While visiting an Australian state I met the executive director of a department that has successfully deployed an enterprise social software platform for internal collaboration. A small department with less that a thousand employees and mostly involved in policy making has now more than 60% of its workforce using the platform for a variety of purposes. The components of this success were a powerful driver (in a survey, staff complained about lack of information about what was going on internally), a fair amount of top-down push and the viral bottom-up adoption, often by the most unlikely people. One example that struck me was how an auditor used the platform to gather interest around the topic of risk management, and to demonstrate that it is cooler than many think.
As this department is engaged in policy making, they are exposed to external social media too, and the current approach is oriented toward engaging where people already are rather than creating social media avenues (such as Facebook pages or YouTube channels) to host conversations. This makes a lot of sense but when I asked about how they plan to bridge external and internal social media use, they seemed overconfident in how the enterprise platform would provide bridges to external communities.
The potential flaw in their line of reasoning is to consider that their current internal solution will be the future platform, hence ruling out the concrete possibility that external tools will creep into the organization and ultimately prove more relevant.