Home > Social > What is Wrong with Enterprise Social Networking?

What is Wrong with Enterprise Social Networking?


New Proof points that this transition is in process.  Gravity for Twitter.  Bing and Facebook.  Google and Angstro.  This will accelerate and the experience people have will change first in thier personal life and social media and second at corporations.

Facebook, Googleme, etc will be the main portal people go to first.  Search will be in context of Social Graph, Crowd view of Quality / Interesting, and lastly basic search.

Information will be delivered rather than searched for based on analytics that include reputation, quality, context, and relevance.

What’s wrong with Enterprise Social Networking?

Corporations such as Cisco, IBM, Dell and Google are all trying to figure out the value proposition for enterprise social networking within their companies as well as throughout their partner/channel relationships and customer communities.

I believe the main drivers hindering Enterprise adoption realization of the value inherent in open sharing of information and collaboration are the following:

1.  Participation: Buy-in / Impetus for action (Rewards, Reputation, Recognition)

2. Value: The lack of an articulated vision/philosophy on how to effectively leverage the collective intelligence or the “wisdom of crowds” leveraging a crowd sourcing approach in an enterprise.

3. Overload: Facebook, LinkedIn, email subscriptions / distributions lists, RSS feeds, blogs, wikis   and other collaborative and social networking tools very quickly become a time sink with too much information continuously delivered with no “value assignment” other than membership providing a “shotgun” approach to delivering a wide range of relevant but not necessarily valuable information.

4. Analytics:  The value of the social networking connections and interactions  are rarely analyzed in the view of Network Theory or collective intelligence and even more rarely used to add value to the participants in the Social Network. (Filter Failure is a Result)

So how do we fix this?

Tie in community memberships, expertise, contributions ranking, reputation, recognition and rewards into membership and participation within all collaborative communities.  Provide methods to identify what the community deems interesting and valuable.  Provide a methods to analyze where the innovation and collaboration is most effective.  Have a vision/philosophy on the approach or methods to be used to  leverage the knowledge, expertise, and wisdom of the community (community selection, promotion and management [e.g. Digg.com, Reditt.com, etc.], innovation engines [e.g. Spigit    ], prediction markets [e.g. Sigit], etc.)  Understand the impact of these methods and integrate this system into all collaborative platforms.

Tools Currently in Use:

Social Tagging – Leverage the Crowd to Categorize Content and Ideas. The challenge with this approach alone is categorization does not speak to the quality or value of the information.

Network Theory – Automated tagging and identification of experts. Combined with analysis of Social Interactions to identify Hubs and highly connected individuals. Understand how people are connected and why, use this to drive recommendations and activity feeds.

Live Social Search — What are my friends doing across social networks.

Digg Effect — Adds quality and Crowd view to identify and vet content from any silo. Driven to uses via Tagging and Pulse / Network Theory type analysis.

Innovation Engine — Methodical process to identify the “Great” Ideas within communities and exposes to a larger audience by driving these ideas via recommendation engines and tagging. Leverages Reputation, ranking, rewards, and automated algorithms.  Increase the Serendipitous connection rate.

Prediction Markets — Which Idea’s, Markets, etc have the crowds belief / highest probability of success. (Leverages Game Theory combined with Rewards and recognition)

Recommendation Engines – Identify other users who are within x% similar and suggest ideas not related to your tags or expertise. However, Based on your similar interests recommend content and ideas that might not normally be viewed / brought to your attention.

End Goals

1. Content, Ideas, and people / connections are Categorized, Rated, and Vetted by the larger community across all collaborative mediums.

2. Innovative Ideas and Business processes identified and vetted quickly in a way that minimizes cost to capture ideas, and provides ownership and rewards for the ideas.

3. Predictive power of crowds is leveraged.

4. Integrated across all Collaborative platforms.

5. Drives Collaborative behavior, connects people and ideas.

6. Think..Business Intelligence for Social Networking.  A combination of rating, ranking, reputation, and social interactions will be tied across all systems and analyzed.

Provides an overall system that encourages and rewards participation for individuals, Analytics and value to the business, and is self managed.

Now the scenario:

Imagine you log into PortalX (Company Portal).  One of the widgets is a view into Top Content by (Most Recent, 24 Hours, 7 days, qtr)

Targeted Relevant content from streams (Friends, Community, Global)

Now instead of seeing all activity or ideas, you see ideas and content put into / tagged into the system by friends, communities, colleagues, or recommended profiles of people with similar interests to you.  Rated and impacted by Social affinity, Reputation, Ranking, and crowd “Buzz”.

Very quickly identify the most recent and relevant content.  Randomness injected by recommendation engine and larger community view’s pushed to you.

While reviewing over your morning coffee you identify content or ideas that resonate with you and you:  80% you scan, 19% you interact by vote or recommendation, 1% you become involved.

An idea from another group and community is relevant to your interest and knowledge background.  You participate and enhance content / discussion.  You also find an idea related to a new product at company x and add to the business case and request to join the team and continue to add value with a disparate global team.

Idea is vetted by the crowd by clicking plus on your comments, additions and project.  Management now sees this is a hot topic with a well-defined business case.  Decision to move to product development reached 3 years sooner.  Teams who would have never come together collaborate with purpose.   The Innovation engine ensures that virtual activities have real world impact (Product Creation, process Change, etc)

You post a blog … Others click the plus button getting others to read it through the similar process.  Your blog is promoted into an innovation engine and a team actively works to flush out the idea vetted by the crowd.

Of the many ideas Company X leverages a Prediction Market to help the Council decide on which product idea has the greatest probability of 1B in revenue in the shortest time.

You are rewarded for your participation in the community and your reputation as you are in the top 100 contributors locally / departmental, globally?

Now from the Management perspective:

You have insight into the hot topics and ideas in the global collaborative system.  You understand which teams or areas are innovating or creating great content.  You know what systems work for effective collaboration.  You have insight into the experts and provide a method for people to find experts.

You have better information to make decisions based on the crowds vetting of ideas and content.

Employees see and understand the impact their participation can have.

Expand this to Company X’s partners and customers…

Last note:  It is not about tools, it is about Quality, Context, and Relevance to drive Value at an individual, management, and company level.

Only by viewing all the tools into a larger system can transformational Collaboration be achieved.

Whew… First post out of the way.  It is far from complete in describing a larger vision.  I am working to idenitfy the best way to frame the entire vision and system.  Maybe a series of blog posts, whitepaper, or possibly a Busniess novel in the Eliyahu Goldratt style.


I wrote this roughly two years ago.  I now see Forrester, Google, etc all moving towards one of the three. Quality, Context, or relevance.  The next revolution will provide all three.


Categories: Social Tags: , ,
  1. Waynm
    August 25, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    Ever since I fist started reading Digg I’ve wondered when this type of approach will be used within businesses allowing the most relevant, interesting, and innovative ideas to float to the top for the business leaders. The challenges described in this article are likely the stumbling blocks that have kept use of social media and collaboration tools from really being useful … good article!

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