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Implementing Enterprise 2.0 for the Federal Government Part Three: Obstacles

Posted by on April 5, 2011

This is part three 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?

Today we are going to be looking at what obstacles have to be overcome before enterprise collaboration technologies can be adopted.

It’s hard to motivate people to change how they currently do things. The status quo is perhaps the biggest obstacle that needs to be overcome and there is no cookie cutter approach to make this happen. Status quo combines culture, norms, processes, knowledge, expertise, perceptions, and more to become a formidable challenge to change.  It is always important to focus on the business drivers and start from there.  Understanding your workforce and stakeholders, supporting ‘what change will do for each group’, and aligning their needs to the business drivers will aid in navigating the status quo.

The best implementations include a cross-functional team.  Enterprise 2.0 isn’t a traditional IT project where you test something out, release it, and then put out some patches.  In order to make E2.0 work, you must integrate with other existing applications and systems.  It’s important to bring in experts from other areas of IT and across the organization that relate to what you’re doing; subject matter experts are crucial for success including change management staff. Some effective implementations have invested half their budget on change management and communication, alone.  As a whole, the organization must transform and focus on messages that are tailored for each market segment while providing value across all.  Oftentimes organizations focus on the tools instead of the business drivers, this should be vice versa.

Developing a temporary E2.0 adoption team to examine the business cases and provide guidance throughout the process is shown to be invaluable.  At Booz Allen we’re bringing together select representatives from across our various teams to form a committee, primarily to ensure that open, cross-team collaboration becomes the norm, not the exception.  One of the primary roles for this committee will be to ensure that not only does everyone feel ownership but it is a reality.

Empower your users.  More than a way for an organization to gain insight from its users, users must feel that this is a place to build relationships with their coworkers.  Provide them the ability to meet like-minded users and enable them to not only express their interests but to cultivate them!   Provide incentive for using the site correctly, education for when they don’t get how and ownership for their ideas on how to improve it.  Your users want to help, they want to improve and they want to feel valued for their opinions – meeting these needs will get your users excited about the community and they will want to use it.

Perception of data security and control must be changed.  When successfully implemented, Enterprise 2.0 technologies have an opportunity to provide safe and secure collaboration networks for employees and contractors.  However, due to the public use of social networks such as flickr, Facebook and Twitter, the perception of E2.0 tools is that security is unreliable at best.   On the contrary, most IT organizations already use the very same firewall and security technologies that can protect data within an E2.0 space.

A big concern is always what happens if the information gets out or if the wrong information is being shared.  The reality is this is already happening and has been happening since the days of the water-cooler conversation.  One of the guiding principles in Enterprise 2.0 tools is that they provide easy and intuitive access to content and users – this very same principal provides an additional tool that security professionals can use to help secure their networks.  Through a series of automated search processes, analytics applications and automatic moderation security professionals have the ability to track unwanted data spill and easily clean the data where necessary.

In the next post we’re going to continue looking at other obstacles.

  • i noticed that all your aticles are divided into several parts..maybe three and even more..
    also i like what you write. your style is perfect and words you use are always so exact and beautiful. but probably the main thing is that you never post meaningless articles. and i want to say thanks to you!
    about this one
    […] Provide them the ability to meet like-minded users and enable them to not only express their interests but to cultivate them […]
    this part i liked the most. i think you are right, but unfortunately not amny people think the same and appreciate their audience…