Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Breaking through Social Media Barriers: What and How?

I am speaking at this year's online information conference and really look forward to reconnecting with colleagues and friends. I feel bad that I have not update my blog for a while and I have a good excuse. It has been a very busy few months since I change job, and I have been going through a steep learning curve and I have had some great experience so far. The beauty of changing job from a learning perspective is that it throws me into a totally different and unfamiliar context, and makes me challenge my own thinking and practice. Luckily I have colleagues who are patience and tolerance of me asking silly questions and are willing to bring me up to speed and help me to understand the business.

I have to say I am amazed and delighted that businesses increasingly see the opportunity to use social media to help employees work smarter, to efficiently share knowledge to meet customers' needs, to spot opportunities and threats to shape business strategy and ultimately to drive top line and bottom line business results. Social media implementation increasingly becomes main stream projects.

On Nov 30, I plan to talk about "what" the barriers in introducing social media in the business context are and "how" we can overcome them. I will refer to some real world examples which challenge these grand statements:
1. We must align with the business strategy
2. It's about cultural change, it's about people, it's not about technology
3. Build it and they won't come, so we must drive user adoption and get to the tipping point

And I will conclude with two fatal barriers to implement social media in the business context, and stress the importance of Leadership 2.0 and "Knowledging" if we want to take social media implementation to the next level.

If you happen to read this blog post before the event, do let me know if there is anything specific you like me to cover by leaving me a comment or drop me a email.

If you have come to my session, I welcome the opportunity to connect with you and further the dialogue on this blog. Tell me how my presentation connects to your work? How did it help? Which part of the presentation did you struggle with or disagree with? I hope to learn from you.


Saqib Ali said...

Dr. Cheuk,

I think you should also highlight in your presentation that setting up internal (contained) social media sites (e.g. yammer, chatter, lotus connections etc) should NOT be the end-goal in itself. The Social Graph generated (as a byproduct) from the interactions on the site should be used to improve the employee experience e.g. by performing social network analysis or using the Social Graph to add relevancy in information retrieval. Lots of use cases.....

Bonnie Cheuk said...

Saqib, great point, thanks. I think it depends on the maturity of the company/organisation/group in using social media tools.

In the early stage, most people/team are "selfish" and focus on their own needs first. So if you want to get their buy-in, you need to sell them the immediate benefits they can get from the contained social media sites. They may not care so much if their interaction provide additional insight for others or the whole organization.

However, once they start to use the tools, they click around and start to realize they learn more about one another and about other teams' activities more than they have expected. They realize the value. They get to the next level, and they understand their interaction benefits others beyond the immediate team.

Saqib Ali said...

Dr. Cheuk,

I agree that most organization won't enter the e2.0 space thinking about Social Graphs and Social Network Analysis. However, I do think that the folks in charge of making the buying decision should be educated on this. There are tons of flashy so-called "E2.0" suites, but I can say with fair amount of certainty that most of them have no concept of the Social Graphs or SNA. This leads to wrong purchases for the long term.


Richard Hare said...

Hi Bonnie,

Unfortunately I can't be there as I'll be in Berlin, but I'd be really interested to hear more about your experiences.

Hope we can catch up again soon.


Margaret C said...

I found your presentation extremely interesting, in particular your comments on selling the idea of social media to 'non-believers' or those who cannot see the benefits of web 2.0 within an organisation. I have found myself in a similar situation recently in terms of writing business cases to 'sell' the notion of implementing web 2.0 tools to integrate forums, ratings, blogs onto our external facing site.
I am from a library and information background and often find it difficult to align the benefits of web 2.0 with the business strategy. My feeling is that by the very nature of information professionals - selling isn't always a skill that is part of their suite of skills. I agree that charisma and power are the characteristics required to encourage buy-in from stakeholders. It is so much easier to 'sell' something that can be measured or is it that the information professionals find it easier to 'sell' something they believe in themselves.
Perhaps this is less about the skills required to sell and more about believing in the advantages of the product you are selling?

Bonnie Cheuk said...

Margaret, Thanks for connecting with me after the event. I can feel your pain and it is not an easy task to write a business case. I learn in the hard way that you need to grasp the language and touch the stay awake issues for the business leaders. It is easier said than done. I personally experience this when I changed job, and suddenly lost the language and it took time to regain the "language skills" in a completely new context.