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How to avoid the most common Social Intranet mistakes?

Implementing a Social Intranet is a great step towards a better, faster and more productive office, but there are common mistakes which can make your efforts fail. Gartner, a research firm have found the three most common of them. Let’s see what and how you should avoid!

Social Intranet Mistake #1: Don’t Assume Adoption Will Grow Organically

“Just because an enterprise social network is simple and easy to use doesn’t mean you can build them and people will come,” Larry Cannell, the director of Gartner Research says. “These tools are going to change how people work and you need to prepare them for that.”

In the early planning stages, Cannell says, you need to determine how people are currently working and how an Enterprise Social Collaboration Software will change that.
Then, define clear reasons why employees will benefit from such a drastic-and sometimes uncomfortable-change in process.

Another key to success is embedding the social network into everyday workflow. Managers need to ensure the tools are part of how they get their jobs done every day, Cannell says, rather than just being destination sites.

Social Intranet Mistake #2: Don’t Set the Wrong Parameters for ROI

Any IT project needs to deliver ROI, but the one associated with a social intranet needs to be considered differently.

“Your ROI argument is tied to how you expect to deploy the software,” Cannell says. “Sure, you can focus on things like how many people sign up and post, and that’s OK. But if you focus on the individual deployments and making employees actually like the tool, then more relevant metrics come into play.”

Some of these more difficult-to-measure metrics may include things like handling more work with fewer people, streamlining processes and spending less time on trivial things like searching an intranet for an answer to a question.

“You might not be able to anticipate what some of the most important benefits might be, but you can get the business to express them more broadly after they’ve gone through it,” Cannell says.
At TD Bank Group, one of the most significant ROIs was realized with its deployment of an IBM solution to 50,000 users: Some business units saw a drastic reduction in email, by as much as 40 to 1, according to Wendy Arnott, TD Bank’s vice president of social media and digital communications.

Social Intranet Mistake #3: Don’t Underestimate the Power of Executive Support

Gaining executive buy-in and using their participation in the enterprise social network to set an example for the rest of the company is essential to the success of the project, Cannell says. But this can be challenging.
“If you’re starting small and building the system out, these projects don’t usually start out as a big line on an exec’s radar,” he says. “But business execs need to understand the goals and support them. Senior management is key to motivating people to participate in these communities,” he says.

The original version of this article has been posted on cio.com

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