Social Adoption in the Enterprise: Make Every Click Count!

A few days ago I read a short succinct article from Ray Wang entitled “Dealing With The Real Problem In Social Business Adoption – The People!” where he touched on some of the barriers to adoption and suggested techniques to overcome these challenges. It was a nice article and definitely work a read. However as someone who is pathelogically incapable of keeping my opinions to myself – simultaneously a gift and a curse as the folks who work closely with me can attest – I couldn’t avoid sharing my thoughts, specifically as it relates to gamification. Thankfully Ray is extremely gracious in accepting comments and in response kindly shared with me his report “Demystifying Enterprise Gamification for Business: Behind the Hype of Influencing Behaviours and Effecting Business Outcomes”.

So what’s the bee in my proverbial bonnet? Well, while gamification was the trigger for my rhetoric, its not actually the root cause of my grumpiness. In fact I am not particularly knowledgeable on gamification, which is why I very much appreciated reading Ray’s report and would definitely recommend it. As somewhat of a gamification sceptic, I must confess that it got me thinking. And while it is very upbeat on the outlook and value that can be realized from gamification, it does include many words of caution and therefore is realistic in terms of the challenges in making gamification really work. If you are on the gamification fence, then you might want to give it a look.

But back to the bee in my bonnet… :-)

These days whenever someone asks the question “How can we incentivize people to engage with social features?” gamification is generally the first answer. And while I don’t disagree that gamification can play a role, I am just not convinced that its the most productive way of making social adoption sustainable, at least not in isolation. That social analytics is never suggested as the answer… that is my bee! I feel social analytics gets short-changed :-(

Business process reingineering is not a new thing, companies have been doing it for years. It’s always created fear and resistence, and the social business revolution is no different. As with any other process change we need to get back to basics (WIIFM) and focus on “making every click count”. We need a system that is “unambiguously, intimitely, and measurably valuable to EVERY participant”. And for this we need to answer just two questions:

  • How can social actions be integrated directly into business applications & processes so we can reduce the cost of using a social feature => Business Process Integration
  • How can we derive value from social actions and make that value immediately available to increase the value of using a social feature => Social Analytics (dynamic profiles, activity stream filtering, expertise location, dynamic learning, recommender systems, …)

Let me give you one simple example of using social analytics to drive social sharing. I am in the process of building a People Recommender system that:

  • Generates recommendations specific to the application context; providing highly relevent results exactly when someone needs them.
  • Learns people’s interests and expertise from analyzing a broad spectrum of data across the social platform and business applications.

Now expertise location is a double-edged sword. We all want to be considered experts, but don’t want to be bothered by annoying questions. So to address this we provide not only the recommendation, but the evidence that supports the recommendation; content, communities, tags, friends, etc. This transparency has two great side effects:

  • Question Deflection for me.
  • Self-service / Knowledge Transfer for them.

And it really incentivizes me to share information that is going to increase my reputation while at the same time reduce the number of questions that come my way.

So the next time someone asks the question “How can we incentivize people to engage with social features?”, what’s the answer? Yes… Social Analytics :-))


2 Comments to “Social Adoption in the Enterprise: Make Every Click Count!”

  1. I always love your posts Marie – and your honesty. I think you are right that social analytics are the missing element, and to expand on that, it is about understanding community. Everyone is focused on the individual because that is what they easily understand when the reality is that it is how these individuals operate together. Gamification seems to be mainly focused on how to manipulate or encourage individual behaviors without taking into much account the larger community. This could be a long conversation – again. :)


  2. Tks for your feedback Matt :-)


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