December 14, 2010, 2:12 PM — For some reason people assume that implementation methodologies are different according to the type of software and newer technologies such as enterprise social software are somehow unusual. From an implementation perspective, I don't believe that there is a lot of difference between rolling out an enterprise social software solution compared to another collaborative application. In fact, most of it is based on common sense. I would argue, however, that there are 3 unique characteristics about enterprise social software that inherently make it unlike other technology decisions and implementations. These differences (whether using internally or externally) are:
1. Culture. The mistake that some have made when implementing social software is that they have made it about the technology first and culture second when in fact it should be the reverse. You may be saying to yourself that any introduction of a new technology within an organization requires a behavioral change for adoption - and to that I would certainly agree. Yet what you and your colleagues say have the potential to be much more unrestricted regardless if whether you are sitting at home on Facebook or using corporate-sponsored social software. This has huge implications on culture and individuals' behavior since everything you write, tag, bookmark, "like", post, or share is likely much more public than before.
2. Transparency. Whether using enterprise social software for internal collaboration purposes or external community building, the notion of social business transformation promotes transparency (as well as accountability). It is rare that a software application can have such a broad and apparent impact on an organization, its key stakeholders (employees, customers, and partners), and company brand. The positive and negative implications can be profound.
3. Scale. Social business transformation allows more people to have a louder voice and the ability to impact a wider audience with activity updates, knowledge, opinions and expertise than ever before either behind a firewall or on the social Web. Along with participation comes openness and sharing on a larger scale that helps to flatten an organization from an employee perspective or provide increased access to a company from a customer or partner standpoint. Ultimately, the effectiveness and success of an enterprise social software solution resides on involvement.
Keeping these characteristics in mind, there are some basic elements that you should have in place to help achieve positive results when embarking on a social business journey. Below are 7 really quick and practical tips for enabling transformation.