Five Reasons Your Company Social Network Failed
1. Too social
The first generation of enterprise social collaboration tools, as epitomized by Yammer or Jive, were essentially Facebook or Twitter clones built for companies with the idea collaboration revolves around communications. However, it is now exceedingly clear that in many organizations, especially smaller ones, collaboration revolves around specific business tools, typically project management, document management or CRM – not social networking. The second generation of ESNs effectively solves the problem by seamlessly integrating sales, planning, communication and HR tools into your company intranet or private social network, giving your employees a reason to use it on a daily basis for their work routine.
2. Top down implementation
Vendors and consultants frequently stress how important it is to get support fr om top management and start implementation with them. But contrary to this “common wisdom” this strategy frequently doesn’t work. In order for social collaboration to be strong in a company, it has to have grassroot support. Selling enterprise social to C-level executives and decision makers may be much easier (that’s exactly why vendors and consultants do this) but it is, to borrow a political analogy, astroturfing. Especially since management uses these tools very differently than regular workers. In reality, there are individuals and departments in your company, typically sales, marketing and IT, who are very open to social tools and you should tap into their knowledge and enthusiasm first. This will make choosing the right solution for your company and implementing it MUCH easier.
3. No/wrong usage metrics
This is a big one. Because early social collaboration solutions mirrored social networks, they adopted the same approach to analytics – how many posts were made, which posts got most likes, which users are most active and so on. But as far as company wide adoption goes, different metrics is important. What percentage of registered users actually use the solutions on a daily basis? Which particular tools are they using? How many use desktop or mobile app? Identifying people and specific tools which are underused allows to quickly overcome problems with implementation and help those who are struggling. Coupled with gamification strategy that actively engages employees and encourages them to explore all available features, you get ‘natural’ adoption that is much better than using ‘brute force’ or hiring consultants.
4. Got to be mobile
One of the main advantages that comes with social collaboration tools is that your employees and co-workers become available almost 24/7. You’ll see people use company network on weekends and during holidays. Questions get answered much quicker than via e-mail. That’s where the importance of good mobile app comes in. And it has to be a true mobile app – not mobile optimized site or responsive design, because you will not get push notifications, contact synchronization and other features that are possible with the mobile app only. It may not seem important at first, but when testing different social collaboration solutions you absolutely should test mobile apps as well. Otherwise your most mobile employees will switch to WhatsApp, WeChat or their clones, and abandon your company network, creating a split.
5. Work together
Buying CRM does not mean you’ll get swamped with orders next week. Using project management does not guarantee all our projects will always be on time. Likewise, enterprise collaboration tools will help you immensely only if your company already has the culture of sharing and working together. Don’t buy into ‘Enterprise 2.0’ hype and don’t expect miracles. Don’t trust vendors that make overly optimistic ROI claims – the numbers probably made up anyway. But while social collaboration tools can’t be used as a substitute for culture change, they are oftentimes extremely good at identifying problems and bottlenecks by making your company and its business processes more transparent. The difficulties and outright failures that you encounter along the path can help you make necessary organizational changes that may not have been obvious before.