Intranet change management

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Sometimes you get what you pay for, but money alone is not a panacea.

While the adoption of enterprise social media continues to grow, these tools continue to be poorly deployed and adopted, particularly behind the firewall on the corporate intranet. Executives are not happy, employees are less than thrilled and communications and social media managers are frustrated with internal social media.

Social media tools such as blogs, wikis and other vehicles are present on most corporate intranets: 72% have at least one social media tool available to some or all employees, according to the preliminary results of the Social Business Study (presently in the field, conducted by Prescient Digital Media), but the execution and supporting change management required to make these tools effective is lacking, or absent.

However, while many organizations have piloted or trialed, or attempted a wider release of some enterprise social business tools, most tools continue to be isolated and poorly deployed. All too often, free or vanilla solutions — often the out-of-the-box (OOB) social media solutions that are bundled with CMS or portal solutions, namely SharePoint 2010 — are introduced to employees with little thought for business requirements, user requirements and little or no change management.

ACE International intranet home page 2013

Sometimes you get what you pay for, but money alone is not a panacea.

While the adoption of enterprise social media continues to grow, these tools continue to be poorly deployed and adopted, particularly behind the firewall on the corporate intranet. Executives are not happy, employees are less than thrilled and communications and social media managers are frustrated with internal social media.

Social media tools such as blogs, wikis and other vehicles are present on most corporate intranets: 72% have at least one social media tool available to some or all employees, according to the preliminary results of the Social Business Study (presently in the field, conducted by Prescient Digital Media), but the execution and supporting change management required to make these tools effective is lacking, or absent.

However, while many organizations have piloted or trialed, or attempted a wider release of some enterprise social business tools, most tools continue to be isolated and poorly deployed. All too often, free or vanilla solutions — often the out-of-the-box (OOB) social media solutions that are bundled with CMS or portal solutions, namely SharePoint 2010 — are introduced to employees with little thought for business requirements, user requirements and little or no change management.

SATISFACTION

It is little surprise to see that satisfaction levels with enterprise social media tools is at an all-time low. In fact, both employee and executive satisfaction rates on average point to failed enterprise social media programs:

  • 73% of employees rate their internal social media tools as poor or very poor
  • 59% of executives rate their internal social media tools as poor or very poor

The results reveal a darker, more pessimistic lining to the social business cause: most organizations are not truly social, just flirting with social, and have no real commitment to social business. Many are playing with and even finding some limited success with a smattering of social tools, but using and integrating social media into most aspects of their day-to-day business — inside and outside the firewall — is still an evolutionary leap some years away for most. Part of the reason is the lack of money or investment.

PRICE

Most organizations spend little or nothing on their enterprise social media tools. Most organizations that implement social media tools spend between US$ 0 and $10,000:

  • 34% have spent $0
  • 55% have spent less than US$ 24,000
  • Only 8% have spent more than US$500,000

Sometimes, you get what you pay for. A vanilla solution can produce vanilla results or worse, if it is not accompanied by the requisite change management that all social business thrusts require. The notion that “if you build it, they will come” does not work for social business; this isn’t baseball and social business is more than setting up a corporate page on Facebook.

Using social business tools represents a mental and cultural leap for most. Successful integration of social media into the daily operating lives of employees, namely on the corporate intranet, requires careful assessment, planning, governance and the aforementioned change management.

SOCIAL CHANGE MANAGEMENT

Social media tools are so simple and inexpensive to deploy that it is incredibly easy to be lulled into complacency until your initiative begins to fail. Often, failure is simply a lack of use or adoption by users. Just like the real-life relationship killer, the biggest reason for social intranet failure is apathy.

There are two primary reasons for the low satisfaction levels: vanilla or free / open source solutions with poor functionality (e.g. MediaWiki or bundled tools in platforms like SharePoint 2010), and little or no change management / communications planning.

The dangerously low satisfaction levels with social intranet tools are fueled largely by the lack of user take-up (adoption): employees need a reason to use social business tools. If you build it, they will not come… necessarily.

Ironically, the success of social business tools has more to do with the latter, change management (not technology). Most employees don’t know what a wiki or My Sites are so why would they use them? Employees need to be educated, sold, and cajoled to use these tools initially until their use becomes a repetitive action that is part of the culture. Effective change management flows from effective governance (explicit, documented governance model detailing ownership, management and decision-making), social media policy (who can do what, when, how, and the rules for doing so), and active communications and training.

RETURN ON INVESTMENT

Most organizations don’t need to see or realize a measured return on investment (ROI) in their social business efforts, but some are realizing benefits in measured dollars and cents. Sabre, the company that runs most of the world’s airline flight reservation systems among other systems, is an impressive leader in employee networking. With nearly 10,000 employees spread around the globe (55% work outside of the U.S. where they are headquartered), Sabre is a progressive company that has utilized enterprise social intranet tools with spectacular results.

Recognizing their own unique needs as a global, distributed workforce, Sabre embarked to build their own employee networking intranet from scratch. Using another nascent technology, Ruby on Rails, Sabre built an impressive employee networking platform called Sabre Town. Sabre Town represents the company’s need to build more meaningful connections with this geographically diverse employee population.

Sabre Town has all the features of most social networking sites including:

  • Detailed employee profiles
  • Photos sharing
  • Blogs
  • User commenting
  • Enterprise question & answer functionality

On Sabre Town, users can post a question to the entire organization, and the site’s inference or relevance engine will automatically send the question to the 15 most relevant employees (based on what they’ve entered in their profile, blog postings and other Q&As that have been previously posted).

The results have been spectacular: 60% of questions are answered within one hour, and each question receives an average of 9 responses; the social platform has also delivered more than $150,000 in immediate, direct savings for the company in the first year alone.

However, it took Sabre a full year to convince a majority of employees to join and use their internal social network, and it required the active support and participation of Sabre’s CEO and executive team.

Social business tools require careful thought and planning; yes they’re easy to deploy, but they’re not easily adopted without the requisite investment, and accompanying change management. The technology is the easy part; successful social business requires more than a fleeting investment of money, time and process.

ADDITIONAL READING:

Intranet change management

Change management strategies for the intranet

Intranet 2.0 change management

ALSO:

Also read: The Great Intranets (whitepaper)

Share on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

1 Comment

  1. Geoff Talbot

    Another awesome post Toby. For me one of the issues is the separation of social from work.

    I think traditionally people have bonded (social) around work, or while completing projects. When we are designing Intranet’s, I think it is best that we put work front and center and then facilitate the social aspects of work (collaboration, fun, celebration of success, learning from failure etc) with technology.

    Thoughts?

    Reply

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Social business change - [...] Read the full article Intranet change management [...]

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *