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    Planning versus Adoption

    Recently, a Twitter conversation regarding the success or likelihood of success of so-called 'Enterprise 2.0' projects made me consider some of the fundamental differences between Enterprise 2.0 and more traditional corporate software project implementations, like ERP.


    The planning, testing, and prototyping steps are typically quite lengthy, frequently involving many months to even years, but once the 'go-live' date is reached, you have almost 100% adoption rates right away.

    If you were to chart traditional ERP project timelines and user adoption levels it would look something like this:

    Think of major system implementations for Core HRIS or Accounting. The 'adoption' of these systems is not 'optional' for the vast majority of end users, it is normally an 'all-or-nothing' proposition. The old systems are turned-off, and all users almost simultaneously 'adopt' the new system on Day 1.

    Enterprise 2.0

    Contrast that timeline to a typical Enterprise 2.0 deployment, where the software tools themselves are dramatically simpler, the time spent planning prior to deployment is usually significantly less, but achieving higher levels of user adoption can be much more difficult and take much longer.

    These projects may be internal social networks, blogs, micro-sharing, wikis or idea markets, but commonly they are presented as 'alternatives' to traditional ways of communication and collaboration. Companies, at least initially, rarely 'force' adoption, rather they try to 'build' adoption through training, word of mouth, a visible internal champion, or small pilot programs.

    Companies don't get rid of the e-mail or voice mail systems just because a new wiki is available.

    Consequently, the length of time required to achieve full or the desired levels of user adoption could actually be longer for these on the surface 'simple' applications.  Of course 'time' is not the only important factor to consider in any kind of enterprise implementation, but it is certainly an important component.

    These large E2.0 projects are probably not going to be any simpler, faster, and less problematic than traditional projects.  But, they will present a whole different set of problems for the organization, the kind of problems that many 'traditional' project managers and organizational leaders may not be prepared to address.

    What two or three things can E2.0 project leaders do to try and mitigate these issues?






    Resources for the other 77%

    A survey of HR Executives by Ball State University revealed a telling statistic:

    93% of HR Execs consider skills in 'New Media' to 'somewhat important' to 'important' for staff, but 77% of these organizations offer little or no training in these same skills. Flickr - Matt Hamm

    The HR Cafe blog pointed this out today, and correctly questioned why would HR Execs admit these skills are important, and express the likelihood that they would pay a premium for new staff with these skills, but at the same time (largely) fail to provide training in these skills to their existing employees. 

    So why the HR Cafe correctly questions the wisdom of these HR Execs, I will take a different approach. 

    What might be some of the reasons why this type of training is not offered more frequently?  Could it be simple ignorance of the vast quantity of information that is readily available on these tools? There are numerous resources to help staff (particularly HR staff) learn more about 'New Media', or as it is more commonly referred to 'Social Media'.


    First, start out by checking out the awesome series of 'in Plain English' videos from Commoncraft. They have fantastic, simple video explanations of all the popular social media tools that you are likely familiar with, (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, wikis, blogs, RSS, etc.), but may have never really understood.


    Another great beginner's resource is the blogosphere.  Countless posts have been written about 'getting started' with all the major social media platforms.  I will link to a few of them here, but truly this is just the tip of the iceberg.

    Twitter - from ProBlogger - Twitter for Beginners

    From Paul Bradshaw an excellent 'Twitter for Beginners' slide deck

    An interesting take from the NY Times from a relatively new Twitterer

    I could go on and on with these, Google 'Twitter for beginners' and you get 1,360,000 results.  You get the idea I think.

    LinkedIn - my friend, and fellow Liverpool supporter, Andy Headworth offers 'LinkedIn for Beginners'

    An explanatory Video podcast from Business Week on using LinkedIn

    The book 'I'm on LinkedIn, Now What??? - by Jason Alba

    Facebook - As basic as it gets, how to get started with Facebook from Angela Siefer

    How to setup your business presence on Facebook - check out one of 100's of posts on Inside Facebook

    From the Matrix Files - some simple instructions for setting up a Facebook Business page

    Ning - If you are not familiar with Ning, it is a site that allows you to create private social networks centered around shared interests, geographies, company or school affiliations. A Ning network for your company might be an easy way to 'get people talking' and build community.

    The Ning for Dummies network - an actual Ning network set up to help people learn Ning

    From Digital Inspiration - Start your own Social Network in Minutes

    For a great example of a Ning Network in action - check out HRM Today


    Finally, many organizations offer free educational webcasts on how to learn about and apply these social media tools in your organization.  Here is a random selection of currently scheduled free webcasts on these subjects:

    HCI - Grassroots Networking - the Pros and Cons of growing your Social Network

    HCI - Optimizing the Social Web for Hiring

    Social Media Today - Social Media for Corporations Webinar

    Taleo - What the Social Tech Groundswell means for Attracting and Retaining Talent

    Closing Thoughts

    I am not a 'social media expert'.  Believe me, they are easy to find.  Do a search of Twitter profiles and I am sure you will find a few thousand of those experts.  This little post is not meant to be any kind of definitive guide to helping you or your staffs understand social media.

    But if the Ball State survey results are to be believed, then almost all HR Execs think this stuff is important.  And the vast majority don't have anything formal in place to help their organizations gain these skills.

    The thing is, you don't really need anything 'formal' in place to get started. I compiled the 10 or so sources on this post in about an hour or so.  It is not that hard to find boatloads of information on this stuff. If you really feel this is an important topic, and you are not providing information to you organization and employees, then really you are simply not trying very hard.

    Better still, just grab one or two of your newest employees, the Millennials you just hired, and have them put on a 'social media overview' for your company.  They know all about this stuff, chances are they have been using it for years.






    Technology in 1969

    So I was thinking about 1969 today.  No, not really remembering 1969, but just thinking about it, I am not that old.

    Why? Well after having yet another discussion on the topic of 'Who owns Enterprise 2.0, IT, HR, or the business?', I started to question why the HR community in particular seems so fixated on this debate.

    Could it be simply another effort by HR to gain the elusive 'seat at the table', is it simply a priority of 'social media experts' to define a new market for their services, or perhaps it truly is an important and impactful debate that will have lasting effects on the future of HR and it's role in the enterprise?

    For the record, I do think that whatever 'Enterprise 2.0' means, it is critical that HR be one of, if not the sole, driving force behind the selection and deployment of new tools and technologies meant to derive the most value out of the enterprise's human capital. 

    And it could be that I am simply getting frustrated with the down economy, the seeming lack of meaningful progress of HR Technology in many organizations, and the overall inability of HR to lead in this area.

    In 1969, 40 years ago, man landed on the Moon, the ARPANET was developed, the Concorde was test flown, and the Boeing 747 was put in service.

    Forty years ago, almost everything seemed possible.  Forty years later far too many people are wasting their talents pushing paper around, manually typing information into un-integrated systems, and arguing over who 'owns' some new technology that may or may not ever be used.

    In 1969 we were celebrating this:

    In 2009, at least in HR Technology we can and should be doing better.  I will try my best, from my tiny pedestal to make a difference, to be a better resource, and more of a facilitator for my students and my friends in the use of technology for a better organization, work environment, and life.

    We can, and should be doing better.


    HR Technology 2.0 - Help outline a new class

    Regular readers of this blog may know that I have had an ongoing debate and discussion on whether or not I should 'split' my HR Technology class into two distinct classes, one focused on 'core' processes  and the fundamentals of HR Technology, and a new class dedicated to so-called the implications of 'new' technology on Human Resources.  You know, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, enterprise social networking, and blogs, wikis, RSS etc.

    A survey of past students indicated 100% positive interest in taking a class completely devoted to new HR Tech, talks with one or two other professors were positive, and an informal Twitter poll also showed strong support and agreement for the need for the new class.

    So, students, colleagues, and peers all think it is a good idea, now what?

    Now I need an outline and proposal to the curriculum committee.  And here is where I am asking the community for help. 

    What topics, technologies, processes, and innovations should be a part of this new HR 2.0 class? 

    What should be emphasized?

    What should the background reading assignments be?

    What activities and assignments should be developed to help the students understand and demonstrate HR 2.0?

    Of course I have my ideas on this, and I can write up and submit the proposal without 'community' feedback, but I certainly think the course will be richer, fuller, and have a much better chance of being accepted if I can include insight and expertise from the vast knowledge base of the HR community.

    So, help me with my class would you?  What goes in an HR Technology 2.0 class? What would you like to teach, or to learn?  What should the modern HR leader know about Technology 2.0?

    Leave a comment, send me an e-mail, or an @sbjet reply on Twitter.

    Thanks in advance.


    Bikini Girl Followers

    I love Twitter as much as the next guy, but there are a few nagging annoyances that you simply have to learn to put up with sometimes - auto-dms, rambling two-way conversations between people you are following that you wish they would take out of the 'main stream', and my new personal favorite, the bikini girl follower.

    What is the bikini girl follower you ask?

    This is the follower that has an innocuous sounding name, my last one was 'Joan', but with a Twitter handle something like 'ExGYtg'.  If you click through to the profile, you find the classic bikini girl profile image, and exactly one update, a link to learn how 'Joan' won a free laptop.

    Awesome right?  Good looking bikini girls, with free laptops on offer what could be better?

    Now I would really, really like to believe there are truly attractive young biking girls who want to help me get a free laptop.  So, I will give them a chance here.

    Bikini girls - instead of following me on Twitter, use the contact form on the blog to send me an e-mail and let me know where I can pick up that laptop, okay?

    And for the rest of you reading this, you can follow me on Twitter - click here, even if you are not a bikini girl!