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Implementing Enterprise 2.0 for the Federal Government Part Five: User Adoption

Posted by on April 9, 2011

This is part five in a multi-part series on how the federal government is implementing Enterprise 2.0.  This was done through extensive interviews with Booz Allen Hamilton who has led many of the efforts for various Government agencies. The full series on Enterprise 2.0 for the Federal Government (which includes additional information and specific examples) can be downloaded(registration required) for free.  I recommend that you start with the first post: Implementing Enterprise 2.0 for the Federal Government Part One: Business Drivers, the second post: Implementing Enterprise 2.0 for the Federal Government Part Two: Who Drives the Tools?, the third post: Implementing Enterprise 2.0 for the Federal Government Part Three: Obstacles, and the fourth post: Implementing Enterprise 2.0 for the Federal Government Part Four: More Obstacles

Today we are going to continue our discussion on Enterprise 2.0 user adoption for the Federal Government.

The best way to encourage use is by having a platform aligned to meet business needs that is intuitive to use and integrates with existing business systems.  While training is a necessary component, focus on providing users a clear understanding of how they can use the platform to solve some of their current problems.

Integration makes using the system easy, not a pain.  Enterprises already have a lot of data stored within their systems and some or all of this information needs to be integrated with any new useful tool/platform.  For example, if you already store information about employees such as their names and emails, then don’t make employees re-enter this information when you launch your new platform.  Make sure all the information and data you have is pulled from existing sources into the new platform.  Effective E 2.0 integration will aggregate information around people and communities.  This means that users can filter and aggregate the data and information themselves based on their needs and preferences.

Organizations must show the business value of new tools.  If employees see how you are making their job easier while making them more productive, they will use and adopt the system.  That means organizations must invest in marketing their own tools to employees; word of mouth can only get you so far.  Encourage senior management to move their regular email blasts to the platform; get HR to promote new employee benefits through the system.  Encourage your early adopters to put a link to their profile page on their internal email signatures.  It doesn’t have to cost a lot, but it has to be proactive.

User training must be integrated into the employees’ day to day lives.  Incorporating E 2.0 training into the on-boarding process and preparing new employees to use new technologies will increase the value and usage of the platform and tools.  Existing employees also require training to solve specific business needs and objectives they are trying to solve.  Targeted training and general resources for education are helpful.

Once an organization gains adoption of 15-20% then it can seek broader formal support.   The E 2.0 team will not want to force anything; some employees will want to use E 2.0 resources and some will not.  Some employees will not see the value of new E 2.0 tools and will not want to use new technology, however, critical mass will help pull those employees in as they are pointed to the new tools by other users for answers to their questions.  Make education as much self educational as possible and let staff members teach themselves.  Also separate training with power users is an effective and useful tactic.

Enterprise 2.0 will continue to evolve, your tools must grow with your organization.  The greatest success rates are achieved by focusing on the end users instead of focusing on company benefits.  It is also important to balance power users with regular users to make sure you engage both effectively.  Organizations should be prepared to push out new additions and features on a regular basis (counted in months, not years).  Having an E2.0 team in place is important in making sure the organization as a whole understands how to best use and improve the system.  An E 2.0 implementation can be managed effectively by developing a prioritization plan and having empowered leaders or users make the final and tough decisions on what to build or integrate.  It is challenging but crucial to balance what everyone wants with what the organization can actually do.  Developing a public roadmap that looks as much as one year into the future and is visible to all employees has proven to be a very effective way to engage employees and ensure everyone is on the same page.  Managing expectations as well as the actual product is the balancing act of E 2.0.

  • Awesome post! Very informative. Thanks