Growing an Enterprise 2.0

23 February, 2009

Alex Manchester from Step2 designs asked an interesting question on twitter the other day:

“If you have time, I’d love your input: what was the first thing you did to get social media/enterprise 2.0 going in your organisation?”

My response related to our use of wikis and Yammer over the last 12 months, here is the more detailed version.

Wiki

We started out experimenting with ā€˜2.0ā€™ tools last year. Our primary motivation was (and still is) to help our customers get better connected to each other. We have a customer base of around 120,000 people who are located all over the world. Our team was created to get our customers connected to each other, to help them to share their knowledge and experience. (I am coming to how we came to do stuff behind the firewall).

One of the first projects we launched last year was a Good Practice Guide. This is a wiki based knowledge base of tools, templates and other examples of good practice. This as a project in its own right has been growing steadily and now has around 2800 users. In order to get the Good Practice Guide up and running we needed to procure a wiki system. The wiki went live with the GPG in Aug of last year.

It quickly became clear that we were not using the wiki at anywhere near its capacity, to maximise our ROI, we decided to experiment with a wiki for the Knowledge Exchange team (4 staff). We used it for documenting team meeting agendas, noting project details and recording processes as we created them.

Word of this tool spread throughout the second half of last year and we received a several requests from other business units to have their own wikis. We worked through the concepts with a couple of the teams to identify what their objectives were and how they were going to use it. Currently we have 6 wiki spaces for different business units, these are growing slowly as managers and staff figure out how the wiki fits in with the way they work. As the platform owners Knowledge Exchange has also developed a range of tools to help staff get their wikis up and running successfully. While it is still early days, I’m quite confident that by the end of the year wikis will be an embedded tool in the work practice of a range of different areas of the business.

Yammer

We adopted Yammer in late October, we started off with 5 users and in the first couple of months struggled to find a place for it in our range of communication tools. The biggest problem was that we would just forget to open it, so someone would post something then no one would see it.

In mid Dec of last year we invited a handful of staff from all around the business to try Yammer. Since then the Yammer community has grown to include 55 Members based in 3 different states, 10 of which have more than 20 posts and 6 business unit specific groups. Over the last 4 weeks the daily average is around 10 posts a day. We are now regularly seeing examples of staff members asking and answering questions ranging from “who do I speak to in department X” to “I’m trying to figure out how to define the value provided by an online community, what do you think it is?”.

Again Yammer use is still in the growth phase but the most pleasing thing is it is spreading virally, staff members from different areas of the business are telling other staff members and every day new people are being added and new groups are being created.

As a team we are only in the first stages of our Enterprise 2.0 journey but we seeing some very positive signs, it will certainly be interesting to see where we are 12 months from now.

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4 Responses to “Growing an Enterprise 2.0”

  1. MicroBlog Says:

    I can definitely see a microblogging tool grow in the enterprise, especially if it is approved by the corporate. It brings efficiency, flexibility and better communication into the workplace.

    We use Present.ly (www.present.ly) , another social media product for the enterprise. It has been a great experience because it was east to integrate, was free to start with. It goes behind the firewall, so no worries when it comes to sharing confidential information. We could customize it, create groups, insert files/images, perform searches… and it has a mobile app – works with iphone and all.

    We are attending SXSW, and they have chosen present.ly as their official social media (microblogging) tool. Pretty impressive.

  2. ryanchadwick Says:

    Do you have plans to expand into other tools? Forums or blogs for example?

  3. Mick Leyden Says:

    @ryanchadwick – we have talked about them but at this stage have not really found a need, and we’re trying to keep all projects focused on clear needs.

    I think there might be some opportunities for blogs but they are probably not a major priority, as they have much higher barriers to participation than micro blogging based simply on the time commitment required.

  4. Matt Drey Says:

    Every time I read a post that mentions Yammer, the first comment is almost always a nearly identical post from someone who is obviously representing presently. I wonder if they know that their obvious astroturfing attempts merely come off as desperate. It would probably be less pathetic if they were just honest about who they were representing.


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