Enterprise Social Networks Fail Without the Proper Approach—a Roadmap is Needed

The Altimeter Group has reached the same conclusion as I have: without the proper approach to enterprise social networking it will fail:

Enterprise social networking (ESN) software can improve communication and collaboration among employees, but most companies aren’t implementing and using these products properly, leading to unmet goals, according to a new study.

ESN software can help organizations by boosting information-sharing among employees and improving cross-departmental collaboration, among other benefits, but missteps in planning and execution abound, according to the Altimeter Group study “Making the Business Case for Enterprise Social Networking.”

The main mistake organizations make is not defining clearly the reasons for adopting ESN software, which offers features and capabilities like profiles, status updates and microblogging popularized by consumer social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, but adapted for workplace use.

“What is the pain point? What is the problem you’re trying to solve? If that’s not clear, then you shouldn’t be using [ESN],” said Altimeter founder and the study’s lead author Charlene Li. “This isn’t easy. There is no magic bullet to it. It requires a rethinking of the relationships inside your organization, and therefore a rethinking of your culture.”

Altimeter, which interviewed 13 vendors and 185 end users and surveyed 81 IT decision makers from companies with more than 250 employees, found that most ESN implementations end up stuck in one or more significant roadblocks.

You can download Altimeter’s report from Slideshare.

In terms of my work, I wrote a book about this subject – Collaboration Roadmap (2011). I encourage you to check it out, and to learn what to do to avoid the roadblocks.

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