My “gig” last week was in front of about 70 folks from the Canadian government. We were in a smaller version of the United Nations auditorium, and I felt very diplomatic. Themes encountered during that meeting are turning into a tune that I just can’t get out of my head. I haven’t kept meticulous track, but while speaking to this customer, plus about 30 large Americas-based enterprise customers over the past few months, and over 100 since February 2007, I’ve noticed the following tune:
- Ability to search using a Blackberry for profiles, not just for phone or email, but for skills, affinities and networks, is perceived as very valuable (nobody has mentioned an iPhone yet)
- Easy access to people’s profiles and social content from existing collaboration tools (email, IM, teamsites) is perceived as valuable
- Ease of deployment and/or hosting is a must
- Ability to start small, but grow big quickly is the preferred route
- Legal discovery concerns are unresolved
- Lack of brisk user adoption is foremost on everyone’s mind
- Potential unprofessional behavior on company-sponsored sites is a concern
Most large enterprises feel more comfortable when they have an inkling of how they’re going to get people to use social software, and how they’re going to govern that use, before they sign a purchase order. I’m hoping Oliver Marks can help shed detailed light on the governance part (to see entire Twitter conversation, click “View Conversation” here).
There are emerging professional services from large and small consulting companies, emerging communities, and scads of blog posts about how to refine this melody for the enterprise. I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony on this one, but it’s going to take some serious organizational cultural shifts before we can strike up the band (ok, done with the music metaphors).