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Focus on Value or Features of Enterprise 2.0?

Posted by on July 19, 2011

When discussing emergent collaboration solutions with clients or with organizations seeking to implement the best piece of advice that I (and I’m sure many others) can give is to focus on the value and not on the features or the technology of a platform.  This means that instead of telling employees  that they can post status updates, create their own rich profiles, or collaboratively edit a document tell them about the value that all of this brings to their lives.  Will it help employees save time with tasks that usually take a while to do?  Will it make life easier when it comes time to finding information that they need to get access to?  Will it help create a sense of community within an otherwise siloed and non-communicative organization?  Will they be able to spend more time with time with their families instead of working longer hours?  Will their dependence on email be reduced so that they can actually focus on getting work done and not on answering messages?

Whatever the value is, that is what you need to convey.  The technology and the features are just enablers that exist in order to make the lives of the employees and users easier.  Focusing on the cool things that a technology can do will not help with adoption but focusing on the value for the employees will.  Also, when focusing on the value don’t focus on the corporate value.  Meaning don’t tell employees how much money it’s going to say the company or how many new products and ideas and the company wants to create as a result of these new tools.  Focus on the value for the employees.  What do they get out of it?  What is in it for them?  Everything else comes in a distant second (if that).  Put yourself in the shoes of the employees who you want to convince to use an emergent collaboration platform.  What would help encourage you to use something new, the fact that you can post status messages, the fact that it will help save the company 20% on travel costs, or the fact that you as an employee will have an easier time doing your job?

I know I’m beating this message across but that’s a good thing because I can’t stress it enough.  Value for the employees comes first.

What’s in it for them and why should they care?

  • Connie

    Good brain food Jacob! 

    I’ve longed believed that most people consciously or subconsciously ask the eternal question, ‘what’s in it for me?’  On the surface, an ESP for collaboration may mean, ‘yay, less email!’ but take it a step further and drill it down to what’s really meaningful value to them.  To do that, you need to first ask them what’s important to them: more rewards and recognition, responsibility, time for professional development, personal time, etc.?  Then tell them how their participation can help to achieve that.  Of course, certain departments and managers need to be involved to help tie it all together. 

    People can’t always relate general statements to their own lives, for example, “you’ll have an easier time doing your job.”  They want to hear “you’ll have an easier time doing your job…which will lead to more time with your family.”  Sometimes what should be obvious isn’t.

    • Thank you Ms Connie! I think we both agree on this 🙂

  • Couldn’t agree more.

    Maximizing the value that the users get is the fundamental principle that the Communication Tracker team believes in. It was counterintuitive to discover that the addition of some features would actually reduce its value for the enterprise. Of course, we chose to stay away from them. More on our blog:

    • Glad to hear that this is a believe your team subscribes to!

  • Anonymous

    nice and messageful thoughts posted by author,really something is not going on a proper way for making enterprises company better

  • Thank you for sharing this article. I love it.

  • As a networking tool, a business blog can help in many different ways but one of its most powerful is when it allows the creation of a network of like minded people interested in a particular area. It is particularly positive for the company setting this up and running it because they find themselves at the centre of this network and therefore in a high profile position.

  • Great post. I love getting into flow during work, and you’re tips for achieving flow during the day and the week are well thought out.

  • Here i found something in favor of employee. Thanks for such a motivating post.

  • good post! liked it! and need to say that you are quite good in writing articles.. not everyone can do that!