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A Six-Step Roadmap to Ensure Successful Enterprise Social Computing Adoption


NewsGator white paper reveals how a modicum of planning can deliver quantifiable business results and cultural transformations

DENVER – The seismic success of Facebook, Wikipedia, Twitter and other social computing tools often creates soaring expectations for viral adoption of social computing in business settings. While the “just build it and they will come” strategy works in the consumer world, it’s a dangerous approach for business: users may never come, or they may come and waste their time.

That’s why NewsGator, the social computing company, today released a six-step roadmap for successful enterprise social computing adoption. It’s a systematic analysis to help ensure that Enterprise 2.0 initiatives make sense to users and improve business performance exactly as intended. Thoroughly explored in a new white paper at, the six steps are:

1. Identify business problems and goals
In addition to yielding broad business benefits, you need enterprise social computing to solve concrete business problems. So first, define problems and proposed solutions using quantifiable key performance indicators. Instead of shooting for the general improvement of CRM, for example, define the problems and realistic targets. For example, with a general problem such as “Customer problem resolution is not timely,” define a specific goal such as “Reduce time to resolution by 7 percent.”

2. Define use cases to help solve business problems
Now determine the events and actions in each business process. To resolve a customer problem, for example, the use case goes like this: Customer asks a challenging product question. Account manager presents question to internal customer and product experts. Some members respond; others rate, critique and tag the responses. Account manager filters responses, answers the customer, reports the problem is solved and updates the customer support knowledge base.

3. Select the correct technologies
Now that you know the steps, you need to choose the right tools to execute them. Blogs? Wikis? Profiles? Social bookmarking? Communities? Discussion forums? Tagging? Microblogging? Activity streams? Status updates? Voting? Rating? As the account manager in our example above presents her customer question to colleagues, she may use a discussion forum, a people tag search, a content tag search or a combination of the three. Experiment during the pilot phase and choose the best toolset for you.

4. Publish best practices for use
While some believe enterprise social computing should be free of any rules at all, guidelines can clearly enhance results. Examples of best practice guidelines include:
• Prior to creating a community, clearly explain its purpose and ground rules.
• Tag articles with terms that are meaningful to the group, not simply reflective of the content, e.g., use “financial services sales leads” vs. “banking.”
• Encourage discussion participants to stay on topic.

5. Identify obstacles to participation
Users may resist enterprise social computing for any number of reasons: they’re already on Facebook, they fear “publicizing” their ideas, or management is stuck in old-school, hierarchical thinking. If you take a minute to anticipate and plan for obstacles, they become much easier to overcome.

6. Identify desired cultural transformations
As obstacles are overcome and employees fully engage in enterprise social computing, Enterprise 2.0 can dramatically transform a company’s culture. It can improve transparency, information distribution, democratization and knowledge creation. These transformations require a true willingness to change and some support. Consider working with a cross-section of employees to: prepare a mission statement for your desired cultural transformation; identify examples of activities that illustrate the transformation in action; and name good role models for the transformation and their traits. Identify stakeholders that may resist change and understand why.

“Any organization can benefit from this flexible roadmap for enterprise social computing adoption,” said Karyn German, NewsGator vice president of enterprise practice management. “Although the commitment may seem daunting, it boils down to good planning. Organizations that follow a model like this are quite likely to reap the many benefits that enterprise social computing can deliver, and reap them quickly.”

Visit NewsGator’s website to download “A Roadmap for Successful Adoption of Social Computing in the Enterprise”. Also, come see NewsGator in Booth #505 at Enterprise 2.0 at the Westin Boston Waterfront, June 22-25, 2009.

NewsGator’s enterprise social computing thought leadership is the product of thousands of conversations with Fortune 1000 companies planning and executing Enterprise 2.0 initiatives. NewsGator Social Sites is enterprise social computing’s most comprehensive platform. When coupled with Microsoft SharePoint, it includes all the social computing capabilities required for improved collaboration, innovation, expertise discovery, recruiting, retention and knowledge management.

About NewsGator Technologies, Inc.
NewsGator Technologies helps enterprises and media companies leverage social computing solutions to deliver real business value. The company’s enterprise social networking and widget services are in use by hundreds of the world’s most recognized brands, including All Things Digital, Biogen Idec, CBS, CNN, Discovery, National Geographic, Procter & Gamble and USA Today. NewsGator Social Sites and Enterprise Server give enterprises better ways to collaborate, share content, expand employee knowledge and improve productivity. NewsGator’s Widget Services and iPhone applications enable media and brand companies to better engage their audiences and extend the value of their brands through viral syndication of content. NewsGator also offers free, award-winning RSS aggregators for the Web, desktop, mobile devices and e-mail clients. For more information, visit


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