Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Enterprise 2.0 Session--Improve Information Flow

Formal Description:

"Enterprise 2.0 can help solve inefficiencies caused by the inability to locate accurate information. This session will discuss why a great search engine is not enough, and which data repositories need to be available to the enterprise search engine to ensure transparency, how to reduce information silos and redundant, contradictory, or inaccurate data, and how activity streams can enhance retrieval and access to more unstructured knowledge."

Paul Domnick, CIO, Freshfields Bruckhuase Deringer LLP
Jessica Shawl, Operations & Program Manager, Intel

Moderated by V. Mary Abraham (twitter) of Debevoise & Plimpton. Session Materials.

Missing was Sandy Owen, Operations Director, due to a work conflict. These are my unedited notes of a discussion of significant advances in Enterprise 2.0 activity and capability, particularly at Freshfields.

Mary introduced the session. "Time wasted searching for information"--50% of time devoted to information work. Working with greater transparency makes it easier to find information about others' work.

Three ways of getting to "Las Vegas."

1. "Straight Route" of enterprise solutions:

Social Stack (Headshift) includes personal km tools, group collaboration, blogs & networks, bookmarks & tags, and public feeds & flows.

2. Intel Route

Focused on personal content & solutions. They started developing a lot of point solutions to meet individual content management needs. Some pockets of collaboration & sharing started. Initially a "KnowledgeBase" linked to documents on shared drives. They eventually had developed 60-70 applications. Finally they brought in a document management system and

Intel has a corporate-wide wiki as well as a legal department wiki. They use IM a *lot*. Systems needed to "talk" to each other. They developed matter management, ebilling, DMS, and MOSS (Sharepoint 2007).

DMS was first, but was very slow. Litigation group didn't like the DMS, so they got another one [It makes sense that a company like Intel has all that amazing IT resources to do all this wheel-spinning!].

They set up a wiki to allow easier authoring. Finally they are creating a portal with information feeds.

Laying the foundation (slides)
Rethink offerings
Integrate solutions

Federated searching, portal,

One problem was a failure to update content on the static web sites. They made it easier for people to self-serve and update content. They added wikis and DMS. Because everyone is an author,

Intel used a "web jam," a place where people could go in and post an answer to a question, to determine directions to go with transparency. "How can we be more efficient"? It's like a message board, people can post additional ideas or comment on others thoughts. There was a time limit for contributions (two weeks). It was a great way to gather lots of ideas.

There is strong use of IM. It's especially helpful in negotiations where you want to share with a colleague.

Internal networking tools are used for blogs and internal profile pages in a Facebook style. There are forums on project management, legal topics, work-life balance, and so forth.

They are piloting a federated enterprise search. They have taken a more organized approach to wikis, for instance, with "playbooks" on the wiki outlining negotiation strategies for different situations. They have some automated contract-management systems.

They use "Flip" videos to record a "day in the life" of an attorney. They used them to evaluate work processes and to figure out how to make them more efficient.

They have corporate-wide blogging (from legal department?)

Lessons Learned

If you go too far out of people's normal business processes, they won't use it. If you have to train people on it, they won't use it.

Understand how people work at home and try to provide similar capabilities. Can you search from one place in the same fashion as Google)

People are using Facebook, Twitter, IM, texting externally. Why not use them inside?

Focus on finding content rather than enforcing rules of content creation.

They are also finding enterprise (federated) search extremely important.

Sometimes having technology available is not enough. You may have to talk to people 3 times to get what you want.

Leverage early adopters. When 16% of the population accepts your idea, it becomes unstoppable. Pulling people along instead of pushing people to use is much easier.

This worked great for wikis. One gung-ho attorney loved it and brought other people along with them [this has been my experience also]. Became unstoppable.

People finally saw the value of enterprise search.

3. Freshfields Route

They had some great successes with pressing needs, as met by two initial Enterprise 2.0 projects. Later projects have had more patchy success.

First, nobody liked their intranet but nobody knew what it should be. They no longer have a portal. They completely replaced it with a wiki (Atlassian's Confluence). All 6000 employees can post content.

Second, they created an alumni network for their 27,000 alumni. They created a social collaboration site with SelectMinds [I believe SelectMinds is also a vendor for my firm].

In three weeks they had 400 users of micro-blogging tool Yammer. People agreed to use it for three months every day. It now has a complete life of its own and the constant input is not necessary.

People found the wiki fairly hard to navigate. They created a Google-like search that links to wikis. Widgets related to specific clients, industries, or Freshfields attorneys can be dropped into the wiki. Their site map is now created dynamically.

People want push as well as browse. Information will be pushed to people's profile pages. People won't tell you how they actually use the social tools. People are on average very precise about where they go to get information.

A million page impressions a day on the wiki. Get from the needs to the wants by analyzing what people actually do.

They are now working on an external collaboration site with high design level based on Jive. Involve people in firms' "CSR Agenda" (?).

Structured information--opening a matter leads to creation of a wiki pages, feed of news from client web site, fee deal description, and documents.

Enterprise search is critical because the machine can't handle all of the matter related tool, but it can pull in information in federated way from inside and outside the firm.

The 20/80 rule instead of 80/20. Listening to what people want and knowing

If we can get something up & running and 20% of people adopt it, the risk is that it will get out of control rather than that it won't be adopted.

Match available tools to needs rather than waiting for the perfect solution.

You feel like a bit of a fraud talking about this because there is so much more that could be done. But don't go down the "exactly what we need" rabbit-hole. It works if you can explain to people the vision.

None of these tools completely replace earlier ways of doing things.

Three pillars of transparency are collaboration, mobility

They made their wikis work on Blackberries and iPads. Instead of Twitter this week has has been updating his wiki and then posting to Yammer on his iPad.

Cautions (from Intel and Freshfields)

You may have to fight bureaucracy. Everyone wants to have a say in how things are implemented. In can bog things down.

People may not want to wait for a strategy because of immediate needs. That's OK.

Giant strategy that will take three years might get side-stepped by home-grown solutions.

Expediting adoption might require close support.

It can be hard to get the business case right; that can be an iterative process.

Paul--beware of users who want new toys. People want Skype, but there are some complicated reasons why that's not a good idea.

A lot of Enterprise 2.0 tools aren't quite as friendly as consumer tools. They have more functionality and control. You might have to compromise and steamroller out some things you don't need.

Mobility experience is challenging. The vendor might not have thought through how something might work via mobile. E.g., Blackberry requires sign-on every 24 hours.

An audience member was using SharePoint and Confluence for communities. Also developed "Grapevine" for micro-blogging. He suggested that people are put off by techie aspect of Confluence.

Paul said that it is a blank slate. But they have a lot of macros that let you do things like tagging, news article creation, follow page, and so forth.

Yammer is used firm-wide for "do we do X" and "have you seen this article" posts. The KM community uses it for workflow.


sabr said...

These live blog posts are excellent. This session seemed to be filled with valuable information, might have to buy the recording (something I have never considered in the past).

Your noted, "If you go too far out of people's normal business processes, they won't use it. If you have to train people on it, they won't use it." This seems to be a critical component of anything E 2.0. If you step outside of the normal flow it gets lost. I wonder though what the best way is to transition the flow out of Outlook and to web based tools? Is it enough to make sure that the best information can be found on the portal?

Unknown said...

Great post. This is a great resource for anyone who couldn't make it to the conference. We have a community for IM professionals ( and have bookmarked this post for our users. Look forward to reading your work in the future.

Unknown said...

It's kind of ironic that you say (truthfully) that moving outside the normal flow can lead to loss. The whole point of much of E20 is that information is retained and enriched through greater participation in content and context creation, not to mention sharing. I'm not Pollyannish enough to think that everything is going to leave Outlook. And no, it's not enough to simply create a great store of information, that was the problem with KM 1.0. You have to engage people in the processes of creation, contextualizing, and sharing information, and show them the value of doing it in a better way.