Cultural change is the most challenging for individuals and organization alike. I’m currently reeling on my twins inability to spell anything close to dictionary version and their sheer abusive use of punctuation, but it is just a cultural gap, that I’m either going to get or or not. Pop culture influences change – good and bad. In my generation it was MTV.
Video ultimately didn’t kill the radio star, but 3 minute videos broadcast 24 hours forever was the initial promise of MTV and their innovative approach to delivering content over cable probably was the reason for the mass adoption of the word “edgy”. MTV was delivering on the needs of an extremely focused early adopter segment of young folks who were musically inclined or folks who just wanted some background noise – a new cultural phenomenon. Social Media not dis-similar to the cultural change seen time and time again in society only, this one is changing how people work and how they WANT to work.
IT, management and corporations in general are always looking for new ways to improve productivity or how to limit access to content or activities which reduce productivity. The emerging social productivity tools at the edge of adoption in the enterprise don’t have consensus on how they impact productivity. Users or better put – workers needs are changing and how they work is transforming by their personal use of these tools and the benefits of thier networks. This isn’t by any stretch of the imagination the majority, just a small segment today, since as a user sorta have to “get it” and the organization sorta has to be ready to accept/embrace these workers preferred engagement models.
Everybody Has an Opinion or a Functional Diagram
Productivity in the workplace leveraging social tools continues to get A-List street cred with McKinsey’s latest email of the Top 10 articles of the Quarter, which starts out with Six Ways to Make Web 2.0 Work, a top ten article I apparently missed. I actually missed all of them – odd, I thought I had read a bunch of McKinsey stuff last quarter.
Interesting piece, it is written I suspect by a non-Kool-Aid Drinker and from a “big company” approach when the reality most companies are BIG and could use a little innovation and productivity lift, but it is an ok piece. Their adoption graphic acknowledges the adoption curve has begun for social technologies, but as with most articles there aren’t metrics, just anecdotes. This application landscape change is more about HOW folks WANT to work, than the benefits or metrics which can be tracked via social media tools.
It is often the PERSON who makes the tools productive. How a person uses them, who is in their network and how THEIR network uses the tools. I find that Facebook responses from business partners, industry collegues and coworkers are quicker than email and typically include an example link or hand off to another expert in their network. What ever moniker is applied to this phase it is essentially corporate IT’s movement from machines to people. The majority of the first generation investments were in delivering “systems”, databases, application integration and transaction management platforms – now it is people platforms which are looking for homes in the enterprise and promise productivity lifts for business.
(just guessing, but probably not to scale)
While I get the diagram below, it misses some of the high level B2B use cases, which is really all I care about as a B2B Product Marketing type, specifically Thought Leadership and Service. Social media can increase personal, corporate and product visibility in the marketplace and improve service levels/customer satisfaction. Perhaps the author rolled them under some of the other concepts, but the purpose of each should be a standalone set of metrics, goals and users. With metrics as a challenge, the more you segment the use cases and owners of a use case the better you can gauge effectiveness of your social media efforts.
The artical did get the one thing really close to right:
The transformation to a bottom-up culture needs help from the top.
It is cultural, but it doesn’t involve the organization, it involves the emerging requirements of the workforce. While today’s “I want my Facebook”, Bebo or Twitter in the workplace pleas seem somewhat trivial to some execs, these platforms are rapidly becoming the preferred collaboration tools for workers. Risk considerations are often cited by many since these tools leverage not just internal expertise of an organization, but the networks of their employee and contractors.
It’s All About Risk
There is a time to embrace social media and a time to not, but I suspect the good outweighs the bad in the risk equation. Risks: Perceived IP exposure, network security concerns or just plain slackerdom risk for some don’t outweigh the benefits, but the other choice for social workers is to use their personal iPhones or other PDA’s to accomplish the same tasks, only on slower connections and with less functionality. What a drag, productivity drag that is…..for many folks social platform use is just HOW they work.
Access to answers, innovation and customers are just a click away, but only if your organization has a culture that provides access and encourages participation.
Now look at them yo-yo's, that's the way you do it You play the guitar on that MTV That ain't workin', that's the way you do it Money for nothin' and your chicks for free Now that ain't workin', that's the way you do it Lemme tell ya, them guys ain't dumb Maybe get a blister on your little finger Maybe get a blister on your thumb -Dire Straits