2 FTEs working for 3 months. Six months out they're getting over 95% active adoption. Karthik's success makes me think that a lot of E2.0 experts don't really understand what "in the flow" means. If your company is using social software in the flow of work, that means that the social software is where people work. It's not a side-room where happy people take time out to brainstorm, swap ideas, or post random tweets. It's where people go to work. Every day. And it ain't that hard.