Businesses of all sizes are eyeing the potential value of social software. As Ted Coine states,“Social could be a powerful and disruptive force changing how we work… as was the assembly line 100 years ago”.
Increased collaboration, streamlined processes, and information silo breakdown are some of the benefits promised by enterprise social software vendors. However, many social software apps fail due to low user adoption. If only a few people use the applications, then the organization falls short of promised benefits.
The right tools and strategy help ensure the success of your enterprise social app. Let’s find out how.
Wrong Social Software Applications
With so many social software applications out there, it’s tricky business picking the right tools. Even worse, many of the applications don’t live up to the promises they make in terms of increased productivity and collaboration.
“Facebook-style” applications that focus on creating a social network within your company generally lack user adoption. The reason is that creating a social network as a solitary goal doesn’t provide enough value for employees to stay engaged.
Content-centric applications – that focus on providing valuable information – generally work better. For example, say you’re a sales rep and you need to prepare a presentation for an upcoming customer meeting. Ideally, you can leverage a presentation that someone else already created. If you save time by re-purposing an existing presentation, then the app provided real value.
Applications that offer a visually appealing, searchable, single location for content will boost your productivity.
Too Many Social Software Applications
I recently talked to a Fortune 500 company that had launched multiple social applications into the organization.The result is that most of them didn’t get traction. It’s like taking too many vitamins. All that good ends up making you sick.
We recommend you pick one, then test it with a small group for a month or two. Make sure you define success metrics and determine company-wide rollout viability.
Rollout Plan Makes a Big Difference
Like any company initiative, success depends on planning and communication. Even if you have picked the best application in the world, user adoption will be slow without a strong launch strategy. For employees to habitually use a specific application, it requires reinforcement and sharing the app’s success stories. Whenever possible, talk about when the platform helped save costs or nail down a sale. Announce the benefits that come from sharing, and trumpet the victories of your enterprise.
Executive Buy-in and Champion
People will be much more enthusiastic in using a new software tool when their leaders are using and talking about it. Make sure that executives are part of the launch event and are among the first users.
To convince senior leadership, clearly articulate the value the app is going to provide for the organization and what problems it will solve. For example: break down departmental silos, increase sharing of best practices, and reduce work duplication.
A champion is the person who drives and measures user adoption. They contribute daily with relevant content, collect success stories, and evangelize the organization to adopt the app. Finally, the champion provides regular updates to the leadership team on progress and challenges encountered.
The Social Software Adoption Checklist
Your keys to improving enterprise social software adoption:
- Screen applications based on problems you want to solve and benefits you expect
- Avoid multiple platforms
- Strive for executive endorsement
- Test and pilot chosen tools in a small group
- Prepare software launch carefully and include a communications plan
- Appoint an adoption champion
- Stay active in sharing successes
Download the complete social software adoption checklist here DOWNLOAD
Questions? Comments? Share with us your biggest challenges or success strategies to drive user adoption in the comments section below.
About the Author: Michael Kada spent most of his career in sales enablement and leadership roles in training and social learning / knowledge management. Most recently, he ran one of the largest knowledge sharing / sales enablement programs with 85,000 users at Microsoft. To learn more, you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @QuantumVerseInc.