I’ve been reading lately, a tonne of articles discussing why Enterprise 2.0 projects sometimes fall short and why sometimes what sounded so good at first suddenly fell in a big heap of over-hyped software. In this post, I’m going to discuss 3 reasons why Enterprise 2.0 can fail. Check out: 14 Reasons Why Enterprise 2.0 Projects Fail - for a more indepth discussion. A lot of my ideas for this post came from here and it has some very good links to other articles.
1. The tool isn’t sharp enough
Every company has its own requirements when it comes to Enterprise 2.0. The fact of the matter is Enterprise 2.0 giants such as Microsoft Sharepoint (the most popular E2.0 tool on the market) are made to satisfy the masses and appeal to the largest audience possible. What they don’t provide are solutions to individual companies that quite frequently need something specific to their business domain. More specifically, the tools are there, they just aren’t customised enough making it an eternal struggle for the users to make it fit. If your business requires something different to the masses, it could be worth investing in something with more than just the default settings enabled.
2. Spend some money
Not usually what your CEO would want to hear but a lot of Enterprise 2.0 projects fail because no one knows what they are doing. Spend some money on giving basic training about social media tools and what Web 2.0 or Enterprise 2.0 is. Of course, this varies greatly on the context and employees in your business. Usually there will be a portion of a company’s workforce who are keen forerunners in adopting these tools and will learn themselves. But the older ranks will be skeptic and giving them basic information about how “users add value” will get them interested and using the tools in the right way.
Dion Hinchcliffe puts it well, “Understanding what tags are and how they help users locate content later on, publishing frequently requested information in blogs, teaching that wiki editing is safe and that it’s virtually impossible to harm them are all key learnings that many less-social media literate workers will greatly benefit from and can actively address many upfront barriers to adoption.”
3. Why do we need this?
Starting an Enterprise 2.0 project without having a clear idea of what it is going to be used for and what problems it will address is like an 80 year old buying a high-end computer with quad-core processing to read emails. Don’t get sucked in because everyone is doing it. Have a clear purpose and know what it is you are hoping to achieve. That way employees also know what to use it for. There will always be employees who invent great ways to use a tool however to encourage uptake, market it as a solution to an age-old problem that everyone encounters on a day to day basis. For instance, “Don’t send each other a billion emails a day and spend your whole day reading emails. Instead, use a wiki or update your status to let your colleagues know what you are doing.” Everyone hates a full inbox so the interest will rise.
These are just 3 reasons why Enterprise 2.0 projects fail. Of course every failure has its individual reasons but these ones I found quite interesting and possibly more fitting to a wider number of cases. And finally, slightly off topic but entertaining none the less.. here is a list of the “Nine worst social media fails of 2009…thus far“.
Feel free to add comments and let me know of any E2.0 fails you have heard of.