0 comments on “#socialbusiness could drive ‘dual value creation’ + connect bureaucratic and chaotic people; #socbiz #enterprise20”

#socialbusiness could drive ‘dual value creation’ + connect bureaucratic and chaotic people; #socbiz #enterprise20

Summary: I’ve found this post on my laptop…and the content is still valid. It’s a thought around how social business could connect the structured (bureaucratic) with the unstructured (creative) people in an organisation to drive exchange, enrichment and dialogue.

Inspired by a book (1)  by Gerhard Wohland and Matthias Wiemeyer and based on my perspective on how social business or enterprise 2.0 could be the glue of currently disconnected parts of organizations I’ve decided to blog about a new perspective on the subject.

The authors Wohland & Wiemeyer (W&W) elaborate on companies that perform at an absolute maximum. To achieve this level of maximum performance the company has to be as complex as its market (ref. to W&W’s book p. 141/142). Companies that count into that category create market dynamics and thereby significant pressure for their competition. Their performance is based on abilities, not skills.

Part of the concept is the so called ‘dual value creation’ (ref. to W&W’s book1 p. 248/249). Dual value creation is based on the strict separation of but strong link between tayloristic2 (industrial) value creation based on standards and processes (e.g. production, management) and dynamic value creation in business operations that are close to markets (e.g. sales, marketing). Already due to the fact that they look at each other as bureaucratic and chaotic the part of a separation makes sense. However, to succeed in the companies overall endeavor both sides of the coin have to be strongly interlinked.

Now comes the challenge: how do you connect chaos to structure? On what basis will the dynamic part of the organization collaborate with their structure and efficiency focused counterparts? I truly believe that socialized business operations (ref. to the Tieto Future Office® blog: http://bit.ly/rqQonk; Illustration 3) could play an essential role here.


(Illustration based on Thinking tools for dynamic markets1, p. 249)

To be blunt: the process and standard driven tools (let’s call them ERP) aren’t very appealing to the creative folks out there. Social media lookalikes aren’t really what the process and efficiency focused employees are seeking for either. Socialized business IT – inspired, not copied from social and commercial media – would be the solution to that dead lock.

Structuring the unstructured close to the market dynamics

Social media inspired communication and data distribution techniques have the side effect that unstructured data doesn’t stay that unstructured anymore. It is turned into information by adding contextual information (e.g. the commentary in a post alongside a file) and identification markers (yes, our beloved tags). Thereby data can be distributed to unspecified target groups and become structured enough to attach itself to processes. Market intelligence – even though initiated by very dynamic market interaction – can be transformed into decision support material for the strategic and planning core of the corporation.

Sneaking structure into the chaos

This concept works the other way around as well. To reach the more dynamic affine part of the organization structured data and information as well as process requirements should be blended with the dynamic flow of operations. Thereby tayloristic requirements become an integrative part of dynamic value creation – they are no longer perceived as interference.

‘Consumerisation’ of business IT is essential in this context. Process orientated software with a ‘must use’ approach isn’t a fit to nowadays benchmark of social and commercial digital services. Delivering on formal duties does not have to completely be in contrast to a positive perception of the digital workplace as a supporting tool. The same goes for the distribution of information to larger if not vast target groups, which today tend to jam e-mailboxes and mobile email clients. There’s nothing more disturbing than administrative notifications that add onto the operational avalanche of information that employees are confronted with already.

Dual value creation becomes reality

Social business can be a connector of many parts of an organization. It will connect new and existing talent to combine agility with experience. It will connect business operations to the corporate DNA of solution knowledge and a ‘we help each other’ culture. Connecting market dynamics close to customers with structure, planning and strategy is adding another attractive factor to the game. I might even be bold enough to say that maximum performers that create market dynamics instead of being driven by them have to be an enterprise 2.0.

(1) Denkwerkzeuge für Höchstleister (Thinking tools for dynamic markets), Gerhard Wohland, Matthias Wiemeyer, 1. Auflage 2007, Muhrmann Verlag

(2) Taylorism (Frederick Taylor, 1856 – 1915); ref. to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taylorism
2 comments on “sharing: 8C framework of enterprise information management #socbiz #socialbusiness #enterprise20 #e20”

sharing: 8C framework of enterprise information management #socbiz #socialbusiness #enterprise20 #e20

Summary: I am continuously searching for models and concepts that create compelling frameworks or structures around the subject of enterprise 2.0/social business. In a work group meeting of the German BITKOM association a representative of the University of Koblenz-Landau gave a presentation on the academic point of view on enterprise 2.0 initiatives. Part of that presentation was the 8C Framework for Enterprise Information Management that I would like to share in this blog post… Simply because it’s a pretty nice way for describing initiatives and classifying services and service requirements.

The following illustration shows the 8C Framework of Enterprise Information Management (EIM) with its “proximal influences” and the “activity core”.

(based on “An Empirical Study of Enterprise 2.0 in Context”, Figure 2)

Remark: Please refer to the bottom of the article for a more detailed explanation of the framework (c/p…the original can be found in the source PDF)

My thoughts on the framework

I like the fact that contribution is seen as a proximal influence. It represents the fact that “being able to coordinate” or “being able to combine” shall not be the benchmark of benefit. The economic perspective of cost/benefit should be the measure for social enterprise initiatives. I cannot agree more.

Content (management) stands for the requirement that deliveries of the activity core need a home – a home in which people and services are able to clearly identify asset. The clear identification and classification of a knowledge/information asset is the foundation of automated workspaces that provide relief and pro-active support of information workers in an environment that’s becoming more complex with each new source.

In one of my previous posts on “social just being an extension to existing objects” I’ve emphasized the fact that enriched data becomes more findable, connectable and thereby more valuable. Combination in the activity core of the 8C Framework stands exactly for that principle. The mechanics and elements of social media inspired information/data capturing allows “(…) the aggregation, integration and re-use of digital content. (…)” (1)

I also want to point out that the compliance proximity factor is not just seen as the “limiting” element. It also stands for “(…) ensuring that the relevant output from communication, collaboration, coordination and content creation are available and retrievable (…)” (1). In the context of the framework this might stand for the requirement of keeping a grip on compliance. However, if that requirement can be fulfilled to full standards the discovery and “everything connected” perspective will profit in the same way.

There is a lot more say and think about the model…but my primary driver for the post was to make the 8C Framework itself available to my network. </done> At least to the ones that didn’t know it yet 🙂

Details on the 8C Framework

(Source: “An Empirical Study of Enterprise 2.0 in Context”, Table 1)

(1) An Empirical Study of Enterprise 2.0 in Context (Williams, Schubert 2011)
1 comment on “are #coworking spaces corporations without #hierarchy? thoughts inspired by a conversation #socbiz #socialbusiness #enterprise20”

are #coworking spaces corporations without #hierarchy? thoughts inspired by a conversation #socbiz #socialbusiness #enterprise20

I’ve spent the last to days at Orgatec, the worldwide leading office furniture and concept trade fair in Cologne. I am working on a summary of my thoughts at the moment but a particular conversation inspired me to capture my thoughts separately.

I had a chat with the co-founder of a co-working space in Cologne. She described to me that their offering is not just the physical space. Their concept includes the creation of connections between the people that use the space to do their work. Physically (welcome back classic black board) as well as digitally (social media style) challenges are matched with talent and the other way around. As per her that offering is used frequently and has delivered successful and fruitful connections.

Now…thinking about my passion of enterprise 2.0 I suddenly realized that co-working spaces might be a metaphor for corporations that…

  • don’t have a formal hierarchy or structure
  • consist of self driven individualists
  • are aware that sometimes the own talent needs support

…but still experience a certain kind of steering.

In a co-working space every protagonist is responsible for the success of the own endeavor. If you fail, you will loose a customer and you have to go through the struggle of securing new business to pay the bills. The individual person is in charge. If start-ups use the co-working space as their first home base they are in charge of their journey as well. Probably one of the major drivers of entrepreneurs: see your baby grow and be in charge of providing food and education.

To create a connection to others and to find skills that compliment the own set – or even completes it – is a huge opportunity in a well organized and managed co-working space. In this context I am deliberately using the expressions of organizing and managing a co-working space. Because it’s down to the owners that

  • provide the means of networking,
  • nurture conversation and catalyze connections,
  • select the right people and nurture the variety of skills and
  • fill gaps of skill, expertise or resource.

However, their concept and offering to the actual co-workers has to be so compelling that they WANT to join the ship. They WANT to join with the awareness for the opportunities and the openness for complimenting talent.

In a co-working space enterprise 2.0 is creating individual and collaborative value…measurable by the success of individual or joint projects. Each co-work will have some kind of measurable ROI.

So the owners/managers of the co-working space might be a new form of leaders. They are the coaches, the guides, the mentors that we consultants talk about all the time when we talk about the change in managerial culture. The change away from hierarchy and task management towards network driven value creation and productivity driven success measures.

To silence the critics straight away: a 20.000 people industrial manufacturing corporation will never be some co-working space for engineering, production, sales and marketing talent. I agree to that. But for the small and medium corporations the concept of co-working and co-creation could be a valid alternative to growing companies that loose agility and flexibility with each single new full time employee.

Well…just a thought… 🙂

7 comments on “is social maybe just a logical extension of information objects? #socialbusiness #socbiz #e20 #enterprise20”

is social maybe just a logical extension of information objects? #socialbusiness #socbiz #e20 #enterprise20

Summary: Demystifying social business or enterprise 2.0 is still necessary for the majority of companies. The current phase of consolidating the results of trials, pilots and experiments has to lead to the next big thing in business IT: Enterprise 2.0 at work. Maybe this process will eventually turn out to simply be a different angle towards social business and the perception of “social” as a logical extension to information objects and thereby operational workplace solutions.

To make sense of my train of thought I would like to specify “information object” first since this expression might have a meaning to a lot of people already. For me an information object is simply a collection of data that has a meaning in itself. For example:

  • Content of an e-mail
  • Content on a website
  • Blog post
  • Document of any sort
  • Wiki entry
  • Person (even though most people most likely don’t want to be seen as objects, I suppose…)

An extension to that object is everything that has a logical relation to that object – be it a tag, people, documents, the creator of that object, conversations etc…

From a very pragmatic point of view we are only looking at two radically new concepts or mechanics in this picture when it comes to business IT:

  • Everything is connected and the connections are used to enrich the core information object and make that enrichment easily accessible for the average user.
  • Dialogue (communication) is moved in the direct context (and more or less the physical space) of the information object.

In commercial and social IT these concepts have long been realized. Otherwise contextual advertising, relevancy based recommendations and behavioural targeting wouldn’t be possible. Furthermore information objects are an embedded part of conversations on social media sites – you will never find a conversation around a picture that everyone has stored on the hard drive.

In the future connected objects will simply share the same space…so they will be “social” 😉 (as social as objects can be…)

Extend existing business IT…socialize the 1.0 workspace!

I believe that companies need more connections – amongst people and amongst information objects. I also believe that more transparency, more dialogue and the culture of sharing will be essential to the evolution of information work.

I do not believe in the corporate social network approach. I don’t think that the internal Facebook or Twitter will deliver sustainable results and drive change beyond early adopters and nerds. I am not sure if “social software” has a long term future.

Socialized business IT (actual business applications that are flavored with social mechanics) that enforces the connected enterprise by simply connecting everything and everyone on the fly is the future on the digital desktop. “On the fly” however, will be the key: everything will happen in the day to day business context, the actual operational work individuals and teams conduct at the workplace. There will be no active “I have to share this” or “I have to connect myself to this”. If it’s relevant and if it shares context it will be connected automatically. It will become the common way of working.

One day we will look at a document that has no conversation around it, no statement such as “if you like this you might want to have a look at that” or no people connected to it and we will think: scrap it…it cannot be worth anything.

One day we will look at a profile that has no further connections and we will think: that person probably doesn’t work here anymore.

One day the extensions of an information object will be the real path to it and the indicator of it’s value.

One day business IT will add value to people with every single byte.

0 comments on “via @appirio: State of Social At Work & my take on it #socbiz #socialbusiness #e20 #enterprise20”

via @appirio: State of Social At Work & my take on it #socbiz #socialbusiness #e20 #enterprise20

My network has shared this multiple times and I have to admit that I really like the content of this very brief elaboration on the current state of “social at work”

My take on this:

The pulse of social at work (ref. to slide 3)

I see a direct connection between the graph on slide 3 and one of the exhibits in MGI’s report on social business. I suggest that MGI’s result is reflecting the 2nd phase (bottom of the blue curve) in Appirio’s graph.

Social business processes? (ref. to slide 8)

With regards to the budgetary situation and plans in organisations I am asking myself if social business is really about “making business processes more social”? I still believe that social mechanics and dynamics will make it easier for employees to (individually or collaboratively) navigate through existing business processes. My point of view is that we have to enable pople with shared goals (KPIs) to be successful. Business IT – the tool box for employees – has to turn into real (like REAL) support to overcome the day-to-day work challenges.

Social tools vs. socialised Business IT (ref. to slide 9)

I don’t think that companies need social tools – they need social mechanics for communication and information logistics in ALL business applications. E-mail is dead but the way back to a useful and manageable inbox is not the order from above but the enablement for people to navigate through the day with certainty that they will get hold of everything urgent and important.

Don’t try to swallow an elephant (ref. to slide 14)

Yes, corporate and work culture require substantial change. However, if we make this a prerequisite for the success of socialised business IT we will be waiting much longer than we have to. Let’s take baby steps that nudge change into the right direction. Culture will never be changed – it will change by itself and needs a catalyst to change in the right direction and with the right speed.

5 comments on “#motivation: avoidance more motivating than objectives? inspired by a friend + coach #e20 #socbiz #socialenterprise #enterprise20”

#motivation: avoidance more motivating than objectives? inspired by a friend + coach #e20 #socbiz #socialenterprise #enterprise20

Summary: I want to share my point of view on avoidance vs. objective orientated motivation and the way that this has actually methodologically helped me in providing support for prioritisation, roadmap management and quick win identification. Please understand it as “playing with a thought” for now 🙂

In an inspiring discussion around organisational change and leadership a good friend of mine raised the argument that people are more motivated by getting away from a certain state (e.g. low social status) than by trying to achieve a new one (e.g. becoming a top manager). Looking at what seems to be driving (the majority of) companies to start or accelerate the endeavours around enterprise 2.0/social enterprise this is a really interesting perspective. Most of the time presentations and mission statements read stuff like

  • we want to activate out expertise and talent
  • we want to get people connected
  • we want to improve knowledge management and access
  • we want to re-use out experience
  • etc.

At the same time motivation, driving adoption and cultural change are (undoubtedly) perceived as key success factors. Based on the conversation with my friend I am asking myself: what would be
different if the motivation for ’change’ would be communicated in the format of ’what we are trying to get away from’ instead of ’where we will be in 5 years’?

I actually believe that there could be something to it…

Ever since I’ve been dealing with the enterprise 2.0 subject it has been a challenge for people I spoke to to really put a finger on what they want – or what they believe to need. Describing it without using technology, platform or benchmark references this exercise is always pretty tough. In particular if the description had to be very short term focussed – not something that eventually will be the result of a larger change (in the worst case even requiring substantial cultural change). To some extend this is even logical. Because how would you know what you want if you have never seen it in action in the context of your daily challenges?

Remember: ’what do you want?’ is not how market research is done in the field of commercial goods. It’s rather:

  • what don’t you like about the product?
  • which of these do you like best?
  • what should be different to make it better fit your needs?

Professionally I’ve (first subconsciously then actually based on actual methodology) addressed this issue by simply asking the questions: ’What is preventing you from being excellent?’ and ‘How did you manage to achieve excellence?’. In this context it’s important to emphasise that I don’t care about what’s required to achieve goals or expected results. I only care about excellence…being unbeatable…way beyond average…being a super performer.

Answers to that question were totally easy to give. If not limited by time the conversations around what keeps people from really kicking it could have gone on forEVER 🙂

What I learned from the conversations was what people are trying to get away from. Things that are driving them nuts every day. Efforts that are draining them and sucking all the energy from them. That particular knowledge has always been the most valuable in distinguishing priorities and roadmaps. Furthermore it has been extremely helpful in active listening exercises to match suggestions to requirements.

Now…applying this on operational level and in the initiation and development of social enterprise endeavours isn’t that much of a challenge. Applying this in the larger context and as an essential pillar of change management and implementation requires certain basic conditions that are…to be polite…challenging for some organisations:

  • Are you willing to openly communicate where you (excuse my English) really suck at?
  • Have you been (like REALLY) listening to people and their operational pains?
  • Are you aware that a networked organisation needs the time and inspiration to network, which means: less hurdles in the day to day work?
  • Are you able of openly communicating the shortfalls in business operations and thereby create the (measurable) benchmark for the improvements (= create a foundation for ROI calculation)
  • Are you willing to accept excellence as the benchmark?
  • etc…

I believe that the motivation to avoid concrete hurdles is more effective than the one to win the 200m run (yes…if you’re Bolt, things might be different…but if corporations would be made out of Bolts we wouldn’t have half the problems ;-)). However, I am NOT saying that a vision is no longer needed. I just believe  – even though I might be stating the obvious here – that a tangible perspective and reason-why are very powerful to drive adoption and commitment on the journey to the connected enterprise.

1 comment on “my reflection on the latest McK Global Institute Report on #socialeconomy #socialbusiness #socbiz #enterprise20 #e20”

my reflection on the latest McK Global Institute Report on #socialeconomy #socialbusiness #socbiz #enterprise20 #e20

Preamble: The McKinsey Global Institute has just recently published “The social economy: Unlocking value and productivity through social technologies” [1]. This is my personal interpretation of some of their reported results. All exhibits are taken from the report without changes and with reference to the original source within the report. All other excerpts of the report are marked accordingly with a reference to the original source.

Summary: Enterprise 2.0 has become a pretty serious subject. More and and more substantial reports are published on the subject. The software market is starting to slowly consolidate (sometimes even with a bang) but additional ( not necessarily mind boggling) software solutions are still being launched. Looking at the latest McKinsey Global Institute report there are some interesting tendencies and evolutions in the subject. What still strikes me is the fact that most of the benefit is still expected to happen in more “classic” information work roles (sales, marketing, r&d). Even though the fact that social is a feature, not a product, is recognized (MGI, p.17) I am still missing reports how in particular process and workflow related work was successfully flavoured and boosted with the use of social components. Connecting people with the same (quantitative) goal still seems to me the most promising approach towards applying the social business mechanics. Here’s my interpretation…and I haven’t cut a long story short.

A little dent to the hype.

“What’s in for the business?” is probably the most discussed question in social business initiatives and it’s one of the most frequent question I get asked as well. I believe that the biggest business case will lie in the individual benefit for the users of “socialized” business IT (see also Thesis #1 in http://goo.gl/ExwBH (in German)). That the overall business contribution is important to justify substantial investments that will be able to compete with e.g. ERP budgets is however not disputable.

Looking at the following exhibit of the MGI report there is an interesting interpretation possible…


(Source: MGI 2012, p. 28, Exhibit 11)

All except one categories show a decline from 2010 to 2011. My personal take on this is that since 2009 companies have been experimenting with social software and over time adapting solutions such as Yammer and Tibbr – rolling out the internal Facebook. In 2010 involvement and activity in social tools as well as the amount of captured knowledge surely counted as “measurable gains”. Simply because no company has measured the baseline on which actual performance contribution could be evaluated. In 2011 there seems to be some kind of realization that just capturing the stuff doesn’t cut it. That’s why the intensity of serious ROI is seriously increasing. We will be seeing much more serious evaluation of business KPI based gains, that’s for sure. For that in particular it would be valuable to look at industry work tasks that could be improved with a better glue between people and process.

If you ask me relevant KPI for measuring social business inspired operational performance could be

● Run time of collaborative work (e.g. project overruns)

● Resource cost (time/people)

● Documentation efforts

● Efficiency of subsequent process steps that are heavily reliant on the preceding steps

With regards to that the MGI report even elaborates on the current state most corporations are at with the use of social technology: "(…) Most companies have begun to use social technologies, but the vast majority use them in limited ways and thus derive limited value. According to a McKinsey survey, almost 80 percent of corporations that use social technologies are still "developing", meaning they are reporting a low level of benefits from their use of social technologies to interact with employees, customers, and business partners. (…)" [2]

That would actually add even more reasoning to the interpretation of Exhibit 11 (above).

Contribution of social features.

I really like the way MGI has set out the areas where ‘social’ can add value in corporations.


(Source: MGI 2012, p. 8, Exhibit 3)

A lot of it has to do with “surfacing” and “matching” stuff (meant in a positive way). For my taste operations and distribution is the area where most of the quantitatively measurable gains would occur in the short term. This doesn’t mean that the other areas wouldn’t deliver measurable results. I simply believe that a substantial impact in cross-organizational and effectiveness oriented areas requires more time and in some parts even the so often emphasized organizational change. In operations and distribution particularly #3 could be even improved by replacing “distribute” by “connect” and “make transparent/trackable” and “easy to navigate”. I truly believe that a lot of work that is done with the help of ERP in the backend could be substantially improved by providing social glue between the formal elements of process based work and its protagonists.

Based on my experience one of the characteristics of social technologies would definitely be a huge leap forward: "(…) Social technologies enable new forms of content creation, distribution and consumption (…)" [3]. This isn’t just relevant and beneficial in knowledge work. Especially within processes as well as from the perspective of subsequent processes quality, transparency and completeness of documentation (and not just documents) is essential for the joint success.

Just to avoid confusion: I am not saying that in sales, product management, marketing etc. quantitative value wouldn’t be created. From an industrial perspective however, the real impact will lie within extending the concept of Kaizen [4] to the work that is attached to the actual production process (eg. the entire phase from selling to handing over complex industrial product specifications).

All three characteristics would contribute immense value in that context:


(Source: MGI 2012, p. 16, Box 1)

Therefore I actually believe that the sector of industrial manufacturing should range higher in the following chart:


(Source: MGI 2012, p. 10, Exhibit 4)

A new category: interaction work

It’s the first time that I explicitly read about interaction work categorized as “(…) employees whose work requires complex interactions with other people and independent judgment (…)[5]. With regards to quantitative benefits and measurable results this actually is a real good description of the area of information work in which socialized software could add substantial value.

The following illustration sets out the areas in which social technologies could raise productivity of information workers:


(Source: MGI 2012, p. 47, Exhibit 20)

At the end of the day the illustration is describing information logistics and communications – probably the most challenging parts of e-mail and network folder based information work. The only thing I dare to doubt is the improvement in role specific tasks that do not qualify as communication, collaboration, information handling or e-mail management. Depending on the level of dependency of others (not collaboration in the sense of “co-creation”) this could be substantially higher.

RETRIEVAL is the magic word

(…) It is so early in the learning cycle about social technologies that there is not
yet a reliable instruction manual to tell large organizations how to use social technologies most effectively. However, we have seen enough evidence to
believe that the long-run potential does exist. Organizations that are moving
along this path have begun to experiment with new organizational processes, forms, and practices. We can point in the direction of some factors that can guide organizations’ experiments as they seek to capture this value over time.

The idea of communicating with colleagues across a company the way employees communicate with friends on Facebook is easily understood, but actually embedding the use of social technologies into day-to-day workflows is
 a considerable challenge. It is also easy to see how turning business messages into content that can be discovered and accessed by many people can make life easier for interaction workers, but making sure that the most relevant information is fed to people when they need it is a problem for which technology solutions will continue to improve. (…)[6].

Creating content and feeds of ideas, actions, comments, questions and other “stuff” is one thing. Making sure that people can be 100% certain that they won’t miss out on essentials is another (ref. to http://goo.gl/i7X4d; a related blog post on the subject). I agree that technological solutions will improve over time. However, I do not believe that we will be ever reaching the “everything on a silver plate” level of automation (ref. to http://goo.gl/H8gJ5; related blog article on pro-activeness and responsiblity). A lot of the – even in the MGI report so often emphasized – required cultural and operational change will have to do with the mind set change of employees. There will be a lot more means to be more effective, efficient and well informed. To achieve this will only partly have to do with technology. Employees have carry more responsibility for themselves as well as for others. Managers will have to support that development and create the formal framework in which performance evaluation has to incorporate collaborative elements as well as the ability to share (not just dump stuff into an activity feed) and retrieve (not just sit at a dashboard waiting for relevant stuff to pop up).


The social and commercial media inspired workplace and the related organizational, structural as well managerial change is a revolution. Things will never be the same and information work will be transformed into something that wouldn’t have been possible without the inspiration of commercial IT. If one has the chance to get involved with the subject: go for it! Following the evolution of available publications on enterprise 2.0, social business and social technology is mind boggling. It’s already obvious that we’re on off the plateau of the enterprise 2.0 hype – slowly but steadily. We shouldn’t make the mistake to completely suffocate the new potential by ROI, excel sheets and cries for KPIs. However, if the enterprise 2.0 enthusiast (I count myself to those) want to tap into the same budgets as the ERP folks we have to prove the value of the “new way of working”. We have to show how socially inspired business IT can change the day to day work and unleash incredible potential that lies hidden within large corporations.

It couldn’t be more exciting, could it?

0 comments on “#enterprise20 = foundation of evolving organizations; breaking with the paradigm of individual #lifelonglearning; #e20 #socialbusiness”

#enterprise20 = foundation of evolving organizations; breaking with the paradigm of individual #lifelonglearning; #e20 #socialbusiness

Summary: ‘Companies must evolve from being knowledge organizations to developing organizations’ – that’s the quote of an industry representative that tickled my brain while I was moderating a world cafe session last week. I want to go even further: they have to become continuously evolving organizations. ‘Life long learning’ is one of the principles that is put on individuals and that’s kept like some kind of mantra by some. I believe that the real power lies in life long learning and evolving companies – whereof individuals are an essential part. Enterprise 2.0 mechanics can help organizations to lay the foundation for that kind of development.

Combining multiple perspectives.

At the same event an academia representative mentioned their endeavor to connect students from multiple disciplines to project groups. They have to work on a joint challenge as part of their studies. I wish I would have had the opportunity to study under such forward thinking professors because in work life the really game changing ideas, concepts and solutions come from combining multiple perspectives (= multiple disciplines).

In the future it will be less about the knowledge a single individual. It will be more about the intelligence of an individual to combine the own intellectual capabilities with ones of others and global knowledge that becomes more and more accessible.

You don’t have to know everything, You have to know where to look for it.

In particular our fast paced and more and more scattered way of working requires exactly that: the combination of all available (intellectual) assets to solve problems efficiently and effectively. The increasing complexity of challenges and influencing factors is adding to this requirement. I keep quoting G. Wohland’s: Companies tend to ask themselves the wrong question. If you’re facing a situation that hits you by surprise you shouldn’t ask what to do now because you cannot not what to do. I wouldn’t be a surprise if you would be aware of options. You should ask yourself who would be the right person to deal with the subject. (Another reference to Wohland’s thinking can be found here http://goo.gl/cM9f7)

It’s not about proprietary knowledge – and I am thereby not(!) implying that the actually abilities, skills and knowledge of a person aren’t important anymore. It’s about the ability to COMBINE proprietary and complementary skills to a powerful tool for solving challenges.

Awareness of limits and ability to find complementing skills is key.

The awareness – and in particular the acceptance – of (individual) limits however, is a cultural thing. Corporations must create an environment in which individuals are able to expose weakness in certain areas and actively ask for help. Flip side of the coin is: ‘the others’ have to have the flexibility and autonomy to offer and apply their help whenever needed. Again: this should not imply that the sole existence of employees will be built on "sit and wait for a challenge to come by" but the fact that a certain fraction of the personal time can be applied to non-core-role stuff…to helping others (I call this a "we help each other" culture).

The ability is something that can be supported and even empowered by enterprise 2.0 mechanisms and thereby IT. Based on my understanding of the subject the following "user stories" can definitely be "ticked off".

  • Make my skills and expertise visible to others (be findable…distributing content to an undefined group of recipients)
  • Have access to skills and expertise available in the organization (receiving specific, relevant and available content)
  • Refine information and determine the "best fit" (filtering of large information volumes)
  • Relevant profiles should be matched to challenges I am working on (people who have worked on similar challenges have used these experts…)

A social and commercial(!) media inspired workspace can be the enabler for a new way of working…the combination of the real experts to solve challenges quickly, focussed and successfully.

The evolving organization.

The more challenges are solved through the new way of working, the more networks will be established and the more information/data will be put into context. Key improvements would be

  • Re-inventing the wheel will be happen on fewer occasions.
  • Wasting time with something that isn’t core skill will be eliminated. It will be the experts that solve a challenge in shorter time.
  • Working in x-skill and x-expertise projects or "temporary solution swarms" will increase individual skills (training on the job).
  • The corporate DNA (what we know, what we have done) will be documented and made transparent and available.

The role of management in the evolving organization will of course change. Managers will turn into coaches and guides within the network of opportunities and they will have the role to support individuals in balancing own (core) work with the work in temporary swarms (real collaboration).

0 comments on “my latest article in LEAD digital 06_2012 on #socialbusiness (German)”

my latest article in LEAD digital 06_2012 on #socialbusiness (German)

In the June issue of the German LEAD digital (published by the Verlag Werben & Verkaufen, a subsidiary of the Sueddeutsche Verlag) you can find an article on the basics of social business.  The essay contains references to my thinking around the change in leadership, work and collaboration culture as well as the challenges for change management and adaption.

The article was published in German. A link to the PDF can be found here or in the “publications” section of my site.

Special thanks to LEAD digital for the approval to publish this on my website!

2 comments on ““Jetzt seid doch mal sozial!” German essay on #enterprise20 #socialbusiness #e20”

“Jetzt seid doch mal sozial!” German essay on #enterprise20 #socialbusiness #e20

Ein Essay über den Einsatz von Social Business Software am Arbeitsplatz und die radikale Veränderung von Wissens- und Informationsarbeit.

Da ist noch was drin!

Enterprise 2.0 (aka Social Business) beschreibt den Einsatz von Software am Arbeitsplatz, die ihren Ursprung in der eher kommerziellen IT hat. Bereits 2009 hat Andrew McAfee mit seinem Buch “New Collaborative Tools for Your Organization’s Toughest Challenges” (2009, Harvard Business Publishing) die IT Abteilungen aus einem Dornröschen-Schlaf gerissen. Chat, Blogs, Wikis, Tag Clouds, Activity Feeds & Co. finden ihren Weg auf die Monitore der Wissens- und Informationsarbeiter. Eingesetzt mit der Überzeugung die Menschen von 9 bis 17 Uhr nun mit dem zu versorgen, was sie sowieso toll ganz finden.

Der Beweis dafür scheint ja bereits erbracht: Sobald es auf einer Konferenz heute um die sozialen Medien geht, darf es nicht fehlen: das Facebook Slide! 900+ Millionen Nutzer[1]. Das drittgrößte Land der Welt. Mindestens so beeindruckend ist die unfassbare Zahl an (sauber verschlagworteten und geo-getaggten) Fotos (300 Mio.) und Likes/Kommentare (3.2 Mrd.), die im hier pro Tag zugefügt werden[2]. Am Ende des Monats haben Nutzer dann im Schnitt bis zu 8 Stunden[3] vor der Kiste verbracht und sich aktiv mit Facebook auseinander gesetzt.

Pro Minute… [4]

  • 98.000+ Tweets
  • 100 neue LinkedIn Accounts
  • 600 neue Videos auf YouTube

Das ist es. Das muss es sein. So kriegen wir sie!

Social Media am Arbeitsplatz.

In den letzten Jahren haben sich (abgesehen von einigen Ausnahmen) zwei grundsätzliche Ausprägungen für Social Business Initiativen heraus kristallisiert.

Da gibt es die Unternehmen, die 1:1 auf den Hype aufspringen und direkt kopieren, was das Internet vorgibt. Eine Kategorie von Social Business Software orientiert sich stark an Aufbau und v.a. Funktionsumfang der sozialen Medien. Darunter fallen z.B. Yammer, VMWare’s Socialcast oder Salesforce Chatter. Mit Hilfe dieser Software versuchen Unternehmen nun zu imitieren, was im Netz passiert und die Mitarbeiter zum Bilden von Wissensnetzwerken und dem Teilen von Expertise zu bringen. Man könnte die Einführungsstrategie etwa so umschreiben: Los. Seid jetzt mal sozial!

Die zweite Variante ist der Einsatz von Social Business Software, die alles an Funktionen im Gepäck hat, was man sich nur vorstellen kann. Süffisant wird diese Software-Kategorie auch gerne als “900 Pfund Gorilla” bezeichnet – und wenn Sie den ungezähmt durch die Gänge scheuchen, können Sie sich ungefähr ausmalen, was passiert. In dieses Segment fallen z.B. Microsoft SharePoint, IBM Connections und JIVE, die Riesen im Bereich Business Software (vgl auch Forrester Wave™, Q3/2011). Die Einführungsstrategie dieser Lösungen ist (auch hier von Ausnahmen abgesehen) ist dann: Alles da! Sucht Euch raus, was ihr gerne hättet.

Der Mensch ist ein Gewohnheitstier.

Beiden Initiativen würde man in der Schule das Zeugnis “sie waren sichtlich bemüht” ausstellen. Denn ohne Zweifel glauben Unternehmen ihren Mitarbeitern etwas Gutes zu tun. Es steht auch außer Frage, dass immer eine kritische Masse an Nutzern findet, die mitmachen. Fragt man die richtigen, wird auch über die Effekte berichtet werden, die man sich erhofft hat: Netzwerke sind entstanden und Wissen wurde geteilt.

Ich frage aber: was hat sich substanziell verändert? Gab es eine radikale Veränderung der Arbeitsweise und Zusammenarbeitskultur – eine Veränderung an der Wurzel? Meine Überzeugung ist: nein. Zumindest hatte ich noch nicht das Vergnügen ein echtes Enterprise 2.0, ein Social Business, eine echte, vernetzte Organisation kennen zu lernen (Anmerkung: Wenn das hier jemand liest, der in einer arbeitet, bitte melden: @for_desire_it)

Aber warum ist das so?

Weil der Mensch ein Gewohnheitstier ist. Ganz einfach. Über die vergangenen Jahre haben wir uns an Paradigmen gewöhnt, die für den “Switch” in Richtung Social Business überwunden werden müssen. Nicht umsonst werden immer noch in zahlreichen Firmen Facebook, Twitter & Co. blockiert (Hier wird gearbeitet!). Wer auf seine Zielvereinbarung schaut, wird die folgenden Ziele auch eher selten finden:

  • Wiederverwendung von bestehendem Lösungswissen beim Erfüllen der eigenen Aufgabe
  • Verfügbar machen von eigenem Wissen über ein gepflegtes Profil und auffindbar abgelegte Dokumentation
  • Mind. 15 Menschen pro Quartal essenziell helfen
  • Mind. 5 Mal im Quartal Dinge außerhalb der Komfortzone tun und dabei aktiv um Hilfe fragen

Wir haben Menschen daran gewöhnt, dass Business IT (also die Software am Arbeitsplatz) etwas ist, was man nutzen MUSS. Wir haben Menschen daran gewöhnt, dass man zwar im Team arbeitet, Bonus, Gehalt und Karriere aber direkt an der “individuellen Performance” hängen. Wir haben Menschen daran gewöhnt, dass Wissen Macht ist und dass die Frage nach Hilfe eher ein Anzeichen von Schwäche ist. Diese Verhaltensweisen stellt man nicht mit einem Stück Software ab.

Ja, diese Sichtweise ist sehr schwarz/weiß und einige Leser werden sagen: „so schlimm ist das bei uns nun auch wieder nicht“. Arbeit an der Wurzel findet aber nur statt, wenn man hier und da auch gesundes Gewebe zur Seite schiebt.

Die Herausforderung für Organisationen liegt nicht in dem Roll-out neuer (vielleicht auch besserer) Software. Sie liegt in der Transformation und der Erkenntnis, dass es nicht mehr die Universallösung gibt. Wir machen aus hierarchischen Firmen keine freischwebend organisierten Netzwerke. E-Mail lässt sich nicht per (pressewirksamer) Arbeitsanweisung verbannen und durch Aktivitäten auf einer Social Business Plattform ersetzen, wie es der CEO eines global agierenden IT Dienstleisters versucht hat.

Menschen motivieren, das ist die stärkste Art und Weise, Veränderung von Verhalten zu etablieren. Unternehmen müssen das schaffen, was die sozialen Medien eindrucksvoll beweisen: Menschen setzen sich dann mit einer IT Plattform auseinander, wenn sie den individuellen Nutzen erkennen, spüren können. Denn Facebook und Twitter sind nichts anderes als IT Services mit einem stetig komplexer werdenden Umfang an Funktionen. Dennoch nehmen die Nutzer- und Nutzungszahlen stetig zu. Denn die sozialen Medien haben es geschafft, intrinsisches (von innen kommendes) Verhalten zu adressieren:

  • Teilen, Mitteilen, Beteiligen
  • Gegenseitige Inspiration
  • Kommunikation in Echtzeit
  • Sich kennenlernen, vernetzen, befreunden

These #1: Es geht nicht um die Kopie eines digitalen Internet-Angebots. Es geht um die Fähigkeit, Menschen zu einem ähnlichen Verhalten am Arbeitsplatz zu motivieren.

Aber wie erklärt man aber einem Menschen, dass er sich ab heute am Arbeitsplatz genauso verhalten soll, wie am Abend mit dem iPad vor der Glotze? Wie erklärt man Managern, dass sie plötzlich keine Überwacher zu erfüllender Aufgaben sondern Coach und Wegweiser durch das Netzwerk der Organisation sind? Denn beides war in den letzten Jahrzehnten nicht gefragt. Da ging es um Prozessanweisungen, Regelwerke für Wissensmanagement und die Gleichung “Anwesenheit = Produktivität”.

Man erklärt es mit einem Business Case. Auch wenn Andrew McAfee gegen die klassische Evaluierung eines potenziellen ROIs ist[5], um Social Business Initiativen zu argumentieren, ohne ganz ohne „Case“ geht es nicht. Allerdings braucht Social Business den Case für die Protagonisten und nicht die Entscheider und Manager. Es geht nicht um den Case „Wie rechnet sich Social Software für unser Unternehmen?“ sondern um „Wie rechnet sich mein Beitrag und meine Beteiligung bei diesen neuen Angeboten? Was ist für mich drin?“ Diese Frage muss beantwortet werden, damit unter den aktuellen Rahmenbedingungen der Einsatz von Social Business Software einen substanziellen Beitrag leisten kann. Aufgrund von Breite (Anzahl) und Tiefe (Anwendungsfälle) der Nutzung in einer Organisation. Weit über das „interne Facebook“ hinaus.

These #2: Die Veränderung der operativen Arbeit ist der Schritt vor dem Etablieren interner Communities und Netzwerke. Der digitale Arbeitsplatz muss eine neue Qualität der Arbeitshilfe werden – inspiriert von erfolgreichen Methoden aus sozialen und kommerziellen Internet-Angeboten.

Schon Stephen R. Covey hat als eine Regel seiner “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”[6] festgelegt: first things first – immer schön der Reihe nach. Ich bin der Überzeugung, dass der Weg zur vernetzten Organisation – auch über die Grenzen des Unternehmens hinaus – über die folgenden Stufen gehen muss:

STUFE 1 – Das Verbinden von Menschen mit gemeinsamen Zielen

Informationslogistik und Kommunikationseffizienz stehen hier im Vordergrund. Menschen, die gemeinsam zum gleichen Ziel kommen sollen, stehen regelmäßig vor der Herausforderung das ohne Hürdenlauf bewerkstelligen zu können. Hier neue Methoden für den Umgang mit Daten, Information und Dokumentation zu etablieren und alle kommunikativ auf den gleichen Nenner zu heben, liefert direkt spürbar Wert.

STUFE 2 – Das Verbinden von Menschen mit gemeinsamen Themen und Interessen

Es ist an der Zeit, sich um die Aktivierung der DNA der Organisation zu kümmern. Es geht um das Wissen, was in den Köpfen und Servern eines Unternehmens schlummert. Bisher haben wir versucht es mit immer gleichen Aufklebern zu versehen und in Kisten zu packen – irgendwer wird’s schon wieder finden. In Zukunft geht es um Wissensaktivierung. Die Intelligenz einer Organisation (egal ob als Mensch oder Dokument) muss sich automatisch an Herausforderungen heften. So, wie es bezahlte Suchergebnisse und Profil-gesteuerte Banner mit Nutzern im Internet machen.

STUFE 3 – Die Vernetzte Organisation

Wenn wir (um einiges) weiter in die Zukunft blicken, werden wir etwas finden, was heute eher noch eine Ausnahme ist: temporäre Intelligenz-Schwärme zum Lösen von Herausforderungen. Menschen finden sich spontan und situationsbedingt, um gemeinsam eine Aufgabe zu lösen. Danach löst sich die Gruppe wieder auf. Die Dokumentation von Erfolgen steht allen jederzeit zur Verfügung – der Einsatz des Wissens andere für den individuellen Erfolg ist ein essenzieller Bestandteil von Zielsetzung und Erfolgsmessung. Nur gemeinsam ist man stark. Diese Vernetzung wird über Unternehmensgrenzen hinaus geschehen und das bisherige Verständnis von Unternehmen als nahezu geschlossene Ökosysteme in Frage stellen. Genauso wie neue Arbeitsmodelle, bei denen die Festanstellung eher Seltenheitswert genießt.

Der Nutzen aus diesen Evolutionsstufen sollte der Treiber für die Veränderung in Richtung einer vernetzten Organisation – eines Social Business sein. Meinem Gefühl nach sind Unternehmen aktuell motiviert, den Schritt in Richtung Social Business zu machen weil sie eine echte Unsicherheit im Umgang mit der neuen Generation von Mitarbeitern spüren. Die Digital Natives bereiten den klassischen Managern echte Kopfschmerzen. Da kommen nun die, die mit dem Internet aufgewachsen sind. Sie sind fordern mehr Flexibilität und einen digitalen Arbeitsplatz von der Qualität moderner Internet-Services. Das mag so sein. Nichtsdestotrotz sollten wir die Leistungsträger nicht aus dem Auge verlieren, die heute das Rad am Laufen halten. Die tatsächliche Herausforderung liegt darin, den Menschen, die heute für uns arbeiteten und denen, die in Zukunft dazukommen einen gemeinsamen Nenner zu ermöglichen. Sie müssen gemeinsam ihre Ziele erreichen können.


Social Business ist eine Revolution. Diese Revolution verändert die Art und Weise, wie Menschen miteinander arbeiten und Wert schöpfen. Sie verändert die Rollen von Managern, Organisation und Zielvereinbarungen. Sie macht aus Kooperation Kollaboration. Sie wird Menschen und Wissen in einer vollkommen neuen Art vernetzen. Diese Revolution wird sich aber nicht in der Nutzerzahl von sozialen Features am Arbeitsplatz reflektieren. Sie wird sich in der Veränderung von Arbeitskultur, dem Verständnis für Management und Leadership und in einer tatsächlich neuen Art des Arbeitens niederschlagen. Business IT, die sich von sozialen und kommerziellen Medien inspirieren lässt, wird nur ein Baustein sein, der bei dieser Veränderung helfen kann.