As many of you know, NLC has been very active in the area of social computing, enterprise 2.0 and the whole social network building within the enterprise. Lately we’ve been translating enterprise 2.0 prophesies into actionable strategy and waxing poetic about the Cluetrain. While there is little debate around the buzz, the intrinsic value and merit of social computing and enterprise 2.0 are still hotly debated. In fact, it is pretty easy to argue that social computing is the next major battle ground for the titans of software (Microsoft and IBM) to tangle.

But let’ deal with that issue in another post. Here I would like to address what I think is the beginning of a very long list. Loosely titled “stuff not to forget as you craft your Enterprise 2.0 strategy”, I am sure there are many more to add. Here are five:

1.People: Seems rather basic but I can’t tell you the number of meeting I have been in where folks have wanted to:

“lets just build it and see what happens”

(my personal favourite) or

“we are launching Monday, someone should send an email to the team to tell ‘em its up”

You are basically issuing your death writ if these are the types of discussions your team is having. People need a compelling reason to do almost anything and “collaborating” in most people’s minds means “more meetings”.

2.Trust: This is certainly an amorphous topic, but one that can’t be overlooked. People trust people they can connect with on various multi-layered levels. People don’t instinctively trust databases, computers, or lists returning the folks that proclaim to have found the “smart people”.
3.Content: The first person into a network is a very brave soul - very alone, but very brave. Why would anyone want to join a network that is empty? You need to think (hard) about what content is going to drive users there again and again (see reason 1 for the justification). Seed the content stores in wiki’s and blog’s, have personal profiles already completed for a core group. Nurture and captivate the “publishers with something to say” in your organization and then promote the hell out of them.
4.Search: This is a huge, huge neglected area in most Social Computing strategies. If you do your job correctly, you will end up with a massive amount of asynchronous, decentralized and ad hoc content. In there, scattered among your employee’s pictures of dogs, and cats and cottages, will be the tacit knowledge of your organization. If you didn’t think about it before hand, I have two words for you: good luck!.
5.Ease of Use: This should be a no-brainer. The meteoric rise of social computing is partly due to the ease of use, self conforming nature of the toolset. However, I am thinking more around instructions on how to start a wiki being unclear, or a vague or ambiguous policy and governance around content creation that cause your folks to pause and hesitate before contributing comments or a post (agreed, sometimes a good thing).
Okay, that’s a quick list, from me, on a plane, again. What are some others?