Working Out Loud


In honor of Working Out Loud Week, I wanted to share the resources I referenced on this topic in my presentation entitled, Finding Value in Enterprise Social Collaboration – How to identify the right opportunities for innovation at your company, from this year’s SharePoint TechFest in Dallas.

At their core, enterprise social collaboration technologies are about enabling human-human interaction using computers, employees interacting with each other using software  The software has no value unless users are using it, and the foundation for effective enterprise social collaboration is working out loud. Continue reading

The Business Case for Collaboration


In this blog post I wanted to explore the business case for collaboration, and the circumstances that have changed over the last 3-4 decades which make collaboration such an important vehicle for driving value for organizations.  I will reference several sources for this article and welcome any comments.  My goal is to explain concepts clearly so you can have better conversations within your organization. Continue reading

The Softer Side of SharePoint – Dialogue Mapping Case Study


This is the first in a series of articles motivated by attending Paul Culmsee’s “SharePoint Governance and Information Architecture Master Class” (read my review here), and the last 1-2 years of my career knowing there are better ways to get people to work together to improve business outcomes.  When you look at utilizing SharePoint within an organization, there needs to be shared understanding around four questions, which will enable you to steer the usage of SharePoint to support the business and help drive value.

  • What is the future state you want to achieve and what does it look like?
  • Why did you choose that specific future state, as opposed to other options?
  • Who will do what to get you to that state?
  • How will you get to that state?

Within the SharePoint community, it seems challenging to find a lot of how-to’s in regards to getting the what and why answered in a more efficient and effective manner.  In my opinion, it is nearly impossible to have a long-term functioning SharePoint platform that continually helps drive business value without the “what” and “why” being transparent throughout the organization. 

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Driving Business Value with Enterprise Collaboration – Part 4: Implementing the Framework


Welcome to the final part of the Driving Business Value with Enterprise Collaboration series.  Here’s an overview of the series:

  • Part 1: Examine how the changing workforce is a driver for enterprise wide collaboration
  • Part 2: Understand the business value of collaboration (how can it help our company)
  • Part 3: Set the direction for enterprise wide collaboration (how we align employees)

This article will look at implementing collaboration projects by utilizing a framework to manage and measure collaboration.  If we take a step back for a second, the reason for this series was to look at where enterprise wide collaboration can possibly take a company and why the need has emerged.

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Driving Business Value with Enterprise Collaboration – Part 3: Setting the Direction for Companywide Collaboration


Part 1 of this series looked at the changing workforce and why collaboration plays such a critical role in making your most important employees more productive.  Part 2 of the series explored how collaboration can add value to your company.  In this article we will examine how to set the direction for companywide collaboration to support an important business driver for your company.

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Driving Business Value with Enterprise Collaboration – Part 2: How Collaboration Adds Value


In part 1 of this series we explored how the changing workforce, and the work we are performing, is driving the need for improved enterprise collaboration.  In this article, we will explore how collaboration adds value to a business.    As I stated in the series overview, these articles will pull content from many different sources, so I hope it acts as a concise reference for you to speak about collaboration in terms of a way to add value to your business.

Within this article, I will:

  • Provide a definition for internal collaboration
  • Discuss how collaboration adds value
  • Identify how to achieve strategic benefits with collaboration
  • Identify the different types of collaboration
  • Help you identify where your company is within the collaboration life-cycle

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Driving Business Value with Enterprise Collaboration – Part 1: The Changing Workforce


Many companies are currently examining how collaboration, and more specifically social networking within the enterprise, can increase productivity.  There are many reasons why – globalization, new ways of working within and outside of your company, emerging Web 2.0 technologies, and the shifting demographics of the workforce to name a few.

In this article, I am going to focus on the changing workforce.  An article entitled, “The Next Revolution in Interactions” from the McKinsey Quarterly 2005 November Number 4, examined the rise of the tacit workforce.

The premise of the article is simple – the way we work is changing and it has a dramatic impact on performance.  We are becoming a workforce that is more and more focused on tacit interactions, rather than transformational or transactional interactions.  The workforce now consists of people who largely or wholly spend their time interacting.

Continue reading

Driving Business Value with Enterprise Collaboration – The Series Overview


In this 4-part series I will be focusing on a strategic implementation of enterprise-wide internal collaboration to support the corporate strategy and top business priorities.  This entails a top-down approach to collaboration.  I will not be dealing with ad-hoc collaboration solutions (which can provide a lot of value) in this series.  In order to embark on an enterprise-wide collaboration initiative, we need to look at the following components:

  • Examine how the changing workforce is a driver for enterprise-wide collaboration
  • Understand the business value of collaboration (how can it help our company)
  • Set the direction for enterprise-wide collaboration (how we align employees)
  • Utilize a collaboration framework to manage and measure collaboration (how we implement collaboration)

In the first article I will look at the outside forces affecting companies.  I will:

  • Examine the typical business drivers for enterprise-wide collaboration, and focus on how the workforce is changing
  • Explain why collaboration tools play a critical role in improving the productivity of your most important employees, and
  • Discuss how Web 2.0 technologies provide new capabilities to improve the productivity of your employees

In the second article I will examine how collaboration can help companies.  I will:

  • Define collaboration
  • Discuss how collaboration adds value to the business
  • Point out the different types of collaboration
  • Identify how to achieve strategic benefits with enterprise-wide collaboration, and
  • Provide a tool to help you identify where your company stands in the life-cycle of collaboration

In part three of the series, I will look at aligning employees.  I will:

  • Look at what it takes to set the direction for enterprise-wide collaboration
  • Walk through how to properly align your collaboration vision with the business vision and strategy
  • Showcase a way to identify where collaboration will have the biggest ROI
  • Examine how to set collaboration priorities to properly align people’s activities, and
  • Speak to the power of adopting an evolutionary collaboration strategy

Finally, in the last article, I will look at implementing enterprise-wide collaboration.  I will:

  • Look at implementing a collaboration framework to manage and measure collaboration
  • Explore what it takes from a people and culture perspective, a process and governance perspective, and finally a technology perspective

These articles will pull content from many different sources, so I hope it acts as a concise reference for you to speak about collaboration in terms of a way to add value to your business.  As always, please feel free to post a comment, or share the article with colleagues of yours if you find it valuable.  Your feedback is always appreciated.

Crossing the Collaboration Chasm


In a series of articles I wrote entitled, A Process to Showcase SharePoint’s Value to Your Organization (Part 1,2,3), I walked through the process of easily displaying the different business processes that SharePoint supports in your organization. The whole intent of the process is to get visibility with management to show how SharePoint has been used to support the business.

This is needed because in most organizations SharePoint is introduced via a bottom-up approach, largely driven by early adopters, without a direct connection to the corporate strategy. This type of ad-hoc utilization leads to fast adoption rates at the lower levels of an organization (people that are closest to the business processes of the company) but not much visibility with the executives – because there is no connection with the corporate strategy and the top priorities of the company.

Eventually, SharePoint’s growth gets management’s attention when they realize there is a lot of mission critical information residing in the system. Then attention is usually focused around how best to control the application (governance) to ensure data can be recovered in a timely manner.

I think the majority of companies are missing a terrific opportunity when they reach this stage. They should turn their focus to determining how the company can better leverage collaboration to drive business value.

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Collaboration is a Strategy – Part 2


In my prior post, I introduced the concept of Collaboration is a strategy, and how it needs executive ownership.  In this post I will discuss the importance of being able to map the solutions you build within SharePoint to the corporate strategy.

Sample Corporate Strategy
Here’s an example of a fictitious corporate strategy communicated to employees via the CEO (usually via a crafted email from the corporate communications department).  Usually the highest level objectives are shared:

  • Grow the Business 35% in the next 5 years
  • We Must Differentiate our Products & Services from our Competitors
  • Achieve Best in Class Customer Service
  • Lean our Business Processes

Very high level, strategic messaging.  What happens from these top down goals are where we can begin to map the solutions in SharePoint.  Executives in charge of each major department in the company have more detailed goals that map to the 4 example points above. 

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