Sunday, September 30, 2012

How to Get the Most out of Corporate Wikis

In my post last week, we've seen how American Airlines utilizes micro blogging strategies and how other organizations can deploy them. If you don't already know, American Airlines is a major U.S. airline with a fleet of 605 aircrafts, flying an average of 275,000 customers daily to over 250 destinations.

Today, I'll be sharing about corporate wikis and some implementation strategies which can help organizations like American Airlines to delve deeper in using more Enterprise 2.0 tools to boost its internal activities.

For the past few years, more organisations are jumping onboard to use corporate wikis. This is to enhance collaboration and sharing of knowledge. Other advantages of corporate wikis includes keeping information organized, avoiding email overload, and building consensus.

To get the most out of corporate wikis, the Society for Information Management's Advanced Practices Council (APC) has came up with 7 strategies for implementing a successful corporate wiki. Two of the most important strategies among these which American Airlines could employ are "assigning a champion to each wiki" and "convincing people to edit others' work".

Assigning a Wiki Champion
Research has proven that when it comes to trying out new things, people often would take a step back to observe before diving into it. Many times, there will need to be someone who sets the pace and shows everyone that this new technology has its benefits. This would then prompt others to follow suit.

This same concept also applies to corporate wikis. A champion has to be assigned to corporate wikis to encourage more people to use the wiki. As a wiki's strength is highly reliant on its amount of users, it is very important that the Champion does a good job.

Characteristics of a quality Wiki Champion are as follow:
  • Trustworthy - They are known to have a good knowledge of new technologies and other would feel comfortable when trusting what this person says.
  • Has Impact - What this person says and does can influence others to follow
  • Communicator - Can communicate ideas across different people from different level of the organisation.
  • Passionate - This individual should be passionate about using the wiki to enhance collaboration among other staff. You can't encourage others to do something if you don't believe in it yourself.

Be a Wiki Champion that takes the lead

With this list of characteristics as a guide, organisations looking to improve the usage of their corporate wikis should appoint a Wiki Champion to lead others and shape them to use the corporate wiki.

Convincing People to Edit Others' Work
Another key to maintaining a good wiki is to get people to edit and add unto the existing work of others. This is important because most people have certain fears of using these corportate wikis. These fears often are caused by speculation and lack of knowledge of wikis. Few of the most popular myths are:
  • "I'm not going to edit this because I don't want him to be offended" - One thing employees need to realize is that there is actually nobody who will be offended by what they edit. If at any time someone's information get's erased, wikis can actually be restored to previous versions to retrieve what has been written. Also, everyone who uses the wiki will have the same intention of building the page that has complete information. Therefore people will definitely not be offended if some of their previous work has been changed.
  • "I'm afraid what I add won't be useful enough" - Again, the whole point of a wiki is to build pages that has complete set of useful information. Any detail that can be added to these pages are always more than welcome. Besides, if it is deemed wrong or not useful, someone would edit it and may even build upon what you have already added.
These myths should be busted to ensure that nothing prevents the wikis from achieving its full potential. Organizations can also seek the help of their Wiki Champions or department managers to help dismiss these myths.

Final Thoughts: 
Besides these strategies, one should also exercise their corporate wiki's full potential and keep their organisation up-to-date. This can be further done by integrating the wiki into it's IT collaboration architecture, understanding the wiki "rules of conduct", embeding small software programs, and also by using wikis in suitable work cultures. For more details on these, feel free to visit Adrian and Blake's posts.

Organisations better not be left behind in ancient times.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Micro-Blogging Strategies That Work!

So this week, we will be talking about Enterprise 2.0 strategies, what social platforms can be use to perform these strategies, and tactics for implementing them. To help get the point across, we'll be using American Airlines as an example.

Founded in 1930, American Airlines has now become a major U.S. airline. With a fleet of 605 aircrafts, this world-renown airline operates a wide international and domestic network, flying an average of 275,000 customers daily to over 250 destinations.

With Twitter gaining over 500 million active users which generates over 340 million tweets daily, American Airlines decided to take this opportunity and use it to their advantage. Currently, American Airlines has over 429,000 fans, fifth among all other airlines (as of today). The secret behind their success is the implementation of the following strategies:

  1. Solving Customer Service Issues
  2. Posing Fun Questions to Fans
  3. Showing "Behind the Scenes" Information
  4. Empowering the Brand’s Most Loyal Followers

As a team, Adrian, Blake and I will each be going into details of a particular strategy. So I'll go on to discuss how showing "Behind the Scenes" information can attract and engage customers. Meanwhile, if you are interested in the other strategies, you can check out their posts later.

Showing Behind the Scenes Information

Revealing behind the scenes information has always been a well known strategy which shows the public how things are done or what is happening in an organization . This widely-used strategy is often successful because it helps engage customers, giving them and in-depth and genuine view of the organization. There are a few tactics one can follow when implementing this strategy.

American Airlines giving the public a sneak peek

#1 Know your fans' interests

The most important thing when trying to engage fans would be to know their interests. Upon finding out what they like, it will give you an idea of what to post and how successful it will be. One of the most common interests these days are technology. And when American Airlines tweeted about their pilots using iPads during all phases of flight, they received a massive 193 retweets!

Everyone getting excited for iPads!

#2 Post images and videos

Besides that, images and videos often attract more attention compared to lines of text. Showing fans pictures or videoclips of what goes on behind the scenes will motivate them to retweet and favorite these posts. In the example below, American Airlines included a "Behind the Scenes" video in their tweet about their new aircraft. By doing so, they managed to get 49 retweets and 17 favourites!

Many getting excited to see what's involved in taking delivery of a new plane

#3 Use Hashtags

On top of including pictures and videos, another good tactic is to use several hashtags while posting these "Behind the Scenes" information. By using a hashtag in a tweet, those who search those hashtags would also be able to see the tweet. This results in your tweet being seen by an even larger audience, others who are not "following" you.

This post got American Airlines 71 retweets!

Final thoughts: In the end, it is never enough to just settle for one strategy. Leveraging a combination of micro-blogging strategies such as the strategies mentioned abone will greatly enhance an organisation’s digital presence and further increase their fanbase. What do you think of this post? Share your thoughts in the comment section. :)

Monday, September 10, 2012

How to Overcome Enterprise 2.0 Adoption Barriers

Well I've been blogging a lot about Enterprise 2.0 and I'm sure we all know what benefits it is capable of bringing to an organization. Unfortunately, according to Go-Gulf, only 23% of Fortune500 companies are actually blogging. Today, I'll be talking about what stops these companies from adopting social tools into their business and how we can overcome adoption issues.

Earlier this year Silverman Research started a research by asking people what they think are main barriers for organisations in embracing social media. The study identified four main barriers to social media adoption in organisation, which are:
  • Lack of knowledge and understanding
  • Fear
  • Absence of a well-grounded business case
  • Unprepared leadership

Results from the Silverman Research

A few years ago, the world's largest publisher and distributer of children's books, Scholastic, had a few employees which had the interest of starting a corporate blog. With a few of these barriers, their boss was not too keen on this idea.But, they did not give up. Instead, they were given the chance to type out blog posts everyday for a month.

When their boss realized it was a good idea, she approved it and decided to go with it. With that, these employees proved to their boss that corporate blogging will work. Now the blogging team has 9 people and publishes posts up to 10 times a week. Scholastic has gained many diverse readers who comse back to read their articles on a daily basis. Proving that social tools will and can be beneficial to the organisation was their key to Scholastic's social media adoption.

Employees who pioneered blogging in Scholastic giving a presentation

Sometimes those who hold back from adopting Enterprise 2.0 tools are not the employers, but the employees instead. But as a leading multinational technology and consulting corporation, IBM started encouraging it's employees to engage and embrace social media. Ever since 1997, the company has allowed its employees to use the Internet while most companies did not.

According to K R Prabhakar, in 2003, IBM made a strategic decision to encourage employees to participate in blogs and embrace the blogosphere. IBM did not regulate employee social media activity but instead encouraged employees to collaborate, share and drive innovation. Employees are educated about the guidelines and policies and are provided the necessary social media platforms.

IBM's ROI and benefits after adopting social media

By doing so, it resulted in cost reductions, greater revenue, high employee satisfaction, and the birth of more innovative ideas. As employers, it is essential to set the example and encourage employees to embrace social media. This is helps guide those working with the organisation to accept, be interested, and adopt Enterprise 2.0 tools as part of their work.

Besides the 2 examples mentioned, one can also apply Kotter's "8-Step Process for Leading Change" to help an organization embrace Enterprise 2.0. His theory involves creating climate for change, engaging and enabling the organization, and implementing and sustaining the change.

Those who have trouble getting organizations to adopt social media tools can use this theory as a guide to transform and bring forth a paradigm shift within the organization, which will lead them to the acceptance and embracing of Enterprise 2.0 tools.

Final thoughts: Overall, I believe that showing them the benefits, proving to them it works, and assuring them that the risks are worth it will definitely help overcome these barriers to social media adoption. Do you have any other strategies to overcome adoption barriers? Feel free to let me know what you think in the comments section.