A Theoretical Implementation Strategy for Social Business in the Organization

An examination of several case studies involving Booz-Allen (Chess Media Group, 2011) and those listed here, materials sourced from IBM (Lennon, 2009), Intel (Buczek & Harkins, 2009), Microsoft (Fu, Rasmus, Finn, & Salkowitz, 2009), AIIM (Wilkins & Baker, 2011), Oracle (2009), Deutsche Bank (Stobbe, 2010), Cisco (2011), and Deloitte (Miller, Marks, & DeCoulode, 2011) illustrate commonalities in Enterprise social software implementations.

The consensus across case studies and white papers generally advances a thorough assessment of the people, organization, strategy, and technology, an interactive planning approach with stakeholder involvement, and spiral change management process, with iterations and integrations occurring on a phased timeline.   The organization should understand the business drivers, uses and gratification, adoption catalysts, myths, and returns of Enterprise 2.0 as discussed in Chapter 5.  The organization will assess the current state, plan their intervention, implement the technology, and then review, refine their intervention and iterate again, continuing the integration of the technology into the organization’s processes.

The first step for an organization is to assess the current state.  These assessments will cover the people, organizational culture, business strategy, and technology of the organization.

These assessments can be performed by a variety of means, including surveys, interviews, ethnographic observations, measuring tie strength between users (Granovetter, 1973), and social network analysis (The Advisory Board, 1996).  These assessments can also serve as a baseline to measure the impact of interventions over time.


Theoretical Implementation Model for Enterprise 2.0










Desired outcomes

Key performance indicators

Critical success factors

Solve a business problem

















Assessing the people, organizational culture, strategy, and technology of the organization will establish the readiness and appropriateness of an E2.0 implementation as well as identifying critical staff and resources.  Buy-in across this cross-section of the organization is critical to project success.  Benchmarking performed during the assessment stage provides useful baselines to determine the impact of interventions.

The size of the organization, distribution of employees, organizational structure, workforce social technological and social competency, knowledge intensity, regulatory environment, organizational culture, and stakeholder outlook are factors to consider when implementing Enterprise 2.0 (Dawson, 2009).

An assessment of the organization’s varied stakeholders will provide information regarding the adoption team when designing the implementation.  This will assess the concerns of stakeholders throughout the organization and prime their interest and solicit their participation.  The targeted user groups should be assessed for interest, technical capacity, and organizational influence.

The implementation should also be supported by good governance.  The adoption team should examine existing policies and procedures and identify gaps.  Gaps should be addressed and closed through collaboration with any relevant stakeholders, including human resources, legal, or IT (Buczek & Harkins, 2009).

Any implementation must identify and seek the solution to the core problems and tasks of the organization (Drucker, 1999).   Enterprise 2.0 technologies can support those tasks in pursuit of business goals in the capture and sharing of tacit knowledge, the identification and leveraging of subject matter experts, the recruiting and development of talent, and in increasing organizational productivity by reducing the barriers to participation and facilitating sharing and collaborating (Fu, Rasmus, Finn, & Salkowitz, 2009).   Social media implementations in organizations have typically been customer facing and managed through the organization’s marketing, advertising, and public relations.  The use of these technologies internally takes social media from being a product used functionally by a department to a strategy implemented organization wide.

Many of the tools and technologies of Web 2.0 and social media have workplace analogs.   Social software such as blogs, wikis, syndication feeds (RSS), social bookmarks, social networking services, tagging systems, user reviews and ratings, profile management apps, and rich media all may exist behind the firewall, in some cases provided by consumer technologies as white label services.

Asynchronous collaborative software such as project management suite, forums, and groupware are already be present, as well as synchronous communication software such as instant messaging, white boards, video and audio casting, and scheduling.

There are also legacy technologies that are increasingly enabled with social technologies, such as Electronic Content Management (ECM) systems, portals and intranets, knowledge management suites, document management systems, email applications, office productivity suites, and social search.


Successful E2.0 projects require a simultaneous blended Top-down and Bottom-up approach.  Viral grassroots adoption by end-users is insufficient with regards to scaling and taking advantage of network effects, while pure Top-down approaches are unable to provide the necessary leadership and support.  This method allows for increased agility for adjusting to unanticipated complications and fluid user needs.  A successful implementation model will allow for the cultivating of executive sponsorship and support as well as a groundswell of interest from interested users (Chul, Miller, & Roberts, 2009).

Identifying and lobbying core adoption members should be the next priority.  These would include innovators, early-adopters, and evangelists.  These persons will provide informal support in the field to other users as well as influencing the participation of their peers.  The core adoption team, led by a project lead, will include a support community supported by a community manager as well as numerous innovators, early-adopters, and influencers throughout the organization.  These individuals provided technical and informal support and encouraged user participation (Yehuda, 2009).

Stake holder involvement will be dictated by the organizations culture and risk appetite (Buczek & Harkins, 2009).  Social technologies such as instant messaging may not be appropriate in the financial industry.  Sensitive defense, intelligence, and public safety information may require strict handling guidelines and increased control over access and sharing.  Privacy legislation in some sectors such as education and health may require a complex balance between the need to collaborate and the need to protect patient or student privacy.  Concerns regarding corporate or governmental espionage or the need to protect intellectual property may also effect a planned implementation.  Consideration of these other factors may require the input, buy-in, and collaboration of other organizational entities such as risk management, legal, and human resources.

Executive support is crucial in any E2.0 project, providing the leadership, support, sponsorship, and access to resources necessary for success.  The adoption team should be prepared to respond to inquiries regarding return-of-investment, the possible cost of doing nothing, costs and benefits, and the case for taking action now.  These answers to these questions can be supported through external sources such as white papers authored by consultants and advocacy groups such as AIIM, published academic research, material published by software and service vendors, and through analysis of actions taken by competitors and similar companies in other industries.  The potential value is best presented initially in terms of benefit to the individual end user, followed by the benefit to teams and groups, and lastly the scaled benefits that impact the entire organization.

The technology should be aligned with the organization’s culture, mission, vision, and values.  The desired outcomes from E2.0 adoption should be linked to some quantifiable organizational performance metric with the goal of this new technology should be the solving of some existing business problem.

The organization’s IT department should also be assessed and involved.  Early involvement and collaboration with IT will prove useful later in the process when considering platforms and technologies.  The project leader should also report through IT to maintain lines of communication and collaboration.

The assessment of the organizations IT technical environment and culture will be useful in establishing standards such as on-location application hosting, remote hosting, or cloud hosting (see Appendix B).  The IT department can also provide insight as to what tools they use within the department internally as well as the uses of sanctioned and unsanctioned technology within the organization.  The organizations software development environment can also be useful in vendor selection.  Differing vendor’s products use different development environments; the greatest efficiencies can be found in selecting tools which complement the existing tools and skill set.  As an example, an organization that is Microsoft dependent when rely heavily on SharePoint, while others may prefer open-source products.

The final segment of the planning process involves tool choice.  Leading off assessments, discussions, and planning with tools instead of tasks appears to be a path to failure.  Tools should be selected based on their ability to contribute to the solving of core business problems, the level of sophistication and inter-relationships of the user base, and the complexity of the task at hand.   Tool appropriateness will also be affected by the desired product and the strength of the ties between the differing users.


The core adoption team should provide ongoing feedback, provide incentives for use incentives (Farzan, DiMicco, Millen, Brownholtz, Geyer, & Dugan, 2008), motivate newcomers to contribute (Burke, Marlo, & Lento, 2009),  support the user community, and encourage adoption through the display of social proof (Cialdini, 2006), peer pressure (Brzozowski, Sandholm, & Hogg, 2009), and other forms of persuasion (Ferebee & Davis, 2009).

This implementation also allows for phased pilots, with both features and users gradually added over time and for appropriate scaling of technology resources and ensuring availability of support.  Smaller proof-of-concept pilots can be useful to determine the business value and user adoption of technological solutions without a whole-organization commitment (Buczek & Harkins, 2009).  The phased implementation also allows for periodic periods to review results, refine technology and processes, and to continue iterating.


After each iteration, the core adoption team should reassess their performance, refine their approach, and prepare and execute the subsequent iteration.  Metrics that can inform these decisions include Critical Success Factors identified during assessment and any measurable impact and existing business metrics.  Feedback should be solicited from both the user community and the core adoption teams, with updates and improvements in tools and implementation rolled out and communicated to the organization.

Works Cited

Buczek, L., & Harkins, M. (2009). Developing an Enterprise Social Computing Strategy. Intel Information Technology.

Burke, M., Marlo, C., & Lento, T. (2009). Feed Me: Motivating Newcomer Contribution in Social Networking Sites. CHI 2009. Boston, MA.

Chess Media Group. (2011). Booz Allen Hamilton: Implementing Gov 2.0. San Francisco, CA: Chess Media Group.

Chul, M., Miller, A., & Roberts, R. (2009). Six ways to make Web 2.0 work. The McKinsey Quarterly.

Cialdini, R. (2006). Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. New York: Wiliam Morrow and Company.

Cisco. (2011). Enterprise Social Software:A Comprehensive Approach to Collaboration. San Jose, CA: Cisco Corporation.

Dawson, R. (2009). Section 1 – Fundamentals of Enterprise 2.0; Chapter 4 – Key benefits and risks. In R. Dawson, Implementing Enterprise 2.0 (pp. 32-38). Advanced Human Technologies.

Drucker, P. F. (1999). Knowledge-Worker Productivity: The Biggest Challenge. California Management Review , XLI (2), 79-94.

Farzan, R., DiMicco, J. M., Millen, D. R., Brownholtz, B., Geyer, W., & Dugan, C. (2008). Results from Deploying a Participation Incentive Mechanism within the Enterprise. CHI 2008 Proceedings · Policy, Telemedicine, and Enterprise, (pp. 563-572). Florence, Italy.

Ferebee, S., & Davis, J. (2009). Factors that Persuade Continued Use of Facebook Among New Members. Persuasive’09. Claremont, CA.

Fu, A., Rasmus, D. W., Finn, C., & Salkowitz, R. (2009). Social Computing in the Enterprise. Microsoft.

Granovetter, M. (1973). The strength of weak ties. American Journal of Sociology , 1360-1380.

Lennon, J. (2009). Implementing Enterprise 2.0: Balancing social networking and community with collaborative. IBM.

Miller, M., Marks, A., & DeCoulode, M. (2011). Social software for business performance: Example Implementations and Outcomes. Deloitte.

Oracle and CapGemini. (2009). Adapting to Ever-Changing Technology with a Complete Enterprise 2.0 Solution . Redwood Shores, CA: Oracle Corporation.

Stobbe, A. (2010). Enterprise 2.0: How companies are tapping the benefits of Web 2.0. Frankfurt, Germany: Deutsche Bank Research.

The Advisory Board. (1996). Organizational Network Mapping. In Managing Core Competencies of the Corporation.

Wilkins, J., & Baker, A. (2011). Social Business Roadmap. AIIM.

Yehuda, G. (2009). A Framework for 2.0 Adoption in the Enterprise. The 2.0 Adoption Council.



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