Access and Feeds

Enterprise Social: Without a Purpose, on-line Communities Wither

By Dick Weisinger

While nearly 70 percent of organizations have adopted some sort of Enterprise social technology, Gartner finds that only about 10 percent of those projects can actually be called successful.  The reason for the high failure rate is that businesses aren’t creating social media with a ‘purpose’.   Without a well-defined purpose, it’s hard for a community to form around the initiative — people see no clear reason to invest their time and knowledge.

Anthony Bradley, group vice president at Gartner, said that “Without a well-crafted and compelling purpose, most social media initiatives will fail to deliver business value.  This provide and pray approach provides access to a social collaboration technology and prays something comes good of it, like a community forming and participants’ interactions naturally delivering business value…  A well-defined purpose identifies who the participants are, what specific issue they are collaborating around, what value they will gain for themselves, and what value will be provided to the organisation.”

Gartner suggests five steps for creating enterprise social communities that have purpose:

  1. The purpose of the community must be something that can peak people’s interest and motivate them to want to contribute.
  2. The purpose most resonate with community members and motivate them to want to contribute.
  3. The purpose needs to have organizational value that can be measured and those results need to be shared with the community as a feedback loop for further motivating participation.
  4. The purpose needs to be something that can evolve over time — a community that can be built on.
  5. Gartner says that it’s best to initially create communities that have low risk, and Gartner identifies the following types of risks:
    • Culture risk – risk that the corporate culture isn’t right for collaboration
    • Adoption risk – risk that people will not want to collaborate
    • Information risk – risk that information shared will be sensitive
    • Result risk – risk that there will be minimal positive results from the community
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