We’ve announced Clearspace 2.5. Finally. You can get all the snazzy details from our freshly updated website – be sure to check out the groovin’ videos!
I thought I’d focus one one little ol’ capability within Clearspace 2.5 myself, though. It’s the befriending feature. You’d think it would be the same ol’ same ol’, but c’mon. You expect more from Jive, yes?
Learning how to do useful things with a new application is like learning a new language. For example, if I just want to see if I like it, I can try picking up the Italian language for free online. If I want to put some skin in the game, say, because I’ll be vacationing in Italy for a couple of months, maybe I’d spring for the $549 Rosetta Stone Italian series. If learning this language is strategic to my life’s goals – maybe I’m moving to Milan for two years to apprentice at Roberto Cavalli – then, I’d probably pay several thousand to immerse myself in the language and culture by living six weeks with a Milanian family.
That’s the problem: a particular E2.0 solution isn’t necessarily strategic to an enterprise right away. That means they are either looking to kick tires for free, or are willing to put a little skin in the game. That’s where an adoption starter pack – the E2.0 Rosetta Stone, if you will – comes into play. (And really, trying to use some E2.0 solutions out there today is like trying to decipher hieroglyphics.)
Here’s my theory:
People hire consultants when they realize two things. One, that they can’t do it themselves, and two, they can admit that to their management team. With the task of promoting E2.0 adoption, there is a sense that, “hey, this isn’t rocket science,” and, “we should be able to figure this out ourselves, for crying out loud.”
The truth is that, if we were just given a recipe about how to implement an E2.0 adoption strategy, we could probably muddle through it the first time, and refine our strategy as we go.
Recipe, Rosetta Stone – I never said I was wicked awesome at analogies.
My point is that, there should be some sort of relatively inexpensive E2.0 adoption starter pack included with every vendor’s solution that includes at least the following:
How to pick the right pilot groups
“Here’s how you did it then, here’s how you do it with this software” videos
“Here are totally new capabilities that don’t map to anything you’re familiar with today” videos
Materials to be used in a company’s existing education program
Internal marketing materials and recommendations
Typical metrics to shoot for within the first six months
The biggest thing that needs to be included, though, is time. Time from those who have the breadth of experience across multiple implementations, and time from those who are trying to implement. It’s all well and good to throw best practices at people like beads during Mardi Gras. But, what people need is someone who will spend time with them, listening, providing ideas and advice, being an experienced sounding board. All for the low low price of cheap.
Ever wish you could find someone working on social media or Enterprise 2.0 efforts at other companies, same as you? Wish you could pick their brain about how the heck they justified the implementation cost? Found that elusive ROI? Tricks to get employees to use it? Best way to communicate your new online community to your brand fanbase?
Ever wish you could do this without all of we pesky software vendors trying to market to you the whole time?
Well, now you can.
Jive Software (your favorite pesky software vendor) is proud to announce the new Clearstep business community (register today – it’s free!).
There’s already quite a bit of activity in Clearstep. It’s segmented into two areas:
Build, manage, and measure your community successfully
Social media folks focused on external-facing communities will be most interested in these discussions, tips, and tricks. Current hot topics include (requires registration):
Want to know the best part about this community? It’s completely vendor-agnostic. That’s right. There are folks discussing solutions from Microsoft, Jive (naturally), IBM, Atlassian, etc. The community managers are absolutely committed to keeping this place vendor-agnostic and marketing-free so that the truly valuable conversations can be had.
And, last I checked, the majority of participants work at very recognizable Fortune 500 companies.
Makes you wonder if the old customer reference requests are a thing of the past. You can now just participate in Clearstep, and ask your peers yourself.
I talked with a Jive Clearspace customer last week about adoption struggles (I get to do this for a living now, and frankly, I’m in my dream job). They have what I think is probably a very typical adoption obstacle. Actually, two very typical obstacles.
The first one was a theme at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston in June 2008. The CEO loves social software, worker bees are adopting it like crazy, but mid-level managers are having what-the-hell moments, because they weren’t properly introduced to the business benefits of social software. They’re putting a stop to all this “social nonsense” until they get a better handle on it.
My advice: Figure out what gives them ulcers at night. Maybe it’s, “how do I meet my management chain’s objectives?” Then, figure out how to explain how your social software solution will help them achieve those objectives better, faster, smarter. For example, one of our customers tied their Jive Clearspace ROI to making critical business processes more efficient (requires registration). Discussing this with mid-level managers who care about more efficient critical business processes would probably be quite effective.
The second obstacle was that a few of the strategic pilot groups were approaching the new Clearspace experience from an old file-centric SharePoint paradigm. “Is this where we put our files now?” The result was a repeat of old file folder hierarchies, which, of course, doesn’t promote cross-enterprise conversations. Note that at this company, constantly increasing efficiency is critical.
So, we talked about the following good practices:
Show how they’re doing their work now, and point out any inefficiencies. These folks would send an Excel spreadsheet around via email. Each person would then upload their modified version into individual SharePoint folders, then someone would consolidate them all into a single file again. (I know! OMG!)
Show how your social software solution replaces that behavior, while making them more efficient in the process. Folks can co-edit a rich table within a Clearspace page, with complete versioning and rollback capabilities. They can create author comments and general user comments to capture the collaborative conversations about the data, and even create some team projects, tasks, or even a blog to capture status reports or the like. The idea is to do the, “and that’s not all!” pitch, once you’ve neutralized the Old Way Of Doing Things.
Address the Fear of Sharing Too Soon. This is the harder, and most critical part. In most organizations, people don’t “put their stuff out there” until it’s pretty much done. All the conversations and collaboration happens before they share, via emails, IMs, phone calls, and in-person meetings.
Here’s the problem: many folks don’t WANT to share their stuff until it’s pretty much done.
“My colleagues and my manager will think I’m a doofus if I put something half-baked out there!”
“I don’t want anyone stealing my half-baked idea, fleshing it out and taking credit for it.”
My advice? Implement a slow behavior migration. Give those people a private, secure space or group to share their half-baked stuff so that REAL collaboration can take place. The end result won’t be an individual contribution, of course, so help them understand the meaning of co-ownership. Once they’re comfy co-baking with the people they already trust, encourage them to open those private spaces up to more people, or perhaps make them public to the organization, if appropriate.
One of my new pals, Karen Snyder, did a great job synopsizing her conversation with Cisco’s Manager of New Media, Amy Paquette. I, along with I’m sure what are thousands of others out there, have personally experienced what she describes. Amy said:
Having internal blogs is a great way for [potential external bloggers] to find their voice, and learn how to communicate with their blog. People feel more free to ask questions.
So, that’s one more valuable grain of sand in an internally-focused social enterprise environment – discover internal bloggers who could inadvertently generate sales leads or greater brand recognition externally.
A customer once told me they needed to get Super Awesome Highly Visible Group involved in their pilot social software environment, so that Guy Who Could Pay For The Whole Thing With a Wave of His Big Toe would see their success and haul out his checkbook. And then, of course, everyone else would want a piece of that social experience.
This reminded me of high school. Whatever the popular kids were wearing, doing, and saying, the rest of us would try to mimic. Classic The Tipping Point fare (I actually wore Hush Puppies in high school in the mid-80s. Omigod, you should’ve seen my hair).
So, who are the popular kids where you work, the ones with a bunch of organizational power? Maybe they’re the ones who bring in the most revenue. Maybe they’re so strategic to the company that if they all got hit by a bus tomorrow, your stock price would faint. You know who they are.
If you’re the woman responsible for a successful social software pilot, figure out how to romance that popular jock. Figure out the answer to, “What’s in it for me?” for them. Explain how your chosen social software solution can solve one of their current problems. If you can get them into your pilot, and it actually does help solve that problem, then poof! You’ve got the best case study you could possibly have. Use it to advertise the wonderment of your social software pilot to the rest of your organization, most especially that guy with the powerful big toe.