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How To Sell Collaborative Business Performance Internally

Sameer Patel and I are running a series of sessions during November's Enterprise 2.0 conference in San Francisco entitled 'Selling the Case for Accelerating Business Performance with Enterprise Collaboration and 2.

Sameer Patel and I are running a series of sessions during November's Enterprise 2.0 conference in San Francisco entitled 'Selling the Case for Accelerating Business Performance with Enterprise Collaboration and 2.0 Technologies'.

The challenge of getting that catalyst - the executive buy in that will help you find budget, staffing and most importantly cultural traction - is not an easy sell in large companies.

While kitting out a department with a point solution collaborative technology core is now pretty well understood conceptually, and can be done within departmental budget, there is typically no budget for larger holistic connectivity.

The challenge is this: as lots of people know only too well, in big companies the left hand often doesn't know what the right hand is doing. The solution to this is greater connectivity and awareness - the much vaunted tacit knowledge capture that will inform employees from different parts of the organization about contextually valuable information.

Great idea, how on earth can you do that? As Dennis Howlett articulated well today, there's a whole raft of cultural problems in even the most benign organization that require careful strategic thought if you are to have a hope of getting people to work together, and this is before you even start thinking about installing technologies to facilitate this.

Sameer and I will be discussing how to start to think through an organization wide package within the context of your organization with the help of various end user panelists focusing on different industry verticals and challenges.

Ad hoc uptake gets messy very quickly, and internal evangelists burn out and have their initiatives stolen by middle management agendas unless you design your social business to be constructed on a level playing field with appropriate rules, objectives and refereeing oversight.

While enterprise architecture isn't easy, it certainly shouldn't dictate the use case and utility of a system that will serve the disparate needs of a larger organization. In the end the core values of deploying and driving the user adoption of any process and associated technology is to achieve clear measurable business goals.

Putting staffing in place to execute against those goals, while protecting them from the turbulence disruption of existing feifdoms will inevitably create, and diplomatically managing this, is fundamental to creating an overarching roadmap of objectives and execution plans.

Friction is an inevitable part of change, but identifying clear business goals and achieving them has propelled companies from small to multinationals like Cisco to spectacular success.

While departmental collaboration silos can grow up like mushrooms without oversight, industrial strength collaboration networks require much broader thought and agreement.

The challenge for Enterprise 2.0 is that it's easy to theorize and talk about, as I alluded to yesterday, but hard to do. This blog and the upcoming conference sessions will continue to focus on social business design that drives business performance results - as practitioners in the trenches know, without senior management air cover and vision, every day is a slog to keep moving forward against objectives.