If we lived in an ideal world, strategies for enterprise social networks (ESNs) would be written before the launch of their platforms. Clear goals would be defined before their technology is deployed so that internal communicators and corporate relations people would know how to support them with their work.
However, that’s not the kind of world we live in. The standard scenario we have been encountering again and again in the past 18 months talks of companies where IT-led steering committees convinced management to introduce internal social platforms without a clear idea of how to embed them into the company’s work processes. It often starts with a group of engineers on the ground or a few marketers scattered around the organization looking for a tool they can use to keep in contact with each other. Before you know it, two or three million pounds have been invested in a new network supported by technology like SharePoint, Jive or IBM Connections that nobody is really using apart from some fringe groups in R&D or IT. Or it might be a case of what the MITSloan Management Review calls the “Because-it’s-there” syndrome referring to organisations that decide to adopt enterprise social networking just because that’s what their peers or competitors are doing.
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