34 Replies Latest reply on Apr 12, 2011 5:09 AM by angela83

    Building the Business Case for Enterprise 2.0

      I'd like to continue the discussion that began during the Enterprise 2.0 Conference in Boston in June 2008. I've copied the original question here, posted by Keri Pearlson from nGenera, a conference attendee:


      We've been working with a number of clients who ask us about the compelling reason(s) for Enterprise 2.0. We hear "Show me the money" "Show me the value" "Show me the productivity benefits" , the rallying cry of traditional business cases.


      But we very few companies seem to be able to build a compelling business case for Enterprise 2.0.


      Have you had success building a compelling business case? If so, please share with us what you've used to justify the investment(s). What are the key components?

        • Re: Building the Business Case for Enterprise 2.0

          This definitely is a major challenge.  The key for my work, so far, has been to play up a few key components that are a bit more difficult to measure, but do speak to senior management's peeves.  Specifically, we talk about improving "knowledge worker productivity."  We want to take people with unstructured, difficult-to-automate jobs and give them tools that provide better, faster, richer access to information and expertise.  The second thing we really hammer home is deduplication of work.  With our size and global scale we want to ensure we're unlocking the experience and insight of everyone.  Traditional KM and collaboration tools produce a 1000 companies of 100.  E2.0 could help us unlock the insights of a company of 100,000. 


          You may also want to reference Professor McAfee who says E2.0 will clearly be a competitive advantage for those who adopt well/early.


          In the interest of full disclosure, you can't live on those ideas alone.  We've gotten away with it by keeping the investment small, but if we want to really take E2.0 forward beyond our "natural adopters," we're going to need more work on ROI, and that's been a challenge, so I'd love to learn what others are doing.


          Happy to talk more on the subject, even have a few decks I could probably share.

          • Re: Building the Business Case for Enterprise 2.0

            Joe, thanks for sharing, and it's nice to e-meet you!


            I really like your comment:


            Traditional KM and collaboration tools produce a 1000 companies of 100. E2.0 could help us unlock the insights of a company of 100,000. 

            Are those concerned about ROI looking to replace existing "somethings" with E2.0? I've had customers ask me how many email servers they could re-purpose as a result of deploying E2.0.


            I know one of our customers, Chuck Hollis, has blogged about looking at ROI as so many grains of sand, and not necessarily as big boulders. I can't find that post at the moment, but maybe he'll chime in here.

            • Re: Building the Business Case for Enterprise 2.0

              Funny you should say... I stumbled across this yesterday:



              Now I'm desperately looking for my contacts at GE to get me hooked up with what they have going there.  It sounds amazing, and we happen to have a big GE presence here in Cincinnati, so we're hoping to get hooked up with people who can talk to us about both what they built (and how), and how they've gained management and user adoption.  Made me  to see you reference Chuck's blog. 

              • Re: Building the Business Case for Enterprise 2.0

                Chuck is a major customer of ours, so I know he was invited to join Clearstep. Once he does, you'll be able to private message him here. In the meantime, shall I try to get you two connected?

                • Re: Building the Business Case for Enterprise 2.0

                  Hi folks -- I'm here, just an erratic and occasional contributor to this space.


                  The GE experience for me was like finding out that all the stuff they show on Star Trek was actually real: transporters, warp drive, etc.  It was that impactful.


                  Now, very few companies are going to get the mandate to invest in a ground-up software development project (they did), or a specialized business engagement team (they did), or be able to compress 8 years of building and evangelizing (it took them a l-o-o-o-o-n-g time), so the rest of us will have to figure out how to get roughly the same impact using off-the-shelf software and fewer people -- and hopefully make it happen in far less time.


                  That being said, when I compared our internal progress timeline against theirs, it looked like we were moving 2x-3x times faster in achieving different milestones.


                  So the reason that I wanted to highlight the GE SupportCentral experience is that it gives the rest of us confidence that there's an end-state there that's worth working towards.


                  I don't know what their appetite might be for entertaining visitors.  I sorta had a special pass.  Also, they are very intrigued with the idea of selling either the software or service to other companies -- however, they really haven't organized much around that idea.

                  • Re: Building the Business Case for Enterprise 2.0

                    Thx for the additional insights Chuck... we've felt we've had a good vision of what this could be for a long time, but have been forced to do it with 1-2 dedicated people pushing water up hill and living with the infrastructure/architecture choices of others.  The GE story is a good one because it indicates that both the journey is longer than we anticipated (I often kick myself for how slow we're moving), and verifies that you can't just put this project at the kid's table, it needs a seat right up there with bigger, more mature IT services.


                    The other thing you seemed to indicate is the strong linkage to BPM.  I've been rolling around the importance of embedding knowledge capture and distribution in to processes as you introduce BPM.  The meta-information available would far surpass anything we've been able to get users to contribute in the past.  It also could give you insights in to who is doing what, which is harder to figure out than you'd think.  This could then facilitate social links and content sharing in a way we've only dreamed of (or at least, just e-mailed people about).


                    I see 3 big things in all of this, people, process and content.  It sounds like GE has all 3.  I'm going to ping my networks (don't want to abuse your special pass  ) to see if we can get in the door.  My P&G business card may be why things are moving slowly here (at the end of the day, we make soap not software), but it does occasionally help open a few doors.

                    • Re: Building the Business Case for Enterprise 2.0

                      As the lead on EMC's internal community, I am asked this question just about every single day, and part of what helped me to come to some solid answers was connecting with Sean O'Driscoll to tap into his expertise.


                      Here's the messaging that has come about as a result:


                      What Can Social Media Be For EMC?

                      • Platform for collaboration, communication, and culture

                        • Employee collaboration on a global scale

                        • Improved productivity and communication between Geo’s and BU’s

                      • Influencer of purchasing decisions in all markets

                        • User generated content is most trusted source of information for purchasing

                        • Think support forums, discussion forums, recommendations, ratings

                      • Early warning system for negative and positive opportunities

                        • Who’s saying what about EMC and how do we join the conversation?

                      • Barrier to entry from competitive threats

                        • Converts customers to loyal recommenders of EMC products

                      • Demonstration of EMC brand in action

                        • EMC Thought Leadership demonstrated

                        • EMC bloggers


                      Benefits realized:

                      • Stronger connections and awareness of expertise among employees

                      • Virtualization of employee skills and knowledge

                      • Empower employees to contribute and innovate

                      • Knowledge retention and re-use – A corporate memory

                      • Ability to dynamically create and sustain productive, virtual teams

                      • Increased employee satisfaction

                      • Reduced employee support costs – employees support each other

                      • Coordinated planning and execution against strategic initiatives

                      • Re: Building the Business Case for Enterprise 2.0

                        ahem, any one object to cut / paste / powerpoint of this great list from EMC?  with credit, of course!

                        • Re: Building the Business Case for Enterprise 2.0

                          Great lis Jamie, thanks for sharing.

                          • Re: Building the Business Case for Enterprise 2.0

                            Jamie's list is very good -- and accurate -- but I wanted to point that when we made the initial business justification that resulted in the formation of the team, the internal platform, various roles, etc. -- the case was constructed on the premise of business process re-engineering.


                            We basically took a dozen or so really important business processes -- and showed how they'd work differently and better using social productivity techniques.  Our choice of business process had a lot to do with our specific company, industry, etc.


                            Jamie mentions some of the examples we used: engaging customers, for example.  Others included coordinating product launches, getting feedback for new products, improving overall quality and customer experience, and several others.


                            Simply put, we framed an investment in social media proficiency as a rising tide that would float many important boats.  Sure, we got a lot of other valuable benefits, but we chose ones that would get a fair amount of exec attention.


                            My suggestion?  Think like a consultant for a moment.  Identify a handful of Really Important Business Processes that span multiple organizations, involve customers, etc. -- and envision how a single investment could help all of them, and the resultant impact.  Now, contrast that with the sort of generic justification that you see around the blogosphere.  Your challenge?  Translate the generic to the specific.


                            At least, that's what we did ...

                            • Re: Building the Business Case for Enterprise 2.0

                              Jamie, thanks for posting! One of the things I ask customers during our user adoption strategy workshop is this:


                              Describe Your To-Be Experience. This is what we’re shooting for. List words, phrases, and desired quotes you’d use to describe a successful, active social enterprise environment. Perhaps describe a day in the life, using the desired environment.


                              Jive is currently "baking" into our POC instance some content to help customers work through an adoption strategy workshop. We're also including a technical strategy workshop, as well as very short video "How Do I..." tutorials. The goal is to help customers be better prepared for a pilot. We are including anonymous examples from customers, and, I expect, copious links to Clearstep content. :)


                              Would you be ok with me using this list as an anonymous example?

                              • Re: Building the Business Case for Enterprise 2.0

                                Hi Gia,


                                We too have put together numerous short video tutorials for our site, and the users love them. We have written "how-to's" but the videos are definitely more popular for folks that just want a quick lesson on how to do something. We try to keep them to a minute or two so that they're easily consumable by users.


                                Being prepared for the pilot will go a long way towards helping your customers. I was not able to create our FAQs and Tutorials content on our site until several months into our project after things settled down, so to speak. I have suggested to folks at Jive (Barry, Kelly, Josh, Dan, Greg) in various conversations that some bunch of out-of-the-box stuff pre-loaded on the site would be quite valuable to folks who are entirely new to or unsure of the the concepts of community, social media, wikis, blogs, etc. - quite a confidence booster, I think.


                                Yes, please feel free to use anything or all of this list.




                                • Re: Building the Business Case for Enterprise 2.0

                                  Love this thread.


                                  Jamie, apparently, we heard you. :) Once we get our first draft of pre-populated content ready, I'll try to post what we've got for this community's review and advice.


                                  Omigod, I love this community. Thank you all for sharing!

                                  • Re: Building the Business Case for Enterprise 2.0

                                    Hey Karen!!!


                                    You might value (or not) in clicking "view as PDF" in the upper right part of this page, then saving it. So glad to see you here!

                                    • Re: Building the Business Case for Enterprise 2.0

                                      In addition to building the management case, don't discount the importance of building the user case.  We've found there is a segment of employee's who just "get this" for internal collaboration, but they're not our majority.  Management needs ROI's and business justification, users want to know how it relates to them.  We went so far as to shoot some silly Mac/PC ad spoofs with "Web 2.0" and "Web 1.0" characters discussing typically "painful" business practices and how applying social media (or just transparency) makes that work "better."


                                      Don't discount the importance of giving your users a "business case" that is personal, relevant, and maybe even a little funny.

                                      • Re: Building the Business Case for Enterprise 2.0

                                        Joe, while I agree it's important to have the "user win" in mind and communicated, we found a different dynamic in our experience.


                                        We found that we had a critical mass of people who didn't really need any convincing, selling, etc.  They wanted to know that the platform was legit, that it was OK to come out of the closet, so to speak -- but once they saw it was OK, they came on and started using it vigorously.


                                        That small early-adopter core did more to convince others to join in than anything else, IMHO.  I almost describe it as social modeling -- if the cool people are doing something, everyone else wants to be cool as well.


                                        Your mileage may vary ...

                                        • Re: Building the Business Case for Enterprise 2.0

                                          Hi Joe,


                                          You're absolutely right. I actually have a table with 2 columns that I consider to be some of (but not all inclusive) of company benefits in one column and employee/individual benefits in another column - I don't read from them, but rather pick and choose based on the audience I'm presenting to and tailor to meet their needs. The above is actually reflective of the company-oriented benefits...but some can easily transfer to individual benefits...


                                          Chuck is right, there was an initial group of folks that were on board and "got it" right away...there are others that are much more hesitant. Sharing individual examples with them on how the site can benefit them has worked for some, but not others. Some folks just feel that there is not a place for "social" conversations in a business setting, and as we know, the very definition of what's "social" vs. "business" is defined differently across different groups.


                                          One key selling point for some hesistant users has been sharing the perspective that social conversations increase employee connections and knowledge-sharing - Case in point: When I have meaningful conversations with folks -- business or social -- I nearly always click on their profile to see what else I can learn about them, what they're all about, and then I remember it the next time I need to tap into their expertise because of the conversation we had in the community. 


                                          I love the idea of sharing funny business cases. It can show the value without coming across that we take it too seriously...And it takes the pressure off of the seemingly high-pressure idea of success vs. failure.


                                          Wish I could see your video!


                                          Thanks for sharing!



                                          • Re: Building the Business Case for Enterprise 2.0

                                            Your wish is...


                                            The specified item was not found.


                                            (note to the Clearspace folks, this link did some funky things in the rich text editor - kept jumping to the beginning of the post)

                                            • Re: Building the Business Case for Enterprise 2.0



                                              Thanks for sharing! I loved it!

                                              • Re: Building the Business Case for Enterprise 2.0

                                                I like the business process reengineering approach. I'm evangelizing a cross-organizational approach in government and private sector agencies (http://www.ddmcd.com/program.html) that justifies collaboration based on a reduction in time (by making it easier for people in diffrent organizations to communicate directly) and an improvement in the innovation process (by involving more people in accessing needed expertise). It's slow going. The approach requires being able to collaborate across organizations that are not all centrally controlled and that have a variety of boundaries to collaborating in place (e.g., formal procurement processes). I would hope that an enterprise 2.0 approach to collaboration that does not face so many organizational issues would have a more direct justification potential. (Perhaps an approach on corporate R&D such as suggested by Mike Crocker would be appropriate.)


                                                Dennis McDonald

                                                Alexandria, Virginia

                                                • Re: Building the Business Case for Enterprise 2.0

                                                  My advice: don't bother trying.


                                                  For social software to work, you need to deliver value to the individual before you try and deliver value to the organization. So build an employee case instead. Start by explaining the value that will be delivered to the employee, to other employees as a result of each additional persons' participation, and then - and only then - the resulting benefits to the business as a whole.

                                                  • Re: Building the Business Case for Enterprise 2.0

                                                    In an earlier post Joe Schueller referenced Chuck Hollis' blog about GE: http://chucksblog.typepad.com/a_journey_in_social_media/2008/07/a-humbling-expe.html

                                                    Joe made the point: "They also had done a nice job of putting a somewhat formalized workflow layer over an essentially social environment."


                                                    In Joe's 7/15 post he said "The other thing you seemed to indicate is the strong linkage to BPM."


                                                    Joe's parting comment: "I see 3 big things in all of this, people, process and content." resonates with me. It would be nice to see a roadmap to integrate Clearspace with a best of breed BPM system. That would be a powerful combination.

                                                    • Re: Building the Business Case for Enterprise 2.0

                                                      I've now seen GE's stuff, and I'm even more impressed.  It isn't pretty or perfect, but the linkage to BPM is even smarter than I thought.  They let communities build/modify work processes.  One thing I've learned is that if you throw BPM (formerly workflow) in to user environments, it is rarely adopted.  They do their jobs just fine, thank you very much, and all this "efficiency" you're promising is just a way for you to cut jobs.  BPM may be the world's most sabotaged software "deployment" when it comes from top down.


                                                      GE is laser-focused on making it easier for groups of people to do their jobs.  No if's and's or but's about it - that's their mission.  Support Central doesn't deploy workflow/BPM it facilitates communities coming together and building and executing their workflow - fascinating!  Definitely something worth understanding more.

                                                      • Re: Building the Business Case for Enterprise 2.0

                                                        niallcook wrote:


                                                        My advice: don't bother trying.


                                                        For social software to work, you need to deliver value to the individual before you try and deliver value to the organization. So build an employee case instead. Start by explaining the value that will be delivered to the employee, to other employees as a result of each additional persons' participation, and then - and only then - the resulting benefits to the business as a whole.

                                                        Although your headline sounds shocking, I think this advice is still building the business case for E2.0 Niall, just with different emphasis.


                                                        BTW I believe you are onto something. We are at the fringe of discovering this with our pilot. Like the grains of sand metaphor previously mentioned, one of the grains is adoption. Well adoption is nothing more than the user having a compelling reason to use something. If they don't get an answer to "what's in it for me?" - it's harder to connect a body of users into something called an Enterprise.


                                                        If we think through the premise, then almost nothing about adoption comes from force or pushing. Even "explaining the value that will be delivered" is not nearly as strong as the employee experiencing value for themselves and then telling their story through usage.


                                                        When I say we are on the fringe of discovery, we are also in the middle of the experiment (pilot). While some early curiousity seekers have tried it, many more are sidelined. Why? From my own experience with ramping up to learning the functionality, and listening to non-users, it's still about comfort levels. This is transactional software. It enables interaction, not merely static reading. That shift alone is at the heart of adoption.


                                                        In other Enterprise transactional software, such as Human Resources performance management, or benefits apps, the reasons for using it are fairly straight forward. Entering and tracking goals and objectives, or tracking and managing benefits, compensation and personal info. But even these, offer little in the form of creativity and certainly not innovation.


                                                        I'm starting to think we underestimated how to make the case for what this will do for the individual. What are the incentives to voluntarily becoming a self-directed learner? How well can we answer the smaller questions of how do I get things done and why do I want to participate?


                                                        The How questions may be solved using scenario-based learning modules. Each one explaining the specific steps for:

                                                        • I want to ask or answer a question
                                                        • I want to start a discussion based on an idea
                                                        • I want to create a document with others adding their knowledge
                                                        • I want to safely interact with leadership without retribution and hierarchal fear of skip levels
                                                        • I want to join a work group for solving problems
                                                        • I want to get credit for participation as part of my managing by objectives individual performance


                                                        The Why questions are really best answered from leadership and company philosophy. Naratives should outline how:

                                                        • We are on a quest to transform our company and become more innovative
                                                        • We need each employee to contribute
                                                        • We don't need controlling, non-sharing or insecure employees (nobody does)
                                                        • We need curiousity, openness to ideas, continuous learning, collaboration and connectedness
                                                        • We need quality participation on a daily basis because our competition is on full throttle


                                                        So maybe it's a combination of these two approaches in tandem that creates the E2.0 business case. Unlike the traditional formula business case of planning the solution, maybe this becomes more about continuous planning, learning and evolving from the individual outward.


                                                        Finally, having done a bit more digging around this site, I discovered this document, which is one of the most comprehensive and easy to read white papers on Community and Collaboration. A must read that fills in many of the things I was just scratching the surface with above.

                                                        • Re: Building the Business Case for Enterprise 2.0

                                                          Very good point.


                                                          Having just gone through an exercise working out the value of Social Software to company phrasing the benefits in terms of what can it do for YOU has been beneficial in working out what they can be.


                                                          For example


                                                          • What is the benefit to you in helping build your professional network?
                                                          • What is the benefit to you in finding out what others are doing and not reinventing the wheel.
                                                          • What is the benefit to you of being able to have things you're working on easy to find and share?
                                                          • What is the benefit to you of being able to easily work with colleagues in other business units, partners and customer focus groups?
                                                          • What is the benefit to you in being able to easy get you message to people you want to hear and have them engage with you in conversation?


                                                          and so on and this starts to translate into such benefits to an organisation as


                                                          • What is the value of a fully connected workforce?
                                                          • What is the value of breaking out of collaborating in silos (departments) and being able to innovate (cross department/business units)?
                                                          • What is the value of your customers telling you what they want from you?


                                                          and finally


                                                          • What are you loosing when your competitors are adopting this technology and culture?


                                                          BTW I can't recommend Chuck Hollis's blog 'A Journey in Social Media' highly enough, pure gold!

                                                          • Re: Building the Business Case for Enterprise 2.0

                                                            Thanks Iain,


                                                            Great perspective - and yes Chuck's blog is a rich resource for sure. I'm also working on key messages the leadership must make to employees to help drive the transformation. This direct sanction from the top is key to successful deployment, because employees need to hear that it's supported and that they as the primary users are integral to the success.

                                                            • Re: Building the Business Case for Enterprise 2.0

                                                              Very late to the game on this but put my thoughts up yesterday - http://jonmell.co.uk/social-software-roi/

                                                              • Re: Building the Business Case for Enterprise 2.0

                                                                One thing that I found to be a real problem is helping people 'get it' in a business context. Being able to mock up sites in a business context really helped. Specifically I knocked up some blogs using (heavilly themed) Wordpress and this not only helped with the immediate problem but also because I made sure it was globally accessible people would forward links to the sites to others that were interested in Web 2.0. Nothing works as well as something one can sink ones teeth into as it were I've found.


                                                                Sure Wordpress isn't Clearspace but there is room for both as one is great for a more traditional looking news with feedback style and the other is a community facilitator and one naturally leads to the other as ones organisation gains experience with social software. Facilities such as being able to reply to email and have it appear in a post (like I'm doing here, hope it works fine ) help with introduction and intial proof of concepts.

                                                                • Re: Building the Business Case for Enterprise 2.0



                                                                  I have only read this far into the thread, but Support Central sounds pretty interesting.


                                                                  Have they made it available outside of GE?



                                                                  • Re: Building the Business Case for Enterprise 2.0

                                                                    HI guys


                                                                    Implementing Enterprise 2.0 technologies and approaches can be a key driver of  2.0 governance and policies; Making it happen: building a business case