BlueIQ: E2.0 Inside IBM

Evolution of E2.0 at IBM: The Frustrations and the Glory

SpeakerRawn Shah, Practices Lead Social Software Enablement, IBM

SpeakerJeanne Murray, Program Manager, Social Software Adoption, IBM


[These are my quick notes, complete with  (what I hope is no more than) the occasional typo and grammatical error.  Please excuse those. Thanks!

From time to time, I’ll insert my own editorial comments – exercising the prerogatives of the blogger.  I’ll show those in brackets. ]


  • The details of the IBM process are in a white paper they have written and posted online as a PDF:  Nurturing BlueIQ: Enterprise 2.0 Adoption in IBM
  • They target specific communities to mentor to high levels of social interaction within iBM
  • They “reverse mentor” executives to give them the support needed to use the technology
  • Stage 1: SEE THE VALUE – show that there are practical business uses for the social tools; demonstrate that there is a business need for these tools
    • Frustrations: the tools aren’t always ready for prime time; there are unreasonable loyalties to legacy systems and methods; audience is dismissive of tools and resistant to change.
  • Stage 2: RECOGNIZE BUSINESS CASE – connecting to people, ideas and expertise was a key business driver. As a result the networks are becoming more open and permit cross-border knowledge sharing.
    • Frustrations:  there are a multiplicity of tools that don’t always work together; the streams of information can be overwhelming; while serendipity is great, the info stream feels random and leads to worry that key items/issues are getting missed or lost all together.
  • Stage 3: MOVING BEYOND THE EARLY ADOPTERS  – this requires a simplified structure and better tools so that people use the same tool for similar activities
    • Frustrations: while there were higher levels of adoption, many of the early adopters were talking among themselves and not involving newcomers; there were multiple tools for similar tasks and some of these tools were outside the workflow; when people are doing things “socially” and in the “old way” it feels like they are doing duplicate work.
  • Stage 4: INTEGRATE WORKFLOWS – Integrating tools within workflows can take years — especially in a large organization.  These requires better processes in order to transform enterprise-wide systems.  The impact then is on everyone, not just the early adopters. Consider whether your organization is ready to handle such fundamental change.  If done right, the tools/systems become standardized across the enterprise and reshape the workflows.
    • Frustrations: The new business processes and workflows don’t necessarily mean that people have adopted new ways of thinking – they may operate according to the old way reflexively.
  • Stage 5: SHIFT PERSPECTIVE – the challenge is to change the mindset.  This means moving to thinking about sharing and abundance rather than hoarding and scarcity. People move from individual knowledge to network knowledge. How do you train people to rely on network memory rather than individual memory? How do you train people to work in such a way that optimizes the abilities and capacities of the network? However, these shifts can can be challenging because people aren’t capable of changing a lot or changing quickly.
    • Frustrations:  What do we do about uneven participation? Should we care about this? What to do about duplication or redundancy in the network? How do you help people remember to “work out loud” within the network rather than doing work and having conversations offline? How do you move things online?
  • Maturation Across the Stages:
    • Remember that parts of your organization may be at different stages of E2.0 maturation at the same time. Therefore, the leadership team needs to handle all of this simultaneously.
    • Develop guidelines and governance
    • Adoption moves from ad hoc (word of mouth) to more formal adoption methods
    • Metrics need to change over time – first track what people are doing and the analyze what this means. Move from task-specific activity to understanding behaviors, attitudes and sentiment. Real-time reporting can provide some interesting insights – but remember too much data is not a good thing. Figure out what really matters (and to whom), then focus on the metrics that deliver answers to those questions.
    • infrastructure – this whole process started as  an experiment, an innovation space.  Now it has to move to an official system, with service levels that are scaled for a global company.
  • The road ahead: once the users/network get a little further along the path, the users/network become smarter than the adoption leadership team.  At that point, you need to be sure that you can funnel ideas back from the users to the adoption team.
  • The role of the adoption leadership team is to codify best/next practices; provide support to early adopters and lonely adopters; help provide ideas rather than doing operational work or tools deployment.
  • The process requires constant and diverse education of users.

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