McKinsey Quarterly recently published the results of their research into more than 50 early adopters of Web 2.0 technologies. The authors made a very important point about the difference between Web 2.0 tools vs. the ERP and CRM tools that came into vogue in the 1990’s. Web 2.0 tools are interactive and require a high degree of participation from users to be effective. In ERP and CRM, users use the tools to process information or execute transactions while in Web 2.0, users use the tools to generate new information (blogs, discussion, Twitter, information tagging) or to edit the work of others (wikis).
I have rolled out Sharepoint-based internal communities twice, successfully launched the Catalyze professional community growing it from 0 to over 4000 members in 18 months and am working on launching a new professional community. In addition, I have been actively blogging for more than 2 years and Twittering for more than a year. With this work, I have been at the forefront of the Web 2.0 popularity growth and have some opinions as well.
Here are McKinsey’s six critical Management imperatives for unlocking participation:
- Transformation to a bottom-up culture needs help from the top – Inthe rollouts for the two Sharepoint internal communities I helped launch, this observation sticks out prominently. For the small services company I consult with, their Sharepoint rollout has been superbly successful because it was essentially mandated from the top-down. In the other rollout, management did not want to force anyone into Sharepoint and were not active partipants in the project. And the results were disappointingly dismal.
- The best uses come from users – but they require help to scale – McKinsey’s research points out that the Web 2.0 applications that drive the most value often arn’t those that management expects.
- What’s in the workflow is what gets used – Again, in the Sharepoint rollout for the services company, management requires that branch offices submit worksheets with weekly staffing and volumes throught the Sharepoint system. Since it is part of the workflow, managers are using the system.
- Appeal to the participants’ egos and needs – not just their wallets – The article includes many good examples of what works and what doesn’t work in terms of generating enthusiasm for contributing to Web 2.0 efforts.
- The right solution comes from the right participants – For the Catalyze community, getting the right scale was important as community participation is a numbers-driven game. I worked hard to keep a balance of usability professionals and business analysts, and was not totally comfortable until we passed the 1500 member mark. Most communities, whether internal or external, generally follow the 90/9/1 rule where 90% of members are passively engaged, 9% are actively engaged and 1% are actively engaged and contributing content.
- Balance the top-down and self-management of risk – The important point here is that companies need to make reasonable policies regarding participation and what can be discussed, and routinely audit participation against those policies.
You can find the entire article from the McKinsey Quarterly website. Michael Chui, Andy Miller and Roger P. Roberts were the authors of the study. McKinsey Quarterly is also available on Twitter at @McKQuarterly