This needs your vision: Managing beyond Web 2.0 McKinsey Quarterly

Artist Liz Wolfe

Artist Liz Wolfe

Post found at Managing beyond Web 2.0 – McKinsey Quarterly – Business Technology – Strategy

Companies should prepare now for the day when Web 2.0 morphs into Web 3.0.

JULY 2009 • Donna L. Hoffman,

This is a Conversation Starter, one in a series of invited opinions on topical issues.

Read the essay, then share your thoughts by commenting.
It’s hardly news that the Internet has evolved into the primary vehicle for communication, information, and commerce.

But in a surprising twist, today’s online customers—as both producers and consumers of their own content and services—ferociously guard their online experiences. This trend, which goes far beyond Web buzz, is catching some executives by surprise and making others more than a bit worried.

What does this development mean for your company?

In effect, that its marketers are being replaced.

As markets morph into Web 2.0 “conversations” and consumers gain much greater freedom to pursue their own interests, customers are doing things that online marketing managers don’t necessarily want—or expect—them to do.

For example, they can easily connect with one another, often using multimedia sites such as YouTube and Flickr, so they themselves can satisfy their need for information about products.

What’s more, consumers may trust information obtained in this way much more than they do information from your company. What will happen when these consumer experiences are much more interesting than anything your marketers have put up on the Web?Register to read this article.

Read more and discuss via Managing beyond Web 2.0 – McKinsey Quarterly – Business Technology – Strategy.

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Dion Hinchcliffe: Ten top issues in adopting enterprise social computing

This blog has several items that refer to the excellent work of Dion Hinchcliffe. This post reflecting on The Engagement report is included because it reflects the intellectual and operational doubts that managers like me (even as I am an advocate) have about the adaption (and indeed, adaption is not implementing or managing) of social media in the corporate world. This post stimulated my thinking, created further insights for me how to adapt social media in an enterprise environment but also what it implies for me on a professional or personal level.

Working assumption for me at this moment: debate to be continued

July 27th, 2009Posted by Dion Hinchcliffe @ 8:32 am

Last week ZDNet’s Larry Dignan wrote an insightful post that analyzed the recent report from Charlene Li and the Altimeter Group/Wetpaint about early data that seems to show an intriguing correlation between social media engagement and corporate financial performance. The key finding was this:

To be specific, companies that are both deeply and widely engaged in social media surpass their peers in terms of both revenue and profit performance by a significant difference.

This report (details and copy here) is encouraging news for those embarking on applying social software to various parts of their business. But, as Larry points out, these numbers can be interpreted a number of ways. Many organizations would rather wait for best practices to solidify before climbing very far up the social computing adoption curve. So while there’s increasingly less question that there is genuine ROI in social media, the question still remains whether it can directly drive fundamental, bottom line performance in the average organization today.

This highlights a key conversational thread that came out of last month’s Enterprise 2.0 conference: Does social computing really deliver significantly better business performance? Or is it merely a minor incremental improvement?

Unfortunately, despite an growing body of encouraging case studies, evidence, and research, the jury is still out on total impact social computing will have on businesses. This return will even vary widely for many organizations for a number of reasons will explore below. At present, the uncertainty is simply because that there are not enough organizations that have incorporated social computing approaches (which encompasses the full range of social software as applied to business that include social networks and Enterprise 2.0 to things like crowdsourcing and social CRM) across their lines of business for us to get a complete enough picture. Even the ones that have done it, haven’t done it long enough to see what the results actually are.

Instead, as companies begin pilots and initiatives, we are seeing the first wave of issues cropping up as the larger cultural, IT, and business impact of social tools begins to be felt.

Social Computing Adoption Curve - Software and Processes

Sidebar: What is social computing? It’s the use of social software within and between organizations and any interested parties such as employees, customers, and partners. Social computing, as explained here, can usher in significant large-scale shifts in where productive forces and innovation come from. Organizations will all adopt enterprise social computing tools in slightly different ways and will generally proceed from ad hoc usage, often by applying widely available consumer tools at first, to more evolved open business models. As of this year, about half of all large organizations now have social computing tools deployed in some manner.

The following is a summary of the issues I’m hearing from practitioners in the field as well as from our clients and industry contacts.

While these ten issues with social computing are the ones I hear about most, your mileage will almost certainly vary. However, I believe them to be representative of where we are in 2009. Please note that these are by no means insurmountable obstacles and merely represent a good cross section of what early adopters typically encounter as they begin climbing the social computing adoption curve (see diagram above).

Ten top issues with social computing in business

  1. Lack of social media literacy amongst workers. Anecdotally, the farther a business is from the technology industry, the less likely that line workers will be familiar with the latest software innovations. Those who haven’t been maintaining blogs, updating wiki sites, using social networks, sharing information socially, etc. will require more education than those who do. Even the basics of netiquette as well as key techniques to get the most from social computing platforms such as encouraging the building of links between data, tagging information, or establishing weak ties over the network are often poorly understood even by frequent users of social computing tools. In short, social computing requires some literacy efforts in most organizations to achieve effectiveness, just like personal computing skills did a few decades ago.
  2. A perception that social tools won’t work well in a particular industry. There is often an assumption in many specialized industries — such as medicine or manufacturing, just to cite two random examples — that social tools won’t be a good fit for their specific vertical; that they are unique in some way that makes social business models inappropriate or a non-starter in some way. While many enterprise Web 2.0 advances have spread rather unevenly in many industries — with media and financial services often leading the way in early adoption — more and more evidence is accumulating that social computing tools have use in most, if not all, industries. However, more than five years after social software became common in private life, it’s still surprisingly common encounter a culture of resistance (though often to change in general, and not just enterprise social tools) in organizations that have fewer competitive pressures, are highly specialized, or are unusually late adopters of technology.
  3. Social software is still perceived as too risky to use for core business activities. There is still a broad sense with many that I talk to that social computing applications are more suitable for knowledge workers isolated from the mission critical functions of an organization or in more fungible areas such as marketing and advertising. There’s a sense that social computing is not for operations or key business capabilities. This can be ascribed variously to concerns about unpredictability, loss of control, or worries of introducing potential distractions to activities that directly and immediately affect the conditions of the business, including the bottom line. Interestingly, in my analysis of case studies and discussions with implementers, this is the very place where social tools have the most impact when deployed, usually by improving decisions, making key data (or potential experts with the information you need) more accessible and discoverable, and so on. In fact, no case that I can find has emerged of social tools disrupting the workplace in any significant manner, and almost all reports, some of which are indeed integrating social tools into key business processes, are positive. This concern will likely persist for a while yet, pending the arrival of a preponderance of research and internal results belies it.
  4. Can’t get enough senior executives engaged with social tools. I’ve been known to say that most senior executives in large organizations are often read-only users of their IT systems, whether it’s Outlook, their Blackberry, or operational dashboards. Despite even the earliest Enterprise 2.0 case studies confirming that social tool adoption is greatly improved by an organization’s top personnel leading by example, these are often the folks that have the least time to participate and little practical experience in doing so. (Note: Enterprise 2.0 is just part of the enterprise social computing spectrum, though a very important one.) It’s something I’m beginning to hear often, and that is lack of engagement by senior executives in most social computing efforts, public or private. I’m personally torn by whether this is critical for success in the long term, since social computing is largely about tapping into the cognitive surpluses within an organization and across the network, but it certainly is a key factor in the short term by slowing the effectiveness of adoption internally.
  5. There is vapor lock between IT and the social computing initiative. The famous IT/business divide is often holding up social computing initiatives, often by months — and in some cases for a year or more — as IT tries to find (and sometimes build) social computing applications that meet requirements for internal software, architecture, security, and governance standards, while still exhibiting the latest best practices on the social computing side. That many of the best social computing applications come from newer, smaller firms that often don’t focus on traditional enterprise requirements only exacerbates the issues. IT shops also tend to have limited understanding of the business side of social computing and try to shoehorn existing solutions on hand to solve business needs. While this isn’t automatically a bad practice, the classic example of SharePoint and Enterprise 2.0 illustrates how this can often become a charged issue and hold up efforts while it is resolved.
  6. Need to prove ROI before there will be support for social software. This is a classic anti-pattern for enterprise software acquisition in general (and Enterprise 2.0 in particular), and while there are certainly twists that are unique to social computing, the ROI proof objection has increasingly fallen by wayside with the growing number of successful case studies.
  7. Security concerns are holding up pilot projects/adoption plans. Because social tools make many things that were normally private much more public — including policies, procedures, critical methods, corporate data, and intellectual property — many organizations would rather wait for best practices in dealing with this important issue to solidify before climbing very far up the social computing adoption curve. We’ve seen a surprisingly increase and friendly reception lately for tools that address security as well as governance with social computing tools. I’ll explore some of these in an upcoming post.
  8. The needs around community management have come as a surprise. Social tools create audiences with a shared understanding and sense of community, as well as an internally guided direction. Without suitable management (help, support, guidance, moderation, administration, and planning) communities will eventually take on a life of their own. Community management is the facility through which they stay connected to the organization and its goals/needs while satisfying their own internal requirements. The staffing skills, team sizes, techniques, and tools of community management for the full spectrum of enterprise social computing needs is still something that we’re learning as an industry. This is also an emerging story that I’ll be covering this year as social computing matures in more and more organizations.
  9. Difficulties sustaining external engagement. As I discussed last year in covering 12 best practices for online customer communities, many organizations have trouble engaging the broader world using their own social computing initiatives. They build communities but their target audiences often ends up preferring the ones they built for themselves, especially if they perceive too cynical an approach or one that is too narrow for their needs (focusing on just a product from one company instead of an entire vertical or niche). Creating thriving social computing environments is still as much an art as a science and while engagement can always be generated through expensive traditional marketing and PR channels, learning the emerging rules for social business can really help.
  10. Struggling to survive due to unexpected success. More and more frequently lately I’m coming across enterprise social computing stories that had considerable and unexpected early success. This led to attention and scrutiny from across the organization and a subsequent struggle to fund a fast growing venture amid internecine turf wars, battles over control, and the battles with competing efforts. With social computing a foreign way of doing business for many organizations, the rapid growth of new effort can spell disaster without careful oversight, planning, and expectation setting. Building a strong network of friendly and well-respected sponsors internally can help this issue in particular.

Read more and discuss at

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Reflecting that rewarding is essential in important Conversations To Have To Bridge The Enterprise 2.0 Cultural Gap (tnx Barry Camson)

Post retweeted various times on Twitter and also found several items on Friendfeed. Content and context are alsl appreciated by me. I would prefer to add one thing. Connect behaviour with rewards. And if the behavior is not yet up to what is to be the culture in your organization start compact changes and start rewading written by Barry Camson July 2008

There appears to be a growing recognition that successfully dealing with cultural issues is a critical success factor in the deployment and adoption of Enterprise 2.0 tools and the changes in ways of working related to these tools.

Many of the presenters at the recent Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston spoke of the importance of culture in Enterprise 2.0 deployment in organizations. A common comment was, “it’s not about the tools, it’s about the culture.”

The change management challenge is to move the organization deploying Enterprise 2.0 tools from what may be a traditional, hierarchical, command and control culture to one that is less hierarchical, and more collaborative, agile, open and transparent – characteristics which are more congruent with Enterprise 2.0 tools.

Here are six conversations that I recommend occur in your organization that will help your organization bridge the cultural gap between the status quo and the organization as an effective user of Enterprise 2.0 tools. This builds on a previous post where I stated that “to optimize the technology and achieve improvements in organizational effectiveness…a focus on the overall organization is important.”

Preliminary Step: Discuss the nature of the Enterprise 2.0 tools being deployed.

A preliminary step prior to these six conversations is to educate members of the organization about these new Enterprise 2.0 tools. The matters to be shared include: the nature of the Enterprise 2.0 tools being deployed; how the tools compare with the popular Web 2.0 tools with which people may be familiar (Facebook, Twitter, blogs, bookmarking, wikis, search); how the new tools fit with existing tools being used; the major functionalities of the new tools; what the new tools will enable people using them to accomplish; the business and people rationale for the use of the tools; what is being initially asked of people; and how users will be trained in the use of the tools and what will be the resources for ongoing assistance.

The Conversations

1. Be explicit about cultural changes required to effectively utilize Enterprise 2.0 tools.

We currently have enough stored experience in using Web 2.0 tools and their Enterprise 2.0 counterparts that we can specify the behaviors, attitudes, norms and values that will be required to effectively use these tools in an organization. Cisco Systems is one example of this.

We can compare these behaviors, attitudes, norms and values to what exists in the current organization. We can ask, in what ways will we have to behave differently or need to develop different attitudes and values. One common example is moving from a “need to know” organization to a “need to share” organization. We can specify the changes that we desire and the extent of these changes. We can then identify what will be minor changes and what will be more significant changes. Finally, we can take some time to visualize these tools in use.

2. Learn from other user organizations about their experience using Enterprise 2.0 tools.

We can create multi-level linkages with other organizations that have successfully adopted a similar package of Enterprise 2.0 tools and learn about their experience – positive and negative. This knowledge of their experience can include knowledge about new behaviors, attitudes, norms and ways of working that they have successfully utilized. For example, how did they build the openness, reciprocity and trust necessary to operate in an Enterprise 2.0 mode?

3. Identify how mission performance can be enhanced in an Enterprise 2.0 context.

Begin an ongoing conversation about how these Enterprise 2.0 tools can be used to enhance the production of the organization’s products and services. How can these tools assist people in doing their jobs? What are the opportunities for new ways of working presented by these new tools, especially with regard to collaboration, knowledge gathering, knowledge transfer and use, and innovation and flexibility?

Discuss existing assumptions about what kinds of actions lead to successful mission performance and whether these assumptions have to be updated in the Enterprise 2.0 context.

Enlist customers in a two-way discussion of how the use of these tools by the organization can improve customer satisfaction.

4. Be clear about necessary new roles and how to put these roles into action and adjust to them.

In current working groups and at an organization-wide level, identify the roles that will be required for executives, mid-level managers and rank and file employees to effectively utilize these tools and to what extent this represents a change from current roles. Talk about the skills, responsibilities and authority that will be required for these new roles and about the behaviors and attitudes that go along with these new roles. Discuss how the organization will go about meeting the training needs for these new roles. Make it legitimate to talk about the feelings that go along with the loss of old roles and the opportunities presented by learning new roles.

5. Talk about how to reinforce and incentivize new behaviors.

Develop a list of the critical behaviors needed in using Enterprise 2.0 tools and new ways of working and how these can be reinforced through performance reviews, training, mentoring or otherwise incentivized. Discuss appropriate ways of using these approaches.

6. Share stories of successful use.

Identify and share stories of successful use of the Enterprise 2.0 tools and the desired behaviors, attitudes, and ways of working related to these tools. Help make the stories of successful cultural change a new currency in the organization and develop a repertoire of these stories of cultural change.  Ask people to share their experiences as they use the new Enterprise 2.0 tools.

Finally, in all of these conversations, ask people to talk in person as well as to utilize existing communications and networking media. Ask them to begin to have their conversations using the new tools. Set up a mechanism using the new tools to highlight the knowledge obtained in these various conversations. Designate a role, e.g. community manager, to facilitate conversations and create the spaces in which the conversations can occur.

Ask all affected people throughout the organization to join in these conversations.

The commitment of leadership to the cultural change should be reflected in the overall tenor of their comments even though they like others may not yet be clear on the specifics of the change. They should be engaging in dialogue and conversations focusing on what they can learn from other parties to these conversations.

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Can Commonities Pay Off?

Sound management guidelines written down in this post.

One thing that intrigues me is if the underlying principle of a community is always a relationshop. Or can a community exists by only encounters by people who have temporarily something common (and actually this is my point of view and call it therefore commonity).

Found at

By Françoise Tourniaire, FT Works

User communities (forums) are all the rage today so they definitely hit the cool factor — but can they also save you money?

1. Only if you use them well
A community won’t produce savings if it’s not alive and vibrant. You must actively promote the community to its users, seduce super-users into participating, and at least occasionally provide answers to languishing threads. Do not expect to get benefits without a sustained effort.

2. Size matters
Large communities provide much larger benefits because of the scaling effect: if 1 million users can see a useful post (and therefore don’t have to contact support) it’s much better than if 100 users see the same post. This does not mean that small communities are doomed but the possibilities are much more impressive with a larger community.

3. You should see savings very soon
If you are a veteran of CRM implementations (condolences!) you know that patience is required before savings are achieved. With communities you should see savings as soon as the community “takes off”, that is attracts enough users to see multiple daily posts (and answers!)

4. The big win is case deflection
Most communities generate savings by deflecting cases that would otherwise go to (expensive) assisted support and most of the deflection occurs indirectly, that is, from users who find an answer already documented in a post.

It’s not easy to capture deflection and seat-of-the-pants approach abound. Try a rational approach instead: ask visitors if they found an answer and if they intend to contact support.

5. And you may see additional benefits
Some of my clients are seeing real (i.e. quantifiable) benefits other than case deflection with: early detection of product issues; additional sales linked to the community; and savings in support investment such as being able to close out email support. Such savings are typically much lower than case deflection, but every little bit counts.

Whatever you do be conservative: communities should yield great benefits without having to torture the numbers.

Francoise_Tourniaire's picture

Françoise Tourniaire is the founder and owner of FT Works, a consultancy firm that helps technology companies create and improve their support operations. She has over 20 years’ experience as a Support and Services executive. Prior to founding FT Works in 1998, she was the VP of Worldwide Service at Scopus, a leading Customer Relationship Management (CRM) vendor

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Are lean and six sigma Prepared for the 3-Dimensial, Customer-Centric Processes you manage?

Photographer: unknown

Photographer: unknown

Midst April I already posted an item from Dick Lee in which he explained why LEAN and Sixma is hard to implement within Customer Service.

I did and do not agree!


If lean is about waste and SS about defects, both concepts (and believe me they are concepts), those concepts can be implemented in a way beneficial for customers, employees and enterprises. With an awareness that manufacturing capabilities indeed are about 6S and customer service (with a human interface) are at the max 3S. And that implies no rigid use of manufacturing tools.

For any operations just start with lean (eliminate your waste with common sense) and after achieving this start reaching for Six Sigma (control with common science).

I think in this way, both concept are applicable in a customer service environment!

With whom do you agree?

Found at

By Dick Lee, High-Yield Methods

The process world is entering a period of disruptive change, and that will significantly affect CRM and customer-centricity.

First, the rising power of customers is forcing process to become customer-centric, not company-centric. That means a complete turnaround in methods from traditional inside-out process that starts with internal needs to new outside-in process approaches that start with customer needs and let adding value to customers drive process design decisions.

Next, companies have tapped out most of the major process improvement opportunities in manufacturing. Accordingly, process attention is shifting towards office/service (O/S) in general, where opportunities abound, but with a very strong focus on front and back office process that directly affects customers.

And to make matters more challenging, 90%+ of process professionals practice either Lean or Six Sigma – both inside-out, manufacturing-based process approaches where customers do not drive process design, but only influence it at best.

Can practitioners take a crowbar to one or both to make them customer-centric?

They’ve tried, with only limited success with Lean, and less with Six Sigma?


Because manufacturing process has only one dimension – “how” work is performed. Production engineers determine “what” work is done and “who” does it before process engages.

However, to align process with customers, not only must process design rethink “what” work gets done and “who” best does it from the customer perspective, but process design also determines the enabling technology required, including management of customer data and addition of CRM and other customer-related software.

Both Lean and SS lack the requisite tools for determining two of the three dimensions, and the most important two for aligning process with customers.

Automation technology is determining more and more of the “how.” And neither Lean nor SS can deliver up comprehensive technology requirements to support customer-centric process.

Clearly, we need to start adopting 3-dimensional, customer-centric process approaches. That’s well within the realm of the possible using outside-in, but it’s well nigh impossible with inside-out approaches including Lean and Six Sigma.

Are you ready to redesign “what” work gets done and “who” does it–and take your company into the 3-dimensional, customer-centric process world?

Photographer: unknown

Photographer: unknown


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