Recently someone found my blog post from last year about Enterprise Social platforms and asked for my opinion on which one they should select. It’s been quite a while since I’ve been able to be involved in this type of project, but is one I still think many organizations, albeit SMBs, colleges and universities or the largest of enterprises can benefit from. Of course since I fancy myself to be an aspiring architect I couldn’t really answer their questions because I don’t know their requirements. However, deciding on the right platform isn’t as hard as you might think.
What I would suggest any organization do to find the right platform will depend on several factors such as technical aptitude, willingness to adopt new technology, workflows for various departments and other required software integration’s. To get here, designate a person or persons as team leads to start understanding the different features of the applications available and within your budget. Next, ask the various departments within your organization for volunteers. Work with these people to understand how a social enterprise platform can help them solve a problem or improve current processes. Maybe a feature like document collaboration, or project management allows them to be better at what they do.
This actually helps accomplish two things, first it helps you understand the requirements of each department as well as get buy in on the platform from those departments which should help adoption because they will see it as a value versus just some new technology they are being told to use. These previous article may also be useful to help you get an understanding for how to kick off an enterprise social project.
One additional tip, don’t go rouge and just setup a free tool. While this may seem like a great idea, and it may even get a lot of people to sign up initially, it will likely fail to have adoption without a clear use case defined and proper training so people understand how to use the platform. I had a department do this during one of my projects, and the VP of that department was quite brash in pointing out how quickly people signed up, but within just a few days the number of people going back to the site dropped off to almost zero because no one understood what to do with the platform. People actually thanked me when I asked them to stop using it!