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My digest of the 2016 Social Business Collaboration (Berlin)

Summary: This year’s SBC was primarily about change. Once in a while you actually got the feeling of being at a Human Resources conference. But as fairy dust there were a couple of presentations that stood out because they provided a new angle on a couple of things. Telenor reported on their experience with Facebook@Work. Jen Regruth Crites (@jen_k_crites) talked about actually “branding” a new IT solution. Laurence Fourcade from Kelios gave a striking presentation on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) in the Digital Workplace. Europa-Park shared the insight how social connects the “unconnected” bees with a new software called “BeeKeeper”. And I am only mentioning a product here, because I really like a few aspects of their approach because of my work for the industrial manufacturing industry…and without further ado, here we go:

We knew it for some time. Finally everyone is acting on it.

Let me keep this short and crisp: “social” finally got its emphasis in real life. The days of IT-driven initiatives seem to be over for good. Literally everyone on stage made it clear that without properly orchestrating the symphony of change management, SBC (or business IT in general) initiatives simply are destined to fail.

  • Leadership needs to believe in and sponsor the efforts
  • Senior and middle management has to play an active role in the process
  • People have to be guided and taken on the journey in order to allow the new ways of working to really take effect

And the journey of change isn’t one of “campaigns” and “visionary promises” anymore. It’s about tangible value and a close connection to what people need help with. It’s about empowerment and allowing talent to really contribute its value to what the organisation wants to achieve.

All success stories that were presented this year showed, how essential the three bullets above were. Henry Haijes from ABM AMRO even added a slight twist to the culture/strategy quote from Peter Drucker:

Same goes for driving change throughout the entire organisation. Paul from the European Commission actually have a really compelling presentation on what it means to make sure that everyone is on board.

To use trainings as an opportunity for dialogue is really really smart.

Now let’s move on to the fairy dust…

  1. Facebook@Work at Telenor
  2. The P&G heritage: branding as a success driver for IT tool roll-outs
  3. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) in the Digital Workplace
  4. Keeping the bees involved…

1. Facebook@Work at Telenor

John Alphonse gave a pretty compelling presentation about their “roll-out” of Facebook@Work. For me the story was particularly exciting because it was literally the first company to report on their experience. Essence: it seems to work really well after some serious ramp-up efforts.

After Facebook worked very(!) closely with Telenor to get all set-up for enterprise readiness and prepare of an official data security audit, an audit Telenor & FB passed in attempt #1, which is probably one of the most impressive things I took home from Berlin. Not though, that FB passed the test impressed me here, but actually the fact that FB actively worked with Telenor and used their help and advise to gear up for the requirements of the enterprise world.

The 2nd interesting angle John reported on was, that FB@Work actually started in the world of Telenor’s Shadow IT. You know Shadow IT: it’s what the official IT department cannot keep up with on people’s laptops, tablets and smartphones (…long live the cloud). Telenor, however, has decided that they want to be inspired by their Shadow IT and that they will keep investigating new options for business solutions that have been “tried” by voluntary guinea pigs.

As part of my World Café Hans Dekker (@hansdekker) from IKEA even suggested that it makes total sense to actually actively encourage Shadow IT. He believes that allocating accountability to people and putting them in charge of finding new and better options outside the standard governance is rather an opportunity than a threat. Quite frankly: I think he’s spot on. With a certain set of reasonable rules this might actually be the solution to one of the key challenges of IT organisations: herding cats.

Thirdly John added a little detail: communication, exchange & networking (formal, informal, project) happens in FB@Work – Documents are managed in SharePoint. Literally all vendors that were mentioned had their short coming in document handling. So Telenor employees were simply encouraged to post links to SP in the FB conversations:

In Facebook@Work the main part of conversations happens in (open & closed) groups – in contrary to the private version, in which the majority of posts are in the public/main feed.

I wonder if Microsoft ever considers the fact that they seem to stay (very) dominant in the “enterprise information management” part and that they should leave the field of “social glue” to the ones that know the real deal. However, after still not 100% delivering on a Yammer vision, maybe the acquisition of LinkedIn could add some momentum here. Who knows. Time will tell…

2. The P&G heritage: branding as a success driver for IT tool roll-outs

Jen Regruth Crites (@jen_k_crites) reported on how her Procter & Gamble learnings helped to support the roll out of a new IT tool. She simply asked the question: if a brand helps commercial organisations to differentiate and emphasise value, why shouldn’t IT departments apply this to delivering their “product” to employees. Jen answered that question with a striking presentation on how a well branded IT tool roll-out can make an impact: 6 months in the following KPI pretty much speak for itself:

  • 54% of users recall the brand (starting from 3%)
  • 375k EUR savings
  • 83% Net Promotor Score
  • Active requests for MORE to the IT department

So FrieslandCampina (her gig at the time of the project) actually applied the Marketing 101 by the text book and even came up with a claim for the new UCC service:

Digital Meetings. Be there without going there.

3. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) in the Digital Workplace

Laurence Fourcade’s (Keolis Group) presentation touched my inner beliefs when it comes to the value drivers of the future Digital Workplace:

Driving content quality will deliver search experience.

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Keolis really approached the submission of documents to the intranet from a SEO driven angle and they tried to drive awareness for content IMPACT. For each item readers (online consumption) and downloads are displayed. Doing this actually can help editors or content owners to understand if the information provided has any reach (or relevance) within the organisation. You could even go as far as “x readers, no downloads” could stand for “na, this isn’t what I was looking for” from a searching point of view. Combined with the search query we’d enter a complete new game of content relevance and quality management.

Laurence made it clear as well that the UX for the upload interface is essential to the success of the approach. Thereby she made clear, that AGAIN the people are in the centre of all thinking, because an easy and intuitive upload mechanism that enforces SEO relevant aspects has to be user centric. Thereby the user (here the editor) is clearly the success factor that needs to be catered to.

The fact that I had at least 3 other in-depth conversations on Enterprise Search and search in general at the conference shows that it’s still one of THE subjects companies are struggling with. And I am still flabbergasted by Estée Lauder’s guts to actually run a “re-work” of their search index…from scratch. It’s one of the presentations that will stick to my mind for quite some time.

4. Keeping the bees involved…

I’ve always enjoyed working for industrial manufacturing clients. To guide organisations that usually perceive digital transformation as the next SAP roll-out into the world and value of information and knowledge work is very rewarding… However, there is one key challenge that still hasn’t been addressed properly: how do we keep the blue collar work force involved? They don’t have a PC or a user account. They often don’ even have an e-mail address. Two things the majority of current solution require (as an either or) to actually get someone on-boarded to the party.

Anselm Müller from the Europa Park theme parks presented their approach to keeping the bees connected with a new software called “Beekeeper“. Authentication does not go through AD or similar services. It’s rather a “sign up” service, which gives full control over content and access to the maintaining organisation. In it’s core it’s a social network with streams, groups and all.

The adoption of employees at Europa Park confirms the expectations and now the organisation even considers to gradually say “goodbye” to its conventional intranet. I cannot wait for that success story to hit a stage…

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So far for my little digest. The summary of my World Café session on driving people and corporate value with the Digital Workplace” will follow soon. So, stay tuned…

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The DWP Audience
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Social Business Collaboration 2015 (Berlin): the summary of my World Café Session on “Stakeholder Management”.

Summary: Berlin, October 1st and 2nd 2015. The European practitioners for modern intranets, social business collaboration and the Digital Workplace gathered in Berlin to exchange on their experience and share insight & learning. As part of the conference I had the opportunity to host a “World Café” session on stakeholder management. This article captures the essence of our discussion.

The framing of the session

I used a little drawing to introduce my personal learning from the past years in the field. From my experience the key layout of stakeholders exists on three levels:

Stakeholder Map

It’s 2015 and the top management (c-level, board room) have bought into the fact that companies have to break up silos. Globalisation is reality and collaboration/communication has to bridge geographical and functional distance. Digital Business Agility (read about this in one of my previous posts) is essential in highly competitive markets.

The people in business operations drive from bottom up. They have a solid understanding on how connectedness and collaboration can improve business success. They are desperate for a more integrated world, improved information management and the ability to work independent from time, place or device – no matter if Generation Y or Silver Surfer.

Squeezed in-between is the middle management. They either get left out in the process from “let’s get connected” to “this is the new connected world” or they are not measured based on the new paradigms. Middle management happens in Excel and PowerPoint, in an abstraction of the real world and represents the “channel” TO the top management. In addition to that it’s a rough world. It’s competitive and not everyone (aka only a very very few) are willing to take risk and accountability for change. They are the ones that we have to really care for. They get caught in politics, games and objective struggles. “What’s in for me” gets more and more important on this particular level in the stakeholder map.

This will become particularly important if our ambition is to further increase the work and business criticality of intranet, Digital Workplace. Then accountability and governance have to be with the middle management. They will be in charge of making it work for the organisation. Therefore we need have to have middle management on board as of day one and make it theirs.

The conversation’s essence

Everyone agreed that more time has to be invested in understanding the real stakeholder map and how they stand with regards to the subject (supporter, promoter, opponent, neutral and/or allies)
Finding the right “value proposition” for the various stakeholder functions is key to get them on board and keep them on along the entire journey.

Executives and top management have to adjust success measurement and KPI to make “connectedness” and “networking of knowledge and people” part of the actual middle management scope of work. The fact that effectiveness will provide competitive edge has to start trumping the “just get it done” attitude.

We have to accept the fact that “business ownership” doesn’t come through a title when it comes to stakeholders for the Digital Workplace. A director is not in the middle of things. Field managers are. They are the ones that primarily seek enablement and support from digital services. We need to have them on board to ensure that “user centricity” is built into the project.

If you have opponents or “disbelievers” in the stakeholder center, get them close to you. Give them a key role, a key stake and the opportunity to shine with the project. Thereby you turn them through pure opportunism…and it’s WIN/WIN.

Pursuing something that has an impact through work criticality will lead to politics. And politics. And politics. Be prepared and don’t expect “yes” to mean “yes” or “I am in” to stand for “I will throw all necessary resource at you”. The future Digital Workplace is cultural and corporate change…and it’s political.

The conversation cards & transcript

We’ve collected a lot of angles on stakeholder management. Below the little moderation wall you can find a (more or less) transcript from the cards collected during the sessions (5 groups attended, approx. 50 participants in total).

World Cafe Wall

A little transcript of the World Cafe Wall

World Cafe Transcript

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Have you ever thought about what #collaboration actually means to your organisation? #socbiz #enterprise20 #e20 #digitalworkplace

Over the past weeks I’ve hosted various workshops on the subject of the Digital Workplace and Advanced Intranet. There was one thing all the workshops had in common: the participants suddenly were unclear what “collaboration” actually meant to them. For everyone it was clear that today’s intranets (not even close to work critical, rather an editorial graveyard) had to evolve to become the first step in the evolution of a Digital Workplace. It has to grow together with efforts and initiatives around collaboration, which are managed separately in almost all companies.

What does collaboration stand for?

It really depends who you ask. For IT departments collaboration usually is driven by the bells and whistles of a (social) collaboration platform. Their perspective is to make everything available so people can pick and choose what might suit their requirements. For business functions collaboration in a lot of instances is the ability to have at least documents in one place and use live collaboration abilities (aka chat, desktop sharing etc.) to fight data redundancies and travel efforts (and cost). For the management collaboration often ends up in the field of innovation (one big family striving for world domination) or cross-functional and -border synergies.

Get 10 people in one room and you have 15 opinions on collaborations…and probably 17 definitions.

After spending time to gather the aspects that could define the field of collaboration and trying to determine where the “act of collaboration” would actually create value participants of all workshops ended up with one common denominator:

Collaboration is more than the fact that people work work together and share files in the same place. It’s about creating assets that can be re-used by others and utilise the expertise that was created in previous team efforts. It’s about making sure that what we do happens in accordance with the framework (#FluffyHandcuffs) that is required by the organisation. It’s about connecting to experience and expertise of others that might help us to be faster or better in quality.

collaboration aspects

I am pretty sure that all readers of this post will say: yeah, but that’s totally obvious. Believe me, it’s not.

The biggest luxury in a project I have experienced recently is a pre-study that has “define what collaboration means to us” as it’s only objective. As a side effect, and this is becoming obvious already, it will create a coalition around the subject because we were able to connect to a lot of business stakeholders in the process of defining the field.

A final recommendation for the process of specifying “collaboration”: make “what is it not?” and “why is it special to us?” part of the evaluation. It will help you to scope what you’re doing against other initiatives – or build bridges to them since running them separate would cause disconnection and redundancy.

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Part 1/3: my reflection on @Orgatec 2012 and #futurebizz in three parts #futureofwork #socbiz #socialbusiness #enterprise20 #coworking

Summary: I’ve spent 2 days at Orgatec (Cologne), the leading trade show for office concepts and office furniture. The reason for that was the engagement of Tieto in the future_bizz initiative. I have decided to share my impressions of the show itself, some thoughts sparked by very interesting conversations and two panel discussions in the context of the show’s ‘Trendforum’. I will publish the article in three parts.

PART 1
My reflection on the trade show and what the future of work looks like from a ‘physical’ workspace perspective.

PART 2
My reflection on two panel discussions: ‘Enterprise 2.0’ and ‘Open Office Plans – Reality Check’

PART 3
future_bizz and some key work thesis and questions that derived from the first wave of the initiative.

PART 1
My reflection on the trade show and what the future of work looks like from a ‘physical’ workspace perspective.

To some extend one can get the impression that the industry for office concepts and furniture isn’t entirely sure – or at least has a pretty diverse perspective – what the future of work will look like…

There is no I in team…
That seems to be a subject what most vendors seem to pick up in order to address team orientated open space concepts. These are supposed to suit multiple situations that an information worker can be in during the day. For example:

  • actual team orientated work (collaboration space)
  • individual – undisturbed – work (productivity space; cocoons)
  • situation based gathering and communications (swarming space; stand-up concepts)
  • virtual meetings (video space solutions)

This has been a trend for a while now and a lot of companies have introduced (or are in the process of introducing) open plan offices to their employees. However, there seem to be the first studies that open office spaces (OOS) actually have a negative impact on productivity, quality of work and employee satisfaction. Even communications seems to suffer due to the vast amount of headphones used in an open office space. One presenter even emphasised the environmental and economic impact of OOS: they are neither green nor do they really save money. I have to admit that I was slightly surprised to see the extractions of respective studies.

…but there is a ME if you look hard enough.
Here comes the WOW. Even though the emphasis is to much on teams and the efforts on removing hierarchical borders I had the impression that status still is substantially reflected by office furniture. A lot of booths offered management and executive concepts that were breathtaking – in style but as well as in “differentiation”. Chairs, tables and all the other bells and whistles make crystal clear: I am the boss and I stand above you. I wasn’t really surprised that the studies referenced before even reveiled that the budget per square meter spent on an executive space is significantly higher than the one for the individual share in OOS concepts. I have to admit that I was rather shocked that a LOT of vendors still make sure that they find their entry through the bosses office to then position the “made for the troops” program as an up-sell.

Globalisation. Virtualisation. Decentralisation.
My third key take away was the impression that almost no vendors tend to address the work conditions of teams that simply don’t share any physical space. Yes, there are pretty neat concepts for video integration and the efforts to make video conferences less awkward. However, there still seems to be a long way to go to the actual symbiosis of physical and digital workspace as well as from substantial concepts to “glue together” virtual teams. In a conversation with a design head from a Canadian manufacturer this impression was actually confirmed, even though we both had to admit that we wouldn’t be able to just come up with a concept from the top of our heads.

The future of information work – Enterprise 2.0
Even a trade show that is designed around the physical workspace cannot deny the change that happens and the needs that derive from the quest to increased productivity and the (assumed) requests of the future generations. It was a key subject at the booths of bigger vendors and in panel discussions of the Orgatec Trendforum. Even though there seems to be some way to go until the future of physical and digital properly meet it’s at least very promising and exciting to see how things change. The emphasis to make the workspace a place where people like to come to and spend time at is very much in line with the trends in business IT. It’s not about forcing people to use applications anymore. It’s about designing work tools that employees like or even desire to use.

My personal take away for trade shows in general
Sometimes I get the impression that trade shows are the most “uniformal” and uncommunicative spaces ever. To show how serious we are we hide behind suits and dresses. The only “non verbal communication” are the little flags on the name tag. I have decided that whenever I will have the influence on the “dress code” I will make sure that people wear t-shirts with

  • talk to me about…
  • my name is…
  • my expertise is…

That would make it so much easier to a) find the right people at a booth (where you don’t know anyone yet) or even b) start conversations somewhere else. It would be a little bit like tagging people and making sure that the relevant ones “match”.

(…to be continued)

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#mckinsey on #information #overload and recovering #productivity; my take in #enterprise20 context

McKinsey has just published a very interesting article on the impact of multitasking and always-on on executive's productivity and focus (http://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/Recovering_from_information_overload_2735) in their Quarterly (awesome source!!). For me this phenomenon does not only apply to executives that get distracted from making key decisions and forward thinking. It also applies to the standard knowledge worker that is supposed to contribute 24/7 as he/she's equipped with smart phones, tablet PCs, mobile e-mail and information access.

Providing the social media inspired workplace won't be a solution

Even though I believe that the current use of e-mail in combination with the always-on approach is completely out-of-date and should be replaced by other means of communication and information exchange I am sure that the social media inspired workplace with RSS and activity feeds, likes and comments won't be the key to the solution. In my eyes the key to relieving information workers from this multitasking and doing-things-inbetween culture lies within a change of collaboration culture and a slight decrease in speed.

Yes, we all have to slow down a notch.

Because the most sophisticated workplace and concept for distributing information and connecting talent only takes away efficiency and motivation if the culture doesn't support the proper use. Just tink about it: where's the point in moving updates and one-to-many communication from e-mail to RSS feeds if the sender keeps expecting response and action within a 60 min time frame? Why would we share know-how and come together in virtual communities if it's considered to be dead and uninteresting because its followers don't share and interact in real time?

The more I think about it – and the past 8 weeks did provide me with enough time for thinking and digesting my past experience in the field of enterprise 2.0 – the more I come to the conclusion that one pillar of the cultural change must be: quality before quantity. Do less and do the things you do with excellence.

Now is the time to make excellence the new benchmark

For too many years throughput and "efficiency" in closing tasks (just getting sh** done) has led to a "ticked off – job done" culture. As soon as the response was out of the mailbox there was no point in further thinking about it. Of course thinking too much about it in the first place wasn't really part of the job either since sender or recipient did expect feedback/input in digital-age style: immediate.

Let's change the way we all work together, how we contribute and how we communicate. Do it slowly and so that everyone, not just the digital natives and nerds, can adapt to it. And let's introduce a culture where "consuming information when it's the right time" is really ment that way. Not in the sense of "when it's the right time for the sender" but more in a sense of "when it's the right time to concentrate on it, read it, digest it and contribute real add value".
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#Salesforce to Lure #Enterprise into #Social Collaboration (via mashable.com)

I seriously doubt that salesforce, Yammer or socialcast.com will be the winners in the enterprise 2.0 battle. Simply because it isn't a platform thing. Yes, viral effects will create a visible and reportable user volume. It will be a matter 'owning the figures means owning the success' because the actual effect on communincation efficiency, productivity and essential business impact will not be the focus for now. But introducing employees to Facebook style platforms assuming that (because 600m are on FB anyway) they will be adapting to this new style of communication and information management is a major mistake. It requires a certain amount of change – in particular culturally. 

Ask yourself the question: if you're blocking Facebook and Twitter from corporate PCs – why would your talent suddenly work based on their principles?

http://feeds.mashable.com/~r/Mashable/~3/B7RB8YTVzbY/

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