Posts Tagged ‘risk’

Risk, control and trust in Enterprise 2.0

Posted in Communicate / Collaborate on September 28th, 2009 by Leanne Fry – Be the first to comment

Risk, control and trust. Add any of these words to a business proposal, as issues to be addressed, and you can guarantee someone is going to be nervous.

Dion Hinchcliffe recently highlighted how these three issues were starting to push their way through the excitement of Enterprise 2.0 to become potential show-stoppers. For many organisations they may be already.

He was responding to blogs by Andrew McAfee and Dennis Howlett on what, precisely, Enterprise 2.0 was trying to solve.

In the context of products, customers, services, processes and governance, those three elements – risk, control and trust – are fundamental to a successful business.

And Enterprise 2.0 proponents should also keep in mind that for certain organisations, the penalties for failing to manage risk, to control what needs to be controlled or for breaching trust are significant and substantial. For some organisations operating in a highly regulated environment, brand or reputation damage from a You Tube video or Facebook group may be just the start of the problem.

Risk, control and trust in business aren’t bad. In fact, when you think about it, they are assumptions that underpin a customer’s willingness to engage with you. speed test website Aren’t they?

As McAfee observes, it is unhelpful and wrong to ‘… portray hierarchy, standardization, and management as enemies of innovation, creativity, and value creation.’ I’ve worked in organisations where a finely tuned balance of all of those elements made for a rich, rewarding and successful business.

As I see it, the challenge for Enterprise 2.0 is that the way it achieves things – the process, the interaction, the players and the speed – is so different to an organisation’s current risk/control/trust paradigm. And that happens at both the corporate level, where Ent 2.0 slams up against process, sign-off, hierarchy, and regulation, and at the personal level, where workers function every day using control, knowledge, and well trodden paths of interaction.

There are now numerous examples of Enterprise 2.0 tools facilitating the core business of an organisation, and McAfee lists many in his post.

So the objectives, and rationale, and expected outcomes must be clearly defined, at both corporate and personal levels. And all the enablers (people, process, culture, organisational) must be understood and either in place, or able to be dealt with. Which probably means that Enterprise 2.0 initiatives in many organisations should start as discrete, self contained, well thought out pieces of work. The degree of change required to fully leverage them is broad, and touches on so many important aspects of an organisation. Given the ROI of Enterprise 2.0 could be argued as in its infancy, for many organisations the risks will continue to outweigh the benefits.

10 reasons to tackle corporate email – reason 5

Posted in Communicate / Collaborate on September 21st, 2009 by Leanne Fry – Be the first to comment

Compliance. Compliance. Compliance.

When it really comes down to it, how much do you know about the conversations your people are having on email? Long before the highly visible ‘wish I hadn’t said that’ contributions on Facebook, Twitter and numerous other social networking sites, all manner of jokes, personal conversations and transactions were humming back and forth on email.

And for a significant number of people in most organisations, they still are.

Generally organisations have an acceptable use policy, and recognise that tools such as the phone and email will be used for personal matters at some stage. For many people and organisations, email is still the primary tool for transactional interchanges.

But because so many of those email conversations are not generally visible to the world at large, organisations don’t appear to attach the same risk profile to them as we are seeing with employee contributions on social networking sites (although emails can still go viral – here’s a recent example). Maybe that’s because the fallout to brand and reputation is so visibly dramatic with social networking. And perhaps because the email genie is already long out of the bottle.

Leaving aside the knowledge implications of all that information wallowing in email boxes there may also be compliance reasons to investigate the toolset your organisation is using.

Consider this. Your organisation contracts with customers or suppliers. The contract is captured in a word or pdf document. It is usually filed on a server. And then everyone gets on with the business of working under that contract.

The people involved may well email back and forth on many aspects of the contract – interpretation, delivery, terms, service levels. That people understand their limits of authority is critical (that is, what they are entitled to offer or agree to on behalf of the company), and the potential to state something in the email that will alter the terms of the contract and bind the company is high.

Representations will bind an organisation even when an email has been deleted. We’re talking here about emails, but document management protocols – or lack thereof – in a company can cause grief for a very long time, as evidenced by the Rolah McCabe case.

For many organisations, document management systems that link all transactions or conversations with the contract, or primary agreement, are essential. It provides both visibility of the entire transaction, over time, with an audit capability to ensure compliance. Toolsets won’t solve a compliance issue, but as part of a solution they will dramatically increase the visibility of the process.

Is Enterprise 2.0 just too risky?

Posted in Communicate / Collaborate on August 27th, 2009 by Leanne Fry – Be the first to comment

I met with the members of the Knowledge Management Roundtable in NSW yesterday to discuss Enterprise 2.0 and the opportunities for business it provides within the firewall.

Marie O’Brien is the very capable and entertaining facilitator, and the sessions I attended were all strongly practical.

A couple of the questions asked reflected the very real issues that organisations are wrestling with, either in just opening up social sites to employees at work, or in working out how to leverage social networking in an organisation. I thought they were worthy of noting:

If you provide access to social sites, will people spend their time surfing?

This issue isn’t going to go away anytime soon. Will you see productivity plunge if you allow employees access? I first heard this concern over 10 years ago, when as part of a global intranet roll-out we provided internet access to all our employees. And the talented director I reported to, when asked by me for an official response, commented ‘that is entirely an issue for management’. The mechanisms for time-wasting have always been available, some just more or less visible than others.

Blanket bans may well be counter-productive. The benefit ‘back then’ was that we wanted web savvy employees, people who understood the internet and how it might assist business. I would like to suggest that is still applicable. How can you come to grips with social networking, either within your organisation or for partners and customers, if you don’t understand it yourselves?

The interesting thing about internet access all those years ago was that we saw a spike on the first day we rolled it out to each group of employees. By about day 3 access levels were back down to acceptable levels.

If you provide blogs within an organisation, how do you select the topics and the contributors?

This made me stop and think. On my last project we certainly seeded our first blogs. By that I don’t mean we chucked the technology at a likely suspect and hoped for the best. We worked out a cross-section of influencers, from the leaders to the workers, talked to them about why a conversation might be a good idea, and got the ball rolling. But within a very short time the requests started flowing. And the interesting thing was that everyone who contacted me wanted to start talking. They had people they wanted to connect with, and stories or business information they wanted to share. The technology came second. Sure the technology was a bit interesting and fun, and a whole lot more flexible than an email newsletter, and it might have even inspired a few people to ramp up the communication again, but people wanted to share.

So a mix of understanding the conversations, understanding the corporate dynamic so we knew which conversations carried what impact, some marketing 101, and then visibility and word of mouth, meant that we didn’t have to drag people to the altar!