0 comments on “My thoughts on boxes, construction sets & custom solutions.”

My thoughts on boxes, construction sets & custom solutions.

Summary: As part of my work in the field of the Digital Workplace I get asked one question a lot (even though I am not really a technology expert): “It’s 2016. Can’t we just buy this as a box somewhere?”. My answer to that is always: “Depending on how flexible you are as an organisation and what you mean by ‘box’.” So, this article is my personal(!) angle on the three main options to deliver modern digital services (probably as blurry as communication & collaboration in its scope). Personal angle, because I am not an analyst and because I don’t have the ambition to come across as one. My point of view is primarily driven by my experience in projects when I represent the business side of things.

I sincerely believe that we are moving out of the age of proprietary and specification driven development. Two factors seem to influence this with tremendous momentum:

  1. The substantial change of quality SaaS (that’s what we used to call the cloud in the old days) provides on almost all levels: scope, easy-of-use, governance, performance, availability, evolution/roadmap, mobility etc.
  2. The lack of effectiveness in allocating OPEX and CAPEX to infrastructure and systems that aren’t remotely core to the source of business

A third seems to emerge as well: compliance. In various projects (and it feels like a trend already) business owners have made sure that data touched by the project is business critical but not regulated! This means that there is very little legal leverage to argue “cloud security” by principle. For non-regulated content it’s almost a guarantee that cloud vendors have a better angle on data security than the heavy metal t-shirted guys in your basement.

The most significant change in this new playground: requirements engineering.

To play with boxes or modular systems requires new rules. The best way to determine, if you play by these new rules, is to never need a specification. In the new world, requirements and processes have to adapt to the capabilities of the target infrastructure and solutions (or the combination of modules/solutions therein). There simply isn’t the option to ask for the button on the upper right instead of a text link on the lower left anymore. The designers of the box want it up there, and if you don’t like it: get another box!

Organisations have to even learn a different way of determining requirements. They have to leave wiggle room to ready-to-use services in order to address the requirements properly. That requires intellectual flexibility on all sides: business stakeholders as well as (internal) solution experts. Therefore new methods of requirements engineering and documentation are needed.

Let’s talk about the scenarios

The following part of this article will only refer to three scenarios but not solutions or platforms that might fall into those. Primarily because I don’t want this article to be perceived as “analyst material” but more importantly because the “modular” scenario can be built from more than one solution/platform/service.


In order to provide the core content of this article in a somehow re-usable format I will use a structure: my take on each option divided by

  • non-DWP analogy
  • benefit
  • consequences
  • key questions in the business context

Firstly this structure will help to align my point of view with yours, the reader (most likely not always 100% matching). Secondly I want to provide inspiration for readers that are confronted with the decision between the scenarios and seek for additional input for the decision process.

Option1: Boxed

You buy a space ship in a toy store. It’s called “space ship” and it comes in one piece – as a space ship.

You know what you get. You know what to expect and so does everyone who’s going to play with you. If your play requires space travel, interstellar transport and artificial gravity, you’re all set.

The play is limited to the context in which a space ship makes sense. To play “summer camp 2014” will require a lot of creativity in

  • framing (change management)
  • execution (user experience & add value)
  • adaption (requirements re-engineering)

Questions in a business context

  • Are your business requirements clear enough so that you can determine a (reasonable) match with a technology? Do you need a space ship?
  • Can everyone use the new box? (e.g.: do you infinite bandwidth everywhere?)
  • Have you made sure that “out of the box” doesn’t mean “out of the boxISH” in the vendor’s sale pitch? In German you say “Auslegungssache” ;o)
  • Do you know all the other boxes in your company? Do you know the boxes that will be brought in in the near future? Do you understand how things will play together or create redundancy?
  • Are your functional requirements flexible enough so that they can adapt to how things are done within the new box?
  • Is your organisational willing to change the current standards (processes, ways of working, guidelines etc.) so that YOU will be compliant with the new box (not the other way around)?

Option 2: Modular

You buy a construction set to build a space ship. The set it build from some common standards and some space ship specific pieces. *

You are way more flexible in your play. You can adapt the space ship depending on space ship play relevant factors. You don’t even have to use all pieces and still build a space ship. Some standards in the set will help you to address needs that aren’t specific to space ship plays.

If you don’t follow the exact (child proof) plan on how to build the space ship you need the experience (not just the vision) on how to build a space ship. Not everything you can build from a space ship construction set will be a space ship, which might be confusing to others.

You need a solid understanding for the priorities in your space ship play, so that you can cater to them. If you leave pieces out you need a reason-why. If you leave out all the space ship specific pieces, there was no need to buy the set in the first place.

Questions in business context

  • Do you have a plan? (literally)
  • Do you have internal competence to work with and maintain construction sets? It is a different ball game compared to standard solution operations…
  • Have you matched your plan to the construction set?
  • If you leaves pieces out, do you have a reason-why for the ones that “always wanted something like that”?
  • If you start small, do you have a roadmap for adding the other pieces?
  • Does your construction set play well with other sets and boxes in your organisation? Does it have to?

Option 3: Custom

The following statements will make you feel that I am not necessarily a “custom” fan anymore. However, there can be good reasons to go fully customised. It’s all a matter of requirements engineering and cost/benefit analysis.

You get some raw material and you build a space ship.

It’s the space ship that fits a specification, which was built on known requirements. It’s yours. You are in charge, if you don’t sell and lease it back…


  • Your requirements have to be spot on (correct and complete)
  • Your specification has to be spot on (correct and complete…and ideally tested)
  • Prioritised requirements automatically lead to a roadmap and release management. It’s good to have the future 1.5 releases in mind to avoid “cul-de-sacs”.
  • You better test your space ship before you fly off because it’s a brand new space ship

(Pragmatic) questions in business context

  • There is really no box out there that would fit your requirements? Really, really?
  • Is “custom” connected to the people in charge? (that’s always how we’ve done it)
  • Could you adjust your requirements to fit a box or a construction set?
  • Could you change (like in: processes, ways of working, etc.) to become more box or construction set compatible?
  • Could you win your CFO over to your team by creating a business case that sets out
    • benefits of generally changing “ways of working” (aka organisational evolution)
    • freed up CAPEX and OPEX for more core business focussed actions


“Modular” can stand for “built from multiple specialised/best of breed solutions” as well. The available eco system of services simply becomes the construction set.

0 comments on “Driving #ChangeManagement; thoughts on #McKinsey #change platform article http://goo.gl/2UbUaL #socbiz #e20 #enterprise20”

Driving #ChangeManagement; thoughts on #McKinsey #change platform article http://goo.gl/2UbUaL #socbiz #e20 #enterprise20

With a lot of interest I’ve read Gary Hamel’s and Michele Zanini’s article on change published on McKinsey.com in October 2015 (http://goo.gl/2UbUaL). As part of their recommendation to establish a change platform instead of a change program they suggest to replace the old paradigms of change

  • Change starts at the top
  • Change is rolled out
  • Change is engineered

with a more state of the art framework:

  • From top-down to activist-out
  • From managed to organic

Part of this framework is a platform inspired (not copied from, I like that!) by social media technology. They don’t put the technology in the front row. They advise a change of mind on the executive floor. From change agent in chief to change enabler in chief. This new role is supposed to create the right environment and provide the right coaching for the organisation to speak up.

No matter how much I like the idea and no matter how much I would like to see large organisations change organically, the past years have made me re-think my belief that change can be solely driven from within. I’ve been an active part of change – in various roles – and I’ve worked and am still working with (in some cases pretty large) companies that want to drive change. From within.

I would like to share two perspectives that I would like to see as an addition to the article mentioned above:

#1 the biggest hurdle sits in the middle

Companies have managed to design a way of steering themselves that works on multiple levels of abstraction. The higher managers sit in the food chain the more abstract they look onto their share of responsibility. They way they are managed and measured is sometime even more disconnected from reality than the objectives set of the c-suite. They are the ones that always have to deliver the impossible.

Now change is nurtured and coached from above and activists are encourage to apply disruptive and innovative thinking. Everyone is allowed to work out loud and to form alliances for the greater good.

I would like to recommend that someone comes up with the model for “middle management change”. How can we turn them into activists? How do we enable them to not just rely on dashboards, punctual human interaction and brushed up reports? How to we turn them into coaches, guides, enablers, network facilitators and talent spotters?

I believe that without them in the front row change from inside-out will end up in the same spot as from top-down: a cul-de-sac.

#2 the right environment comes with the right set of KPI

Let’s not kid ourselves. We are talking about companies – in a lot of instances we are talking about public ones. As long as the executive floor and their direct lines do not turn organisations in collaboratively driven powerhouses nothing will change. As long as goals can be achieved individually (aka: alone), something’s wrong. Swarm intelligence in a company has to be nurtured and motivated…and evaluated and measured.

“What is the project of your community?”

This was one of my favourite statements at the 2014 Social Business Collaboration Conference in Berlin. It stands for something that has been seen separately over the past years: collective exchange and concrete measures and objectives.

I truly believe that our communities need projects. No matter if we call them change, innovation, research, development or thought leadership communities. They need a project because they happen in companies and they have to deliver their share of the deal.

This might sound all very harsh and black and white but I am intentionally trying to provoke here.

I am an evangelist for the future of information work. I am am fighter for the social media inspired workspace. I am an encourager of cross-functional and cross-border thinking and work. However, I don’t think that we will be able to do all this without the right measures and frameworks in place. Just unleashing the activists in an environment of freedom and thought leadership is not enough.

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?

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.

4 comments on “deliberately provocative: #socialsoftware is temporary & won’t replace #email or #intranets :) @IntranetMatters #e20 #socbiz #socialbusiness”

deliberately provocative: #socialsoftware is temporary & won’t replace #email or #intranets :) @IntranetMatters #e20 #socbiz #socialbusiness

Summary: This article is my reaction to the vast amount of reports and papers on the selection of social software. I have decided to formulate this article in a provocative way, hoping for feedback and other perspectives. So: I don’t believe that social software will replace e-mail or intranets and I consider a stand alone use of social software (aka internal Facebook or Twitter) to be a temporary echo on the enterprise 2.0 hype.

Quick definition to be on the same page…

Whenever I am referring to social software I am referring to stand alone business software that is built on the principles of social media. Activity feeds, pers. profiles, networking capabilities, information enrichment (eg tag, comments, likes, stars etc), information sharing etc. are key functions of social software. The more mature a solution is deeper and broader the feature set incl. unified communications, roles/rights and group/community management, search and convergence with established productivity and data management software.

For this article I am resonating only on the stand alone use of social software. I am not judging/evaluating vendors. The less social software is visible by itself (an explicit social service) to the user the less relevant the use case is for this article.

The temporary echo on the enterprise 2.0 hype

I believe that enterprise 2.0/social business doesn’t need social software. Enterprise 2.0 requires – beyond new ways of leadership and management – business IT that is inspired and infused by the principles of social and (explicitly) commercial internet services. The vision and mission of social software is to unleash the power of individuals and groups based on the principle of networking, transparency and access to expertise and experience. The digital workplace however, requires much more than social functionality. It has to provide information and knowledge workers with the means to be more productive, spend less time with routine tasks and thereby increase their available time share to be an active and valuable node in a network. Principles of relevance matching in the commercial space (eg search marketing, contextual advertising, behavioral targeting) are essential building blocks for the automation in information and knowledge work. Automation itself is a key building block for productivity. The more data, expertise and knowledge connects itself to a user based on situation, context and explicit action the easier it will be to make use of the entire intellectual property (= the corporate DNA).

Services to tackle the key challenges in information and knowledge work however, have to be an integrative part of the actual WORKspace. I truly believe that knowledge driven companies now have a tremendous opportunity to successfully address

  • information distribution
  • information retrieval
  • data enrichment
  • communication consistency
  • activation of human capital

This has to happen in direct context with operational work and therefore the goals that individuals are measured against *. Limiting the availability of the functions that I’ve set out in the ‘same page’ section of this article to the social silo will not deliver the same value.

Social has to be integrative – not just as a single page element but in its principles and offerings towards the users of workspace services. Browsing through the latest Enterprise 2.0 User report from Forrester I actually feel confirmed in my perspective since only 22%** consider the social software as vital to their job – and those you might want to count into the early adopter segment.

Social software will not replace intranets

In line with the above statements I don’t believe that intranets will be replaced by internal social media platforms. What I believe in is that the concept of intranets will be substantially change. Two weeks ago I’ve attended the INTRAnet Reloaded conference in Berlin. A speaker (@IntranetMatters) of InfoCentric Research AG put the following slide up on the screen:

(c) InfoCentric Research AG 2012 at INTRAnet Reloaded 2012 (Berlin)

This way of describing it is spot-on. The intranet has to turn into a workspace. It has to become the main service (if not the single destination) for information workers. One might argue now that stand alone office software and the always-on requirement of such a workspace is some kind of k.o. criteria. Well…we are talking about the future of information work here, not just the outlook for the coming 3 years.

Back to the subject: social interaction and surfaced networks of people and content will be an essential (I might even say crucial) part of the modern workspace – there is no doubt about that. Information distribution that resonates very much on the formal aspects of companies, however, still has to have its place. That HR or quality management departments will publish key/mandatory content just through micro blogs and Wikis is highly unlikely. That employees will be guided to formal content via ‘Everyone’-emails in the future is as unlikely.

Intranets aren’t (in its current state) interaction or communication focussed services. They are structured (in the best case: transparent) data and information repositories. Therefore they cannot be replaced by social platforms per se anyway but they will benefit from a new way valuable (or mandatory) content can be distributed/promoted/enriched.

Social software will not replace e-mail

Period. To change behavior that was established and nurtured in companies for almost 20 years isn’t going to happen by just replacing one tool against another. No matter how many users are on Facebook or Twitter. The corporate side of things is different.

We will be able to re-channel 90% of all e-mails to more appropriate, consistent and sustainable channels – social channels amongst them and maybe even taking on a substantial share of the ex-email content. Thereby we will bring back life to a tool that enables asynchronous, secure and efficient (I would like to add attachment-free) communication between specific senders and recipients.

Referring to my recent posts on certainty for users I even dare to predict that this change/transformation will take a long time. Longer than many social business enthusiasts might think…

So, what do you think?

If you have made it down to here you must have found something in this article that you either agree or disagree with. See the comment field? Right down there? Yes 🙂 Use it! Now…

Thanks 🙂

* As part of the cultural change companies have to alter the performance management models as well. If collaboration is the new mantra measurements have to resonate on that. Collaborative/collective goals have to be established as the standard – not the exception.
** Source: The Enterprise User Profile: 2011 by © 2011, Forrester Research, Inc.
0 comments on “7+ reasons why #GooglePlus will kill office and #socialsoftware in #sme #b2b mid term #socbiz #e20 #enterprise20”

7+ reasons why #GooglePlus will kill office and #socialsoftware in #sme #b2b mid term #socbiz #e20 #enterprise20

This year Santa decided to spoil Christmas for social business vendors and put a new player under the tree: Google+ (uhuu…surprise, innit!?) As reported by techcrunch.com (http://liten.be//ckd7t) Google is adding a new perspective to its (whoever you’re asking) slowly or steeply growing (not meant to be a) social platform. Just recently Google Germany’s Country Manager Dr. Stefan Tweraser stated at the Social Media Economy Days in Munich that Google+ isn’t (and never was meant to be) a social platform and therefore is not to be seen as a competitor to Facebook. One might get the impression that the new ‘it’s for businesses’ could be just a stun grenade trying to simply take away from the ground for arguing against the success of Google+.

However, I was suspecting this move for some time already (yes, you may call me Sherlock). Here’s why:

1. Google went the other way around than social software vendors

As stated in the paper on social business transformation strategies (http://liten.be//3T3RA) and this blog post on current social business scenarios (http://liten.be//k4Vsj) I am strongly suggesting to integrate “social” with the actual information and knowledge work. Part of that is of course the creation and manipulation of data and information. Yammer, VMware’s Socialcast, 37signal’s BaseCamp, Salesforce.com’s Chatter, IBM’s Connections or SAP’s StreamWork don’t offer sufficient(!) content creation and manipulation capabilities. Microsoft is in the process of somehow integrating it’s (not so social yet) SharePoint product with Office 356 making the use of desktop software for the majority of information worker’s task redundant – everything could happen in browser and cloud.

For Facebook integrating data creation and manipulation services that even remotely could satisfy business users seems like a proper stretch to me. I would dare to claim that’s not even on their road map.

Google is already there. It’s not fully integrated (yet) but definitely close enough. They even share the same top navigation already. The final marriage with the Google+ social layer is only a matter of connecting the loose ends.

2. E-mail won’t go away…and Google has e-mail right next to ‘social’

There are voices that predict the death of e-mail. I strongly disagree because I truly believe that re-channeling a lot of falsely e-mailed information to social channels, chat and audio/video will lead to a rebirth of e-mail. We will be able to use this asynchronous channel again without being forced to apply extensive organizational skills to separate spam from valuable information. 

For the classic social software vendor’s e-mail is more something exotic (if not diabolic) and probably a turf they don’t want to creep on. For Microsoft and IBM it’s something they have created full blown multi-functional environments for (Outlook, Lotus)…and integrating all their bells and whistles with the social layer will be challenging even thought it might look pretty simple at first sight.

For Google it will be more than easy to blend Mail and the Google+ environment…

3. …and if you need it synchronized: even presence is there already with Google Talk

The magic of the synchronized channel of unified communication and collaboration lies in the element of presence information (green, yellow and red indicator). It’s the only way that a synchronous channel can work properly (even some worker’s union reps might think it was invented by the devil of control and big brotherhood). Google Talk and Google+ Hangouts neatly flavour the asynchronous environment with some real time interaction (with presence indication built in of course). 

It’s much better that Facebook Chat which completely messes with your ‘asynchronous’ messaging (it’s driving me nuts…seriously) and at least as nice as e.g. SAP StreamWork’s on-site chat integration. Let’s see how long it will take Microsoft to deliver their OOB integration of SharePoint with Lync/Skype – whereas Google already has a stand alone client and the on-site availability throughout the entire ‘work’ environment (Google+ & Apps).

4. If you are the master of search and relevance…you will be the master of activating solution knowledge and expertise in the context of people’s challenges

One essential key to the success of information work is that we eventually are able to ramp up knowledge management that actually works. Putting information in boxes with standardized labels hasn’t worked so far and it never will. Never. Period.

Being able to match data that is created with existing information in real-time would be a huge benefit. Now put yourself in the shoes of an information worker and add the Google search experience to more or less all bits and pieces of your daily work. With an easy on/off button (don’t ask me how that’s gonna work) you will be able to have a little fairy by your side all day that offers relevant documents, wiki entries, blog posts or experts to what you’re just writing into your document, workspace or e-mail.

5. Collaboration – for real

Google Apps allows to conduct same time collaboration throughout their productivity suite. Something a lot of other vendors are still struggling with. It’s nevertheless an essential functionality for really collaborative content creation, manipulation and development. With Google it comes out of the box…erm…cloud straight away 🙂

6. Work local – work global

Google Translate…what else to I have to say?

7. If blogs and wikis are the super social features…oh well.

Google’s been there, done it and got the t-shirt.


I could go on forever because you can match literally everything from photos to videos and from maps to news in Google’s portfolio to peoper business use. The fact that it’s already totally integrated and was born in the cloud cannot be a disadvantage 🙂

Ever since the CIO of an industrial manufacturing company(!!) told me that moving their most precious asset (= intellectual property) to the cloud is only a matter of price I truly believe in the future of the cloud. As soon as the proprietary data center has only a tiny cable to the outside world it’s all the same anyway (well…at the end of the day it is…).

Let’s see how long it will take until Google will replace Microsoft in the majority of small and medium enterprises. I even believe that for some larger companies it should be a big challenge to migrate.

0 comments on “#ROI of going #enterprise20; quantification obsession is a killer; pls discuss #e20”

#ROI of going #enterprise20; quantification obsession is a killer; pls discuss #e20


Today I am posting out of frustration 🙂 I've heard of a company that seems to be interested in approaching the enterprise 2.0 way of working. However, their first decision point is to calculate a business case (in this case an excel file) for the return on investment of the approach. Of course there is no progress in the project because no partner – not even the technology folks that are so keen on getting their licenses sold – were able to provide the quantified forecast of business contribution (side note: what company would share methodology or numbers on an internal evaluation in that field as a use case??).


I am not surprised. I am rather frustrated. Why hasn't it sunk in with all corporations that the ideology behind enterprise 2.0 (motivating employees to behave in the same agile, pro-active and networked way as they do it in social media) is obviously the key to unlock all the potential that lies within their best assets: their people and the intelectual property that's driving value creation.

Yes, yes, yes. Contribution IS measurable. Improvement of productivity and work efficiency CAN be quantified. Measuring sales acceleration and innovation speed (go to market) IS possible. Sure. I am only challenging the sense in spending hundreds of thousands of Euros in creating benchmarks, driving people nuts by analyzing their daily work and somehow raising the suspicion that there's something going on that might affect corporate headcount… Since I am quite close to the guys in our Customer Interaction business (contact centers) and their project around task work I am aware of the fact that there are methodologies and ways of measuring work place performance. When it comes to taks work and the key indicator of throughput I even agree that initiating projects requires some kind of quantified trigger. Information and knowledge work, where the main goal is to follow the (yaawn) old marketing rule of 1+1=3 shouldn't be approached in that way.

If you disagree of if you have a strong opinion here please(!!!) respond to this post by Twitter, commenting, DesireIT-Group or sending me an email to philipp.rosenthal (at) gmail.com. I am so keen on sparring my thinking with others that have experience in this field. And if you have experience in the actually conducing studies and evaluations in the information worker productivity and networked knowledge field: please share it with me :)) I am eager to learn!

Discuss with me online!!
Please submit some comments, ideas and thoughts at: http://goo.gl/8H6MZ – I am really really keen on getting more beef to the bone of ROI calculations!

Here some background information and source of my inspiration when it comes to my thinking around enterprise 2.0 and its add value:

Networked enterprise finds its payday (by McKinsey)
The graphic attached to this post was taken out of the article posted by McKinsey in December 2010. What I would really like to know if the respondents have actually (methodologically) measured the stated improvements or if a more qualitative study was conducted with employees to get their feedback on how they perceive and experience the change…

Six ways to make web 2.0 work (by McKinsey)


Even though I consider it pretty common sense I'd like to share  the 6 ways McKinsey has stated in their report that contribute to potential success of the transformation towards a web 2.0 inspired corporation: 

1. The transformation to a bottom-up culture needs help from the top.
2. The best uses come from users—but they require help to scale.
3. What’s in the workflow is what gets used.
4. Appeal to the participants’ egos and needs—not just their wallets.
5. The right solution comes from the right participants.
6. Balance the top-down and self-management of risk.
0 comments on “#Salesforce to Lure #Enterprise into #Social Collaboration (via mashable.com)”

#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?


– via Feeddler RSS Reader

0 comments on “Why #Businesses Implement #SocialSoftware; via Michael Fauscette”

Why #Businesses Implement #SocialSoftware; via Michael Fauscette

I actually like the fact that the survey is reflecting on goals that converge between the internal and externa add value of using social software. I truly believe that you have to run your organisation in an enterprise 2.0 style (at least partly) in order enable an authentic social media adoption towards outside parties (either in product promotion or partner communications/collaboration. My take on the slower adoption of the “stay in touch with partners” is that it probably takes some time until corporations feel comfortable enough with the use of social media style communication and collaboration before they expose themselves to people they do business with on a larger scale…and the other way around 😉

via Michael Fauscette by Michael Fauscette on 10/25/10

We recently conducted a social business adoption survey, our second this year, and in reviewing the results we’re seeing some very exciting patterns emerge. My colleague, Erin Traudt, who manages the enterprise collaboration and social solutions practice in my group is doing a three part series on our IDC group blog on the whole survey so I won’t redo that effort here. What I want to look at in detail is the question of why. We are seeing rapidly increasing use of social tools and initiatives across a wide range of businesses small to large and in many different verticals. Clearly businesses are starting to see results from these initiatives, and in the near future we’re publishing a ROI study that we have developed collaboratively among a group of analyst inside IDC and other independent IDC partners. Look for more on that publication shortly.

Here are the results from the question of why are businesses doing these social initiatives:

First it’s good to see that building brand awareness has slipped downward, important as more companies move from social marketing initiatives, the place where many started using social tools, to a much more balanced use of social tools across the business. Acquiring and sharing knowledge as #1 and #2, and by a fairly significant margin, is an indication of our increasing reliance on online media and socialized content as an important business intelligence tool. The SCRM message is also obviously gaining momentum as engaging customers in a conversation is now #3 on the list. Seeing conversation listed above brand awareness, a shift away from the initial momentum to try and use social as a customer broadcast system is encouraging and shows growing maturity in my opinion.

The potential for using social tools for internal communication and collaboration also seems to resonate, with internal communication at #5, reinforcing a spreading of enterprise 2.0 concepts. This move to more people centric collaboration is another important factor in gauging overall social business momentum. I think, and have said quite often, that businesses must address their internal silos if they expect to see the kind of real engagement that is possible with social customers.

Possibly the biggest surprise in this question is the growing reliance of businesses on social for decision support. Making decisions at #6 out of 14, with over a quarter of the companies surveyed reporting social as a decision support tool, is a strong indicator to me that businesses are really starting to tap into the power of using social tools. It’s also shows that socialytics technology is advancing and vendors are providing valuable insight to companies that are using these first generation BI tools. As the technology advances and is more widely used companies will see significant ROI from the use of social data to support business decision making processes. The real potential, to use socialytics tools for predictive analytics will open up exciting new and high value business opportunities.

One last observation from this question is the growing use of social on the partner engagement side of business. It’s still early days for this emerging use case, but it appears that companies are starting to extend the use of community and content in other directions beyond customers. I think extending social initiatives to include partners and suppliers has great potential for businesses.

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