Conference Notes

Share2011 – Keynote: Building a Robust Framework for Social Networking at Work (Ramin Mobasseri, eBay)

Ramin is the Enterprise Solutions manager at eBay USA. He’s talking about the social networking journey at eBay. He is going to show what eBay has been doing with enterprise social networking. Key ideas:
– why enterprise social networking? People have email, Facebook, and other tools available. In our private lives, we spend 22% of time on social networking. In the enterprise, 75% of organizations are integrating Web 2.0 technologies into customer and employee processes. Given the huge growth in Facebook and iPhone apps, do we really need to ask “why?” for enterprise social?
– over the past decade, a range of new social tools have emerged – for sharing content with others. Eg., WordPress, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, and FourSquare.
– over the past decade with SharePoint, social networking has really come about with SharePoint 2010, but there are some things that are missing.
– Why enterprise social networking at eBay? Two reasons – better productivity, and better retention.
– … It takes 45 days to 9 months to onboard new employees and get them to the place of productivity. Better retention reduces the costs of hiring new people. One measure – attrition rate of employees.
– The eBay roadmap to enterprise social networking:
– … September 2010 – selected vendors. We had no use cases.
– … September 2010 to July 2011 – developed an iPhone app, for connecting to eBay’s system.
– … October 2010 to Jan 2011 – recommendation developments
– … December 2010 to Jun 2011 – tested Yammer, NewsGator, Chatter, Jive, and other tools.
– … March 2011 to July 2011 – upgraded to SharePoint 2010, to get a better infrastructure.
– … From March 2011 to now – “scrub the hub.” A simple program to encourage end users to fill out their profiles – did a draw of an Xbox for people who filled out their profiles.
– … From July 2011 to now – training
– … Across the whole project – aligning culture
– Business drivers:
– … (1) get knowledge to people immediately
– … (2) connect people across boundaries
– … (3) expertise search, collaborate, and find facts
– … Broke these down and analyzed these across the different functional groups at eBay. Asked each group to rate (on a scale of 1-3) on each of the intersections. Found the biggest areas.
– The technology – chose NewsGator, because it plays very well with SharePoint.
– … Problem – had 3000 users on Yammer. What do you do with the people over here?
– You have to have rich profiles. You need people to fill out their profiles. Social connectivity doesn’t work with this.

– Overall objective: use enterprise social networking on any device, any place, at any time. We want to give employees the ability to get to the tools they enjoy using, from the intranet. Aim is to integrate these tools into SharePoint, or if they can’t be integrated, to be aggregated.

– Who do you start your pilot with? See Gartner’s analysis on pioneers and settlers.

– What happened to adoption?
– … Keep on encouraging people to fill out their profiles.
– … Keep on offering training – brown bag lunches, instructor led and virtual training
– … Provide a help and feedback community.
– … Community of common interest
– … Write to content managers – and encourage them to use the new tools.
– … Explore what’s working with other companies – share the learning.

– Culture, per Sandy Carter at IBM, “Culture eats strategy for lunch.”
– Have a playbook / agenda for enterprise social networking.

– Future direction: the ability to post from within The Hub to Facebook, Yammer, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other tools.

1. With your social network, can the user turn off that something doesn’t go to Facebook, Yammer, and Twitter … and other things?
(Answer) The user can set up their accounts on the various services.

2. What did you use for micro-blogging? You said that SharePoint 2010 doesn’t support this.
(Answer) We use NewsGator for micro-blogging.

3. As part of your journey, have you rolled out a social media policy at eBay?
(Answer) We have always had an acceptable usage policy. When you log in, you have ta accept the terms and conditions. For training, we use brown bag lunches, and various training courses (for end-users, and community managers).

4. What costs and benefits have you experienced?
(Answer) It’s too early for us to quantify this at the moment. We don’t know yet whether we’ve had a good ROI. But it will come later.

5. You are running multiple tools at the same time. Has this caused any confusion for users?
(Answer) Yes, before we set up the aggregation into MySocial at eBay, it was confusing. But when it comes together in MySocial, it’s a lot easier.