Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

Why are blogs and wikis useful knowledge sharing tools?

Posted in Communicate / Collaborate on September 7th, 2009 by Leanne Fry – Be the first to comment

The latest McKinsey Global Survey Results (June 2009) surveyed 1,700 executives globally about the value their organisations are gaining from using web 2.0.

The interesting thing about the report is that more executives are acknowledging that they are seeing measurable benefits (my emphasis). This is significant progress. Business people like measurable benefits. That’s the language and outcome that gets a hearing.

The benefits tracked are across various usages – internally in organisations, externally with customers and with business supplier and partners.

Externally, they benefit relationships – bringing the organisation closer to customers and suppliers and in some instances allowing them to innovate together. A number of companies reported lower communication and travel costs.

Some companies reported have been able to track revenue increases from improved customer interactions.  You may have read about the CBA mortgage approval where a blunt tweet from a potential customer hit the radar of the head of customer service. While the tool provides almost instant notification, the organisational will must be there to track the conversations, and act to respond to or resolve problems.

The most heavily used technologies are blogs, wikis and podcasts, and this preference goes across both organisations and consumers. That’s not surprising, for not only are those technologies incredibly easy to use, but it doesn’t take much to create a useful information asset in them. By that I mean that they take shape quickly provided the contribution is there. Tools like Yammer (the enterprise Twitter equivalent), which is essentially speedy information exchange, can sometimes be harder to embed.

A key point in relation to the use of the tools internally was that they needed to be tightly integrated into the workflows of employees. That sounds a bit self-evident, but too often we train people on how to use new tools, but not on why. The ‘why’ got asked and answered in the business case, and becomes a hulking great assumption from then on. Asking ‘why would I use this’, ‘in what circumstance would I use this’ and importantly ‘what can this replace’ are critical to take-up. The importance of this in a knowledge management context was highlighted in a CSC paper some years ago – The Fusion of Process and Knowledge Management.

We distilled these concepts into some KM guiding prnciples, but they easily relate to web 2.0 tools as well:

  • Make the use of the tools part of the way people work.
  • Embed the use of the tools in your key business processes.
  • Target business processes that deliver real benefits to teams: save time, cut costs, prevent errors, simplify activities.

The benefits to organisations were greater ability to share ideas, improved access to experts, and better employee satisfaction.

And that’s where wikis, blogs and podcasts have a great ROI. Every information asset in those toolsets (a blog post or a wiki entry) has a person’s name attached to it.  So depending on where you are using them, an organisation can create an expert register at the same time it is capturing knowledge and sharing information.

Why would employees want web 2.0 tools?

Posted in Communicate / Collaborate on June 26th, 2009 by Leanne Fry – Be the first to comment

Adopting the Microsoft ‘eat your own dogfood’ motto, I presented to our Frame partners on Web 2.0 yesterday. The focus of the presentation was whether business really needs to take notice of Web 2.0 – or Enterprise 2.0 – tools. Raftimucebe . Does the hype and activity on the internet translate to corporate environments?

One of the key questions that came after the session was ‘is this just one more thing we need to do?’

I’ve been in line management roles, working long hours and wondering how I’m going to get it all done. So pronouncements from 60,000 feet about a new way of working never excited me. And if they lacked real detail, more often than not they were simply irritating.

Understanding this quite common perspective was fundamental to delivering a knowledge management solution to a client. We communicated an important guiding principle: knowledge management activities had to be part of the way we worked. Not additional. Not an afterthought. Embedded. Replacing some other way of working, to real advantage for the individual.

Of course this means that your customer base is highly segmented. No one size fits all solution. And that’s where many of the web 2.0 tools assist – they are hugely flexible in how they can be used.

So a customer service team might agree to move most of their updates, previously emailed out to team members – onto a blog.

A team leader might blog answers to any questions they are asked. There are several benefits to this: they are stopping the email trail (which would probably only grow and pull in more people), they are capturing valuable knowledge about an issue – their response – and putting it somewhere searchable, they are providing the answer to a wider audience than just the person who asked the question.

Our answer to our audience then was no, adopting web 2.0 tools was not one more thing they needed to do. The tools open up new ways of working, but care and effort needs to be expended on designing those new ways.

Organisational blogging is all about communication

Posted in Communicate / Collaborate on June 1st, 2009 by Leanne Fry – Be the first to comment

It’s the old ‘what am I buying when I go to the hardware’ example. I might look like I’m buying a drill, but what I’m really purchasing is a ‘drilled hole’.

Blogs are a bit like that.  And your company implementation might fail if you don’t address why they are really being used, and what needs to be in place to nurture them.

Westpac-er David Backley, speaking at the Enterprise 2.0 Executive Forum, was candid about web 2.0 initiatives in his organisation. In relation to blogging, he noted that the technology was too new and management too risk averse at the time.

“Parts of the organisation were too scared to put comments in because they didn’t know what the consequences were,” he said.

So that’s all about culture, isn’t it? And the underlying purpose of a blog. Which is to communicate.

So maybe rolling out blogs is a new communication project, not a technology one?

Bloggers on the web have something they want to say (ego), something they want to share (altruistic), or something they want to sell (commercial). They learn by mistakes and the lack of regulation gives them lots of latitude.

Those models might map to people within a business. But in organisations communication is generally divided, deliberately, into formal and informal.

Formal communication within organisations is handled by a skilled team, and there are good reasons for that. They know how to write and they know what to write. They are in tune with those in the organisation who make the news.

Generally, at worker bee level, I communicate with my team, the people I report to, partners, and maybe some customers. Most of that is done face to face, by phone or by email.

But suddenly you are providing me with a blog that not only captures and retains my communication, but gives me a much wider audience? But I may not be given any more communication training about what I should/can/might/shouldn’t say. And I might not have a very receptive audience, especially in these early days.

This is why the implementation of many web 2.0 tools in organisations continues to challenge. A lot needs to be in place before take-up will be successful.