Which governance for your internal communities ?


For many enterprises, knowing how to manage their social spaces (ie: create an join their internal communities) is still a hot topic. The debate may seem trivial but it conditions the success of many projects, first in terms of adoption and then in terms of benefits.

Two main trends can be identified : the first is to consider that social spaces’ management must belong to the “corporate power”, the send is to trust employees, assuming they know more than anyone what they need. Maybe, once again, truth is in the middle.

Some things we have to be aware of :

– corporate authorities are certainly the most relevant people to create and manage spaces that are the carbon copy of the organization, of its org chart.

– corporate authorities are (most of times) incapable of identifying communities or groups that correspond to ponctual and/or local needs and that are not the carbon copy of the formal structure.

– employees are the one who are best at knowing why and when they need such working spaces.

– too many spaces kill spaces : if everyone as the ability to create any kind of social space whenever he wants, without any form of control, there are many chances to see redundant spaces that brings confusion and harm efficiency and productivity.

– culture matters : some companies won’t allow spaces that are not directly linked to work, some will allow any kind of group or community, assuming that whatever their purpose / topic is, they will foster stronger links between people at least, what is a good thing anyway.

Knowing this, there is no unversal solution but something acceptable would be :

– let the corporate authorities manage organizational structure based communities (departments, services etc…)

– self service spaces for any other need, with a possible validation workflow depending on people’s maturity…and trust. Validation may be delegated to local management or power users. If the tool that is used does not allow this…it’s a real gap.

– Anyway, regularly “clean” the spaces to avoid redundancy that prevent people to find what they need (and confuse them when they want to share something).

These are only simple rules but they may help to avoid many pre-project prevarications.

I also advise you to read this note by John Tropea if you want deeper insights on this kind of issue.