“Iâ€™ve spent the last 1.5 days with Digital Workplace practitioners and thought leaders discussing the connected enterprise and social media inspired ways of working. Once again I have left the venue inspired and with a lot of food for thought. However, I have to admit that there is a struggle with the transition to the next phase. “
With the introduction of â€œsocialâ€ to the mechanics of communication, collaboration & information flow within organizations we have changed the perspective from â€œoutsideâ€ to â€œinsideâ€. From a branding perspective we could â€“ or actually should! â€“ do the same thing when it comes to people brands.
If companies and their people managers are able to drive the profiling of high performers or subject matter wizards, we solve so many issues at the same time:
Capturing of intellectual assets and exposure to the organisation
Refinement and sharpening of people profiles as the foundation for relevance based delivery of information & communication
Improved retrieval of expert profiles (automated or manually)
My strong belief is, that the fundamental business case (the organisational one) lies in the enablement of individuals and teams to successfully execute on core business processes and navigate through the companyâ€™s business logic.
Whatâ€™s the project of your community?â€ I share her opinion that collaboration just for the collaborationâ€™s sake doesnâ€™t have much future in organisations that want to see some beef to the bone and ROI on their business productivity investments.
Without executive buy-in enterprise 2.0 will be going nowhere.
We need change agents and ambassadors to drive and implement change.
Enterprise 2.0 isnâ€™t a technology discussion. (Uhmâ€¦reality check: yes it is. In the end it always is. We just have to make sure that we have clarified the â€œwhyâ€ and â€œwhatâ€ before the CTO lets the â€œhowâ€ out of the boxâ€¦pun intended).
We need to nurture conversation and exchange across silos and we need to break up closed space thinking.
“I thought I would share my own summaries of the key case studies. They create a fantastic picture of the progress has made in E2.0 in Europe, but also demonstrate the journey ahead for even the most forward thinking, mature social businesses.”
SIKA: with over 17000 employees, SIKA has been working on itâ€™s ESN for 3 years now. Based on IBM Connections, the platform came out of an initiative sparked by employees creating Linkedin groups for internal collaboration.
Michelin Group: Viewed as an innovation in both tools and ways of working, the ESN implementation at Michelin Group was based on the BlueKiwi platform. Describing the project, Michelin Group used a simple but effective model:
Challenge â€“ install new working practices to support faster growth for the group;
Targeting â€“ every employee, unit, entity and geography.
Robert Bosch GmBH: the presentation by Katharina Perschke focused on the importance of their community management programme to the successful implementation of their E2.0 platform, Bosch Connect (with just over 270,000 associates on the platform it is the largest implementations in Europe). By the end of 2014, the corporate community manager (CCM) was a formal professional discipline, and with a ten week formal certification process, and a route to senior management now possible by pursuing this discipline, Bosch are taking CCM very seriously indeed!
BNP Paribas Cardif: the insurance subsidiary for the BNP Paribas bank launched their first community in 2008, and have been careful to keep the number of communities focused for their 10,000 employees. As Judith Will explained, after six years, the number of communities has only grown to 20.
Firstly, communities are not aligned to the organisational chart. Secondly, not everything is best achieved through a community. Thirdly, communities are not always permanent structures.
Continental: with over 170,000 employees in 300 locations in 49 countries, I can only begin to imagine the complexities of the ESN project at Continental, which Harald Schirmer was presenting on day two of the conference. A download of his slides are available here. Focusing on a new and dynamic role for HR within organisational change, Harald explained that their approach to social business was a more strategic one, with HR asking the key question â€˜what do we need to be in five years?â€™.
Bayer Material Sciences: Another IBM Connections implementation, this time co-habiting with SharePoint, amongst other things. An interesting presentation by CIO Laurie Miller covered the tools-led project that has been running at Bayer MS for some time. Laurie immediately grabbed our attention, opening with the classic Jack Welch quote â€œIf the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is nearâ€,
obvious passion for getting the basics right and elements such as the reverse mentoring program that she participated in, the train the trainer sessions to more effectively scale adoption efforts and the ambassadors network, all of which will pay dividends as the implementation progresses
Using their platform, Firmenich Wave, they have created a vibrant customer collaboration community with Unilever. All
“In the frenetic 21st century, when employees job-hop at an alarming pace, customersâ€™ preferences change on a dime, and every week could bring a paradigm shift to the business world at large, what sets successful companies apart is one thing: loyalty. Loyal employees keep operations steady, prioritize long-term success, and preserve priceless institutional knowledge.”
In other words, when the existence of an enterprise social network and related apps is taken for granted, in much the same way as document storage and email servers, then we can start to think about what new behaviours, new structures and new practices they make possible.
But whilst most companies are tracking low-level KPIs regarding usage, adoption and in some cases even impact on existing business processes, there is a clear need for better ways of talking about the organisational impact of social technologies that is more specific than just describing the long-term characteristics we hope will result.
He argued that some kind of paradigm shift is needed to go beyond just adopting social technologies towards creating a new kind of organisation designed around people- and network-centric principles.
But organisational transformation tends to be driven by the question:
What is the purpose of our organisation and what capabilities does it need to meet the challenges of the future?
a capability-driven model identifies the properties needed by the organisation to be successful in the future even if it cannot predict exactly what is going to happen.
Digital transformation began with organisations trying to develop the external customer-facing social capabilities to operate in a world of empowered and connected consumers, but there is now a realisation that to deliver on this promise, the internal realm â€“ how work is organised and how people connect to deliver value â€“ is equally important
As Harald Schirmer from Continental put it during the summit, â€œwe looked at what we have, what we need in the future and what we will need in 5 yearsâ€ to drive social business efforts, not just immediate impact on the existing business.
Instead, digital transformation is more about gradual changes, loosely joined, that move towards the capabilities and ways of working we know we need to create.
Frederic Laloux, at his recent RSA talk, said that 50% of his answers to the question how to create self-managing organisations are to recommend â€˜send and respondâ€™ over â€˜predict and controlâ€™ as a way of making change happen.
So if we can define some meaningful organisational health measures, and also ways of expressing our capability stories in testable and measurable ways, then we can do the same for the quantified organisation.
One goal of this approach to digital transformation is to create a kind of organisational self-awareness, sensing and responding to small problems or wrinkles that are getting in the way of people doing their job, which is why regular human input is so important.
If we can create the right organisational health measures, and if these are seen as meaningful indicators of transformation progress, then this model could greater strategic alignment to E2.0 and social business efforts.
Our approach starts with an analysis of existing pain points, external market dynamics and the needs of near-term business strategy to define a set of required organisational capabilities that can guide digital transformation and generate business value for existing social technology initiatives
We organise these into a pipeline categorised by ownership, impact, business domain (e.g. strategic level changes, major process level and small-scale use cases changes) and business priorities so that teams can dip in to select issues to tackle in sprints and mini-projects, and then re-prioritise based on outcomes.
Key to the success of this approach is a strong network of change agents, or what Kotter calls a â€˜guiding coalitionâ€™ that is motivated to help transform the organisation at various levels. Executive support and protected spaces are also necessary for new practices to take root without being killed off by existing practices and politics.
Understand how changing market dynamics impact the biz
What organisational capabilities do these require?
Express capabilities as â€˜agile user storiesâ€™ for the org
Define what success looks like and find relevant measures
Give each manager, each team oversight of their structure
Separate â€˜whatâ€™ and â€˜howâ€™ in targets â€“ let teams decide â€˜howâ€™
Align E2.0 and change efforts to develop these capabilities
Involve everyone in organisational self-awareness / change
Develop your guiding coalition and align on purpose
Do -> observe -> think; sense and respond; rinse and repeat
I think the model could also help companies move beyond their initial adoption plateau by providing a way to define new capabilities and new ways of working