By 2017, McKinsey predicts that 70% of companies will have an Enterprise Social Network (ESN). Now that these platforms are finally mainstream, we need to focus on how to increase their utility and usefulness for employees and the wider organisation.
Adoption and engagement remain challenges for many, and we have been working to improve these for over a decade, so we have an extensive library of techniques. But usage is not the same thing as usefulness. We heard this point made last week at two events — smilelondon and the i2 Summit in Zurich. In the workshop that I led in Zurich, the participants responsible for their company’s social platforms admitted their struggle with ESN vanity metrics. Adoption stats like number of profiles and even baseline usage metrics do not tell the full story. For example, Facebook at Work may enjoy a 90% active rate amongst its beta users, but it does not matter how many people use an ESN if the value created is low.
So how do we unlock the potential of enterprise social platforms, and what higher purpose can they support in the organisation?