This morning I went to a fascinating session about adopting social strategies on intranet sites called "Part 2: Adoption Strategies for Social Computing." The first half of the session was an overview of business value, cultural challenges, governance and privacy issues. There were also some examples and screenshots of a variety of "social" implementations from EA, Microsoft, Accenture and more.

The second half of the session was a great customer discussion with Accenture and Deloitte, and I highly recommend watching this if you can. This part of the session was great inspiration for getting social capabilities into an enterprise. Accenture and Deloitte both have large My Site and profile implementations at their organizations, and a large number of users have adopted My Sites and profiles. They discussed why they needed knowledge sharing and social strategies at their organizations, what success metrics looked like throughout adoption stages from pilot to launch, governance guidance and more. Some miscellaneous takeaways from the session for me included:

Branding and personalization

People and organizations want to make their sites and spaces their own, and we should support that through URLs, theming, and more.

Some specific examples that came up:

  • Deloitte calls their system Dstreet which is easy to remember and fun.
  • Vanity URLs and allowing people to create their own links (I could use jasfest for example!) gives added incentive for people who want to share these links and be uniquely identified.
  • EA allows people to customize the theme to represent the product team they work on. This works because people at EA are tied to and proud of the individual game or product they are working on.

Viral adoption

It is not realistic to expect instant adoption across an organization, but it is important to have user involvement throughout planning, design and launch phases.

Deloitte supported viral adoption by starting with influential people (say executives), getting them on board and excited, and then allowing them to easily send messages to colleagues with a simple message "I'm on Dstreet, are you?" They also got people from HR, legal, IT and other key stakeholder groups involved early, and using profiles and My Sites for their own business purposes to get them familiar and on-board with the technology.

Another example is sending emails to people who have blank profiles when someone else looks at their profile. It is a friendly reminder that people are looking at my sites, and gives incentive to update that blank profile.

There are tons of ways to increase adoption, but I think the key message is that we have to plan for it, and include it as part of any solid deployment plan. You can't just deploy enterprise-wide, and think that people will come.

Success metrics

Of course, it is important to measure value, adoption, and usage for a new system. Some example success metrics discussed were:

  • Percentage of people who created a profile in the first 8 weeks, first year, second year, etc. Deloitte compared this number to a baseline when they did their first pilot, and set a goal of 25% of users will create a profile in the first 8 weeks, 50% in the first year, 75% in the second year, etc.
  • Look at how big is the activity stream. What is the hourly, weekly, daily, monthly activity?
  • Number of colleagues in a network, colleague trending, etc.
  • Profile visits per user and as a group

It is also important to note that nobody expects 100% usage of these tools. There will always be people that don't participate, and that's ok.

There are tons of new social features and in a future blog post I'll talk about some of those specifics. You can also find more information here: