So you’ve been tasked with bringing social media tools into your company and transforming the way it does business. That’s a big task; but the boss thinks it’s time…he thinks it might be good for business and anyway all the new hires are demanding it. So you start socializing the idea and you begin to realize it’s not just the new hires. HR, Finance, Biz Dev, Engineering, IT, oh my. Everyone is talking about it. Innovation, collaboration, expertise location; we’re on our way now. And you’re the one who’s going to give the masses what they want. You’re the man! You do a little research, make a few calls to vendors, maybe even a consultant. What? They want to take you out to dinner? That was easy. And they’re going to let you pilot their software? They’re flying down tomorrow!? You start thinking you’re pretty hot shit. Well, slow down, because you could wind up in way over your head if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Things can move pretty fast if you’re not ready. That proof-of-concept (that you were only going to let 25 users in on) becomes a pilot (we’ll keep it to 500) becomes production (how many licenses do we have to buy?!) in the blink of an eye. And you might not even realize it. Employees are dying for their company gives them ‘Facebook for the enterprise.’ You give them something, ANYTHING, that resembles a status update and I dare you to tell them, ‘that was only a proof-of-concept, it didn’t meet our requirements. We have to go back to the drawing board.’
Good luck with that.
My advice to you is do your homework. Know the vendor space, know your architecture, know your security model, know your requirements. Most importantly: know your business and how this new tool set will help you solve your BUSINESS problems. (And, by the way, only you know what your business problems are). Do all of this before even approaching a vendor. Get a sponsor from your BUSINESS. HR is not OK. Comms, eh, you’re getting warmer. IT…COLD. Get at the heart of what your company does and find out who does it. Once you find them, they will tell you everything they need. If you can make them happy and solve their problems you greatly increase your odds of success.
If you’re reading this post, time to market for your social initiatives is the least of your problems. Don’t be pressured into making a move before you’re ready. This (r)evolution is going to bring about a major shift in the way companies work and it is not a fad. You are not going to miss out on the benefits if you decide to take an extra month or two or three to get it right. Measure twice, cut once.