Bill Ives has an interesting post on his Portals and KM Blog talking about a new research report from Deloitte called Social Software for Business Performance. Bill’s post focuses on the section of the report that deals with establishing proper metrics for social software impact, but we want to highlight other areas of the report in our Project Wall posts. To begin with, let’s look at the need for employees to perceive usefulness in the platform in order for true adoption of the system to take place across the workforce.
Deloitte and Ives both rightly argue that the current metrics for “adoption” of social software are not very useful because they are based solely on the number of users who interact with the system. We think that this measure of adoption is especially flawed, given that most companies who are implementing a social software platform see expertise identification as a key low-hanging fruit for the project and mandate that users enter the system and create an expertise profile. If we simply measure the number of users who have created a profile, are we really getting a sense of “adoption” of the platform? Clearly not.
On page 5 of the report, Deloitte describes a case study at Alcoa:
“At first, employees only used the Traction software platform because their managers required it. However, as employees identified and shared specific ways to use the software to improve their performance and work more efficiently, they integrated it into their daily workflow.”
Employees look at tools and evaluate their usefulness based upon the ability of the tool to help them get their job done. Until employees evaluate the social software system through the lens of “what’s in it for me?” and consequently make a positive assessment, adoption of the system is unlikely – except in the case of managerial mandate.
However, when a social platform is used to create context-specific business-driven applications, the social platform’s value becomes transparent to users. Another quote from Alcoa:
“One day it just clicked for me. I realized how using the software could really improve my productivity. From that point on, I started using it whenever possible and not just when my boss told me to do so. That’s when I started seeing [the system] help me do my job better.”
Now that’s adoption.
Businesses that have implemented social software platforms need to help users find the value in social business interactions in order to drive adoption and business value. They can do this by providing context-specific social business applications on top of their platforms, such as social project management.
More on social project management and its ability to drive business performance in Part 2 of this post later this week.