I previously wrote on a post about the great effects that web2.0 tools can have in organizations or enterprises. This time I want to list 10 main challenges which organizations face when putting into action tools such as blogs, wikis, social bookmarking etc. I deem that it is much more about the working culture and willingness to communicate openly in a virtual network, than that of a technological question. Because these tools are all about communication and sharing, it is a decisive factor to get the participation of the users.
- Culture: The need for an open, transparent, horizontal working culture. It is not always a prerequisite but it is conducive for effective and creative online knowledge sharing. For example, a wiki needs a certain degree of trust; not everyone wants to sit hours to check the amendments on a document.
- Support: To have a commitment from the management for collaborative web tools. A shift to horizontal transparent communication opens new venues to present the organization’s life. It is also necessary to have support for the change management process.
- Conviction: Having good arguments to proof why these tools are useful (needs another post). For example, they can even reduce the information overload. From my experience they clearly involve more work in the beginning, but additional value comes quickly by tagging or exchange experiences in blog posts. Idealistically, after a while, communication only shifts but is more efficient and creative.
- Orientation: Developing a web-based communication culture needs orientation. Blogs are totally different from a workflow based intranet. Therefore a policy can help to explain the advantages and also show the limits of interaction.
- Critical Mass: In the beginning usually only few users participate; that’s why a critical mass of contributors is important. Web2.0 tools are ideal for guerrilla marketing, where motivated contributors serve as multiplicator and can easily train others to join.
- Resources: Be aware the tools are cheap and easy to install, but do not underestimate the resources you need. A facilitation for a blog or a wiki is very important especially in the beginning, so users are not frustrated in their first steps.
- Patience: To incorporate web2.0 tools to an organization takes time. A few months can pass by before participation reaches a sufficient level, but on the mean time the process is exciting.
- Training: Web2.0 might be easy but many people from the organization are totally new to the applications. Things such as tagging, RSS or basic upload functions have to be often explained.
- Usability: Invest time in design and how to create visually your applications. Usability is very important because users shall take advantage of all features offered. For example many wikis especially lack usability. Therefore a design, documentation and help section (e.g. screencast) is decisive for users to participate.
- Software: Implement a solution on your own server or rely on an application service provider. To which extent your organizational communication has to be internal? What can be exchanged within a networks of partner or even in public? Check out my post about how far sun microsystems went with their open blogging approach.
I also found some interesting additional information: One is an article called “Web 2.0: Ten Ways Non-Profits Can Start Leveraging Social Media”, and the second one is a nice presentation by Beth Kanter called 10 Simple Steps to Organization 2.0. Both are remixes from a great presentation by Marnie Webb.