Above and Beyond KM

A discussion of knowledge management that goes above and beyond technology.

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This publication contains my personal views and not necessarily those of my clients. Since I am a lawyer, I do need to tell you that this publication is not intended as legal advice or as an advertisement for legal services.
  • Andy McAfee hosts this discussion with Paul Greenberg (The 56 Group), Marcia Conner (Altimeter) and Ted Schadler (Forrester).

    [These are my notes from the Enterprise 2.0 Conference 2011 in Boston.  Since I'm publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error.  Please excuse those. To the extent I've made any editorial comments, I've shown those in brackets.]

    NOTES:

    • What’s New?. The term “social” is going away. Collaboration is fading as a buzz phrase too. Meanwhile, senior HR leaders in large corporations are thinking about using social software to get things done in their organizations. So, HR is about to become a big focus for social software. Some of this is because there has been a gap in companies in terms of who or what improves productivity. This allows HR to help free the potential of 90% of their employees rather than devoting all their time on the 10% of employees who present compliance or risk challenges. Another important innovation is that companies are deploying command centers that track customer feedback. Radian6 is one of the companies that makes is possible.
    • When will things actually change? Within three years Marcia Conner believes that most employees will be taking action for themselves to obtain the social software they need to get their work done. This should force organizations to start deploying these tools on an enterprise wide basis. Ted Schadler says that 50% of employees now say that their technology at home is better than what they have at work. Two-thirds of Gen Y employees say their personal technology is better. Similarly, 35% of employees say they purchase their own work devices. Employees are moving ahead of their employers when it comes to technology. Meanwhile, as long as senior management remains entrenched and unaware of these shifts, the organizations will not formally change. Paul Greenberg says, however, that the communications revolution is leading some companies to allow some experiments under the radar. The manager may not completely understand social software, but they are willing to let their people try.
    2 Comments
  • Rawn Shah (Business Transformation Consultant, IBM) and Hardik Dave (Senior Business Analyst, IBM) talk about how to create a strategy to collect the metrics that are best for your social business implementation.

    [These are my notes from the Enterprise 2.0 Conference 2011 in Boston.  Since I'm publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error.  Please excuse those. To the extent I've made any editorial comments, I've shown those in brackets.]

    NOTES:

    • Why do you need metrics?Metrics help demonstrate value — particularly value to customers. Metrics also can help demonstrate operational excellence. Finally, metrics can shed light on what makes the people and culture of your organization special.
    • Who will use the Metrics?The intended users and uses help identify the necessary data points that you should be collecting. For example, Marketing and HR have very different business goals and may need completely metrics. That said, they both may want similar metrics regarding how their content is consumed.
    • What Types of Metrics Do You Need? Metrics reflect qualitative, quantitive, attitudinal, or behavioral characteristics. All are related to demographics. The business value comes from providing the right metric to the right person. The metrics chosen often depend on the role of the recipient. For example, one person may be interested in content consumption rates, another interested in brand management or sentiment. Both may be tracking activity, but for different reasons.
    • How do you collect metrics?Collection methods depend on the type of metric. For example, activity or traffic data may be collected passively by your social software. By contrast, attitudinal data would be collected by surveys, anecdotes, day-in-the-life studies, interviews and focus groups. However, the type of survey you use to assess group vitality (attitudinal) will be quite different from the survey used to assess interactions.
    • When do you collect Metrics?The timing is a function of the maturity of your social business. Start with basic satisfaction, social activity and content activity data. As the program matures, add social graph and group vitality data. Further along, you can measure brand reputation and individual reputation.
    • Surveys.As long as you ask the right questions, surveys can help identify gaps. Later, you can use surveys get feedback from early adopters to obtain guidance on technical issues. For example, the IT department at IBM has a workplace effectiveness survey with respect to social business. They asked which social activities were most important to employees and how satisfied they were with the available tools. The resulting data helped the IT department understand which social business tools were most important and which needed to be improved first.
    • Interviews and Focus Groups.Interviews and focus groups are an effective way to collect anecdotes. As you are doing this, always be on the lookout for success stories, as well as early warning signs of potential problems.
    • Day in the Life Visioning.This a great tool for understanding business process in real life. By random sampling across people in similar jobs, you can reveal patterns that are firm wide.
    • Activity Logging.How and how often are people using the social tool? How are they interacting with the content, with each other?
    • Content and Sentiment Analysis.This data helps provide aggregate understanding of brand, reputation and the content. What are people talking about?
    • It’s not the size (of the data) that matters. It’s what you do with it.
    • Making a Social Analytics Strategy Map. Start by understanding what business issue you need to address and then consider what data will help illuminate the problem and solution. Once you have the data, you can starting making some interesting connections. For example, how does group vitality affect content sharing? What is the impact of sentiment on collaboration levels? Make sure you understand properly the direct impacts, the correlations. At IBM, they have done a study of high performing sales people and the extent to which they are also high performing collaborators. A study like this requires data across multiple years. (Rawn released this data on SlideShare in 2008.)
    • What’s the Dollar Impact?Don’t always assume that the data will lead directly to a dollar impact. However, it should help the business leaders understand their business better and make better decisions.
    2 Comments
  • Debra Lavoy (Director, Product Marketing, Digital and Social Media, OpenText) and Tyler Knowlton (Chief Strategist on Digital Innovation for the Chief Trade Commissioner, Dept of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Government of Canada) discuss how critical meaning is for engagement. They go so far as to say we either need to find purpose or perish.

    [These are my notes from the Enterprise 2.0 Conference 2011 in Boston.  Since I'm publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error.  Please excuse those. To the extent I've made any editorial comments, I've shown those in brackets.]

    NOTES:

    • Why Purpose MattersWith a strong sense of purpose, people work harder and better. Without it, they lack engagement and often end up in confusion. Only a strong sense of shared purpose can overcome personal politics. In fact, OpenText has found that the single best predictor of success in a deployment is the strength of purpose of the team involved.
    • OpenText PrizeOpenText is offering a prize to the organization that can demonstrate how important a shared purposes has been their success. The prize is a $10,000 contribution of a charity of the winner’s choice.
    • Learning from the G20 Experience.The G20 is a summit of the leaders of the biggest economies to discuss the state of the global economy. The summit has a rotating chairmanship, however, there was no shared knowledge base. Therefore, each summit host country effectively has to start from scratch. As a practical matter, this means that knowledge is shared via email. When Canada became chair and host, Knowlton’s team first focused on “digital diplomacy,” but then were asked to find a better way to create a knowledge base. It started because the Canadian delegate was “sick of email.” He asked Knowlton’s team to come up with a solution that could be Canada’s legacy gift to the G20 organization. This led them to a cloud-based online solution that allowed G20 participants to communicate and collaborate. (They partnered with OpenText on this.) As they moved to this more ambitious purpose, the team became more adventurous, more confident, more decisive adn more creative. The project was so successful that the Knowlton’s team has been retained to advise each of the countries that has succeeded Canada as chair and host.
    No Comments
  • Bertie Sandie (Electronic Arts) says that the biggest challenge for Enterprise 2.0 is creating and maintaining a culture of collaboration. He asks is we have a roadmap for creating a culture of collaboration.

    [These are my notes from the Enterprise 2.0 Conference 2011 in Boston.  Since I'm publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error.  Please excuse those. To the extent I've made any editorial comments, I've shown those in brackets.]

    NOTES:

    • What can be done to foster collaboration?Give them virtual and physcial places to share and then acknowledge their contribution. (Electronic Arts copies the contributor’s supervisor on the acknowledgement in order to provide positive reinforcement.) You also need to create an environment that stimulates collaboration. EA actually has physical spaces that encourage people to gather and share ideas (complete with comfortable seats and whiteboards). They remove barriers and move people in order to ensure lots of cross-fertilization.
    • Organizaton Affects Collaboration. How are your people organized? In pods, teams, divisions, business units? Is each level of the organization optimized for collaboration? Each level will have a different culture of collaboration and one culture may not transfer easily to another part of the organization. Nonetheless, it is possible to improve culture in real-time by well-designed team building exercises.
    • Change Management is Hard.Sandie cautions us that most change management and culture change efforts fail. There are a variety of models (see John Kotter), but you will need to develop a model that works well in your environment. At EA they focus on Heads, Hearts and Hands. This means changing how people think, feel and act. Sandie works in corporate learning and leads workshops to help lead change.
    No Comments
  • Ross Mayfield (Socialtext and SlideShare) talks about how social software is more about evolution than revolution.

    [These are my notes from the Enterprise 2.0 Conference 2011 in Boston.  Since I'm publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error.  Please excuse those. To the extent I've made any editorial comments, I've shown those in brackets.]

    NOTES:

    • In the FlowMayfield credits Michael Idinopolous for reminding us that knowledge sharing happens best “in the flow” rather than “above the flow” of work. Ideally, knowledge sharing is a by-product of getting things done. Our job is to provide the social tools that facilitate this sharing. Socialtext has seen 95% levels of adoption/participation when they have put social tools directly in the flow.
    • Goal-Oriented Social Software.This is where this industry should be headed. Online fundraising shows us how effective social tools can be to spread the message and create good. What would happen if we had goal-oriented uses of social software within the enterprise?
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  • Sarah Roberts discusses why your employees will be running your company in five years. (Although she admits that in many ways employees are already running your company now.)

    [These are my notes from the Enterprise 2.0 Conference 2011 in Boston.  Since I'm publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error.  Please excuse those. To the extent I've made any editorial comments, I've shown those in brackets.]

    NOTES:

    • Why Organizations Are Losing Control.In most organizations, employees are “choiceless doers.” They are directed to act in a particular way, but rarely have choices or the discretion to act. Rather, the decisions and choices are made exclusively by senior management. This approach communicates the message that employees should check their brains at the door. This leads to disengagement and declining service quality. Now, however, there are indicators that employees are not just sitting back. Some high performers are leaving the company and are not giving their best companies to the company while they are there. (You may be able to make information flow down, but can you make knowledge flow up?) Others are withholding on discretionary effort. Since their hearts are not in their jobs, they are not going above and beyond to get the job done. Meanwhile, others act subversively — just to get their jobs done.
    • Change Management Must ChangeIt’s no longer about just getting buy-in. (Sarah Roberts believes that buy-in is just code for forcing people lower down the chain to agree to decisions made higher up the chain.) It’s also no longer about three-year change management plans. Since change is constant and needs to happen quickly, we no longer have the luxury of a long lead time.
    • Allow Bold DiscretionRitz Carleton gives employees an allowance of $2000 per day to solve customer problems or to make a customer’s experience delightful. In reality, employees spend much less, but by giving them the freedom and resources to act, they innovate and move the company forward. This prompts employee engagement and accountability.
    • Giving Up Control Need Not Mean Being Out of Control
    No Comments
  • Lee Bryant (HeadShift, Dachis Group) discusses how to motivate and manage people by using open data within the enterprise. For him, the next stage of social business is listening — and then using the resulting data to change the way our businesses work.

    [These are my notes from the Enterprise 2.0 Conference 2011 in Boston.  Since I'm publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error.  Please excuse those. To the extent I've made any editorial comments, I've shown those in brackets.]

    NOTES:

    • Social Business is not just about collaboration. It’s also about weak ties and dynamic signals to enable change based on ambient information inside and outside the enterprise. He points to the work of Dave Gray regarding pods within companies and the use of customer data and analytics to transform companies like Amazon. These companies are listening carefully to their customers and then taking that information to change the way the company works. The data is taken from a wide source and applied in small focused ways by “two-pizza” teams.
    • What can we learn from Big Data? Google has the data now to determine if a couple will divorce in two years’ time based on their spending patterns alone. Until now, however, we have used customer data in a rather narcissistic way — do you like me? How am I doing? What’s the sentiment about my company? Instead, we should be sharing the insights gathered from customer analytics beyond the marketing department. Equally, we should be gathering data within the enterprise and sharing the insights internally.
    • Focus on the Right Data. With a nod to the home town crowd, Lee referred to the recent victories of Boston sports teams and the transformative impact of data on performance — at least with respect to the Red Sox, as reported in the Michael Lewis book, Moneyball. The key to reaching these insights is to immerse yourself in the entirety of the data. Until you do this, you can’t really understand the rhythm and logic of that data — what it is telling you. For this reason, he is skeptical of hired-gun quants who swoop in with targeted analysis.
    • Get Beyond the Rear View Mirror. Analytics without change are nothing more than a rear view mirror. To move beyond, we need to get that data into the hands of people within the enterprise who can make a difference. However, the worst possible way to do this is to deliver the data via a report. By contrast, there is no better way to motivate people and trigger change than to provide them with relevant feedback via realtime data. The best way to do this is via activity streams (rather than reports) that can be shared throughout the organization and within the flow of daily activity. Using tags and filters, people within the organization can subscribe to the data streams that have the most relevance to their work, thereby ensuring constant access to a wide-range of pertinent, diverse real-time data.
    • The Next Stage for Social BusinessSocial Business tools allow widespread sharing. To really leverage these tools, use them to spread internal and external data. To ensure the insights gathered from the data gets into the right hands and result in useful action, spread the data via activity streams that can permeate the day-to-day workflow of the people who can take action.
    2 Comments
  • Lee Bryant (Headshift, Dachis Group) and Andrew Woolfson (Reynolds Porter Chamberlain) spoke about building a bespoke integrated social business platform for a law firm.

    [These are my notes from the Enterprise 2.0 Conference 2011 in Boston.  Since I'm publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error.  Please excuse those. To the extent I've made any editorial comments, I've shown those in brackets.]

    NOTES:

    • Social Business in Legal: They wanted to create a social platform for better knowledge flow in a law firm. Reynolds Porter Chamberlain (RPC) was willing to give the project team “permission to play.” The firm was also prepared to invest in something new because they wanted to own a tool that would better reflect the way their lawyers worked, they wanted to eliminate vendor limits on innovation and they wanted to use this deployment to energize the firm.
    • Understanding the Matrix of Relationships Before putting in some knowledge systems, you need to understand the relationships among the firm, the partners, the clients and the formal/informal groups within the firm.
    • Selfish Interests Lead to Collective Benefits.They focused on servicing individuals within the firm, while looking for opportunities to share benefits more widely. In fact, a goal of the project was to create a client-driven system that could be shared with clients later. Since the launch of the system, it has already become known as a critical tool for winning new business.
    • Build, Buy or Assemble?Some of the off-the-shelf platforms did not promise the level of control sufficient to allow the degree of innovation the firm was determined to undertake in coming years. HeadShift used Attensa (RSS), Confluence (wikis) and other tools on top of a firm wide platform. They used activity feeds as a “universal event bus.” They continue to “abstract” the specific business apps from the underlying social platforms. As a result, IT runs the platforms and data while the business units own the apps.
    • RPC EdgeThis tool has just one the prize as best knowledge management innovation at the 2011 KMUK conference. The Edge is personalized for each user, showing their activity streams and selected RSS feeds (internal and external) in the context of the groups to which the user belongs. The “personal pivot” in this system is critical. It starts with a personal profile. Anything and everything can be bookmarked for yourself or for your colleagues and turned into a stream. These items can also be saved for later use. There are a variety of group spaces (organized by type) that provide wiki-type work space, as well as activity streams, messaging, people information, links to specific content, etc. A typical group space might be dedicated to a legal practice.
    • Knowledge Collections.When there is a new topic, users can quickly assemble a knowledge collection, which then is turned into a feed that can be shared with others. In addition, they create precedent collections that have some tagging to help organize and present the contents.
    • Custom Bid RoomsThe created a space for auction deals. It allows them to gather key documents and resources, customized for each deal.
    • Trainee WikiThe trainees use this tool to share information on how to practice law and how to function RPC. This also helped change law firm culture regarding disclosing what you know and don’t know.
    • Kill the Intranet.RPC used a deliberate adoption strategy. They did not create pilots (Woolfson thinks they communicate weakness). Instead, they launched across the firm first and then started focusing on meeting individual needs. The firm wide launch also allowed them to win external awards for Edge, which then helped sell the system internally. Another key adoption strategy was that they turned off the Intranet. Instead, they made available in the new system the small portion of the Intranet that actually was used regularly.
    • How to Determine Success?Rather than getting hung up on misleading participation data, they are collecting internal anecdotes and external awards.
    • Next Steps.They are talking about Edge to their clients. They are showing clients how Edge supports client service delivery, which may in turn help identify new ways to collaborate with clients. RPC wants to do more than just create another client deal room or extranet.
    5 Comments
  • Rachel Happe, Principal, The Community Roundtable.

    [These are my notes from the Enterprise 2.0 Conference 2011 in Boston.  Since I'm publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error.  Please excuse those. To the extent I've made any editorial comments, I've shown those in brackets.]

    NOTES:

    • How do you define a Community? A group of people with unique shared values, behaviors and artifacts. Communities are opt in; you can’t force people to join. People participate because they get more out of them than they put in.
    • Communities are Essential to Social Business. The strategy is to make organizations more humane, adaptive and resilient in order to increase revenue through relevance and reduce costs through crowdsourcing.  Communities help make this happen.
    • Technology alone is not enough. Technology is improving so quickly with respect to social media that it is a constant race to stay on top of the changes. However, the speed of technological change far outstrips the speed at which a person can adapt to those changes. When people are forced to operate at that speed, people break.
    • Information Arbitrage is not enough. In the early days, social technology could be used to increase the seed of information.  Perfect information led to strategic advantages in negotiations and operations. However, once all your competitors have adopted the technology, you lose the competitive edge with respect to speedy access to information.
    • Relationships are the Antidote.
    2 Comments
  • Andrew McAfee discusses Threats to Enterprise 2.0: Old-Fashioned Bosses and New-Fangled Computers.

    [These are my notes from the Enterprise 2.0 Conference 2011 in Boston.  Since I'm publishing them as soon as possible after the end of a session, they may contain the occasional typographical or grammatical error.  Please excuse those. To the extent I've made any editorial comments, I've shown those in brackets.]

    NOTES:

    • Why has E2.0 Succeeded?This group of technologies meet a deep-seated business need: they help companies know what they know. They connect digital resources and brain resources. (McAfee quoted Lew Platt, former CEO of HP: “If only HP knew what HP knows, we would be three times more productive.”) It also must a deep human need: to be part of a community that you define and to have a voice within that group. Further, the number of bad incidents resulting from the freedom provided by these tools remains wonderfully low. In this case, trusting your employees has resulted in people behaving as mature professionals.
    • Old-Fashioned Bosses They believe that productivity depends on a hierarchical organization with close supervision. They believe it is a more rational, linear, non scary approach to management. By contrast, the networked organization terrifies them.
    • New-Fangled Computers. McAfee reminds us about IBM’s Watson playing Jeopardy. It should make us nervous about E2.0, because it sits upon document and makes sense of it based on a new set of algorithms that don’t rely on data relationships and linking to identify sense and relevance. (By contrast, E2.0 depends on network, relationship, network, linking.) Theoretically, the power of Watson allows old-fashioned bosses from turning off the network and social software, deploying instead these supercomputers working in isolation.
    • How do we save E2.0?Switch from using it to respond to questions whose answers are findable in a knowledge base. Computers can do it faster and better. Instead, use social software to help create “Eureka” moments. Focus on answers that require innovation and creativity. Focus on the areas in which humans have a comparative advantage over computers.
    No Comments