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The three most common problems to avoid when introducing social collaboration technology

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So you got the funding to implement a new social collaboration platform in your business – congratulations! The business case was approved, you did your research and selected the best all singing and all dancing technology platform, you’ve seeded the platform with some great content and recruited some grass-roots evangelists across the business to kick start adoption. So let’s go!

The launch goes brilliantly. Your “big bang” approach really caught everyone’s attention and people seem enthusiastic. You reached your initial sign-up target two weeks earlier than expected and activity levels are looking good. Time to give yourself a pat on the back.

A few more weeks pass and things start to change. Problem number one: the initial enthusiasm created at launch time starts to wane and use of the system begins to drop off as people go back to doing things the way did before…

Even though you’d worked hard to identify a good spread of willing evangelists across the business who would help maintain the level of enthusiasm and activity, you discover one of the key contributing factors to the unanticipated drop off in interest… Problem number two: your efforts are being blocked by middle management who see no reason or incentive to support the changes. You realise that although creating a viral adoption strategy was a really useful thing to do, it wasn’t enough – you should have ensured that executive management (who did actually sign the project off, after all) were more visibly emphatic about their support for the initiative and its impact on company strategy.

You and your team manage to pull the project back on track, but just six months later you hit a major roadblock. Problem number three: your budget is pulled. Why? Because in your enthusiasm for the initiative and as part of the business case you put forward, you failed to set expectations realistically. The project didn’t manage to change the company’s fortunes overnight, and now executive management have already written it off as “yet another failed IT project” and have diverted the budget elsewhere.

Through the research we’ve done at MWD into this topic, we’ve come across many cases like this. And sadly these are just three of the most common stumbling blocks that companies can experience – there are many others! But it needn’t be this way.

We’ve also had the opportunity to speak with and learn from companies that have achieved success with their social collaboration initiatives, including Air France-KLM-Martinair Cargo, Danish rail operator DSB, global IT services provider Avanade, Canada’s Yellow Pages Group, UK train operator Southeastern Railway, LexisNexis, global insurance company Aviva, and serviced office provider Business Environment.

We’ve captured their stories, along with their own recommendations for adopters, in a series of eight best practice case studies. These successes weren’t always achieved easily; sometimes lessons were learned the hard way. But the bottom line is that they’ve led the way so that companies like yours can learn from them without having duplicate ALL those mistakes. You can find out more about the case studies and how to download them here.

(PS. If you’ve got a story to share about your organisation’s experiences with social collaboration we’d love to hear it. If we publish your case study we’d like to offer you free access to all of our collaboration research for a whole year. If you’re interested in finding out more about how the process works (there’s no cost to you other than your time) please drop me a line at beth@mwdadvisors.com.)

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